Lars Ulrik Mortensen is best known as a harpsichordist active largely in Baroque solo and chamber music repertory. But his career is quite multifaceted: he has regularly conducted both instrumental and operatic works and has taught harpsichord and historic performance practices at the Hochschule fur Musik in Munich. He has often appeared in concert as accompanist to singer Emma Kirkby and has regularly partnered violinist John Holloway and cellist Jaap ter Linden. As a soloist Mortensen has garnered acclaim for his recordings of the Goldberg Variations and various Buxtehude keyboard works.
An ardent nationalist, Geirr Tveitt found inspiration in the folk melodies of the Hardanger fjord and promoted this little-known material in his songs and orchestral works. Tveitt's music is tinged with nostalgia and Norwegian brooding, communicated in a familiar neo-Romantic style that was considered reactionary by critics, but was easily accepted by audiences. The Piano Concerto No. 5, premiered by Tveitt in 1954, is in three movements. The piece is agreeably melodic with modal inflections, yet it has enough muscularity and harmonic bite in places to suggest the influence of Ravel and Prokofiev. Nils Mortensen executes the piano part with hard-edged brilliance, and the orchestral accompaniment is strong without overwhelming the soloist. The Variations on a Folksong from Hardanger is, loosely, a concerto for two pianos and orchestra. Less coherent than the Piano Concerto No. 5, the Variations tend to ramble, and Tveitt's self-indulgence and impulsiveness may have contributed to this piece's episodic construction. Mortensen and fellow pianist Sveinung Bjelland are a solid pair, always synchronized and audible above the orchestra. The Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ole Kristian Ruud, plays with sufficient vigor and color, though this moody music affords them few opportunities to shine. The sound is fairly soft in places, so volume adjustments may be necessary.
Featured by Delicatessen, Malene Mortensen, Simone Kopmajer, Katelijne Van Otterloo, Nadja Stoller Trio, Yazzmin, Phaedra Kwant, Kristian Jorgensen, Katrine Madsen, Caroline Henderson and many more.
After recording the complete solo fortepiano works of Haydn, it was inevitable that Ronald Brautigam would record the complete fortepiano concertos of Haydn. Of course, it helps that while Haydn's complete solo fortepiano works take up 11 discs, his complete fortepiano concertos take up only a single disc, so Brautigam could record it before moving on to record the inevitable complete fortepiano music of Beethoven. On its own, Brautigam's recording of Haydn's concertos is wonderful: light, bright, ebullient, full of humanity, and suffused with poetry. Brautigam's tone is clear but ringing, his touch is graceful but powerful, his interpretations characterful but self-effacing.
Lars Ulrik Mortensen is best known as a harpsichordist active largely in Baroque solo and chamber music repertory. But his career is quite multifaceted: he has regularly conducted both instrumental and operatic works and has taught harpsichord and historic performance practices at the Hochschule fur Musik in Munich. He has often appeared in concert as accompanist to singer Emma Kirkby and has regularly partnered violinist John Holloway and cellist Jaap ter Linden.
Dietrich Buxtehude is probably most familiar to modern classical music audiences as the man who inspired the young Johann Sebastian Bach to make a lengthy pilgrimage to Lubeck, Buxtehude's place of employment and residence for most of his life, just to hear Buxtehude play the organ. But Buxtehude was a major figure among German Baroque composers in his own right.
It's hard to believe this CD was done with only a violin, viola da gama and harpsichord. This is polyphonic music at its finest. It does tribute to Buxtehude, who preceded Bach. The ensemble is perfect - the instruments complement each other. When they go from slow to fast, it is remarkable to hear the contrast. These are expert musicians with a complete mastery of their instruments. They use loud-soft as easily as any masters of the Baroque. The result is joyous, lively and entertaining.
After decades during which the unaccompanied violin sonatas and partitas of Bach stood alone, regarded by all but specialists as rather freakish musical occurrences, recent years have seen a growth of interest in the virtuoso violin repertory of the Baroque. Composers like Biber, Pisendel, and Tartini have all shown up with increasing frequency on concert programs and recordings.
Mortensen's magnificent direction brings out the full measure of excitement, pathos and emotion in Handel's score…[the production] conveys an enormous amount of what makes Partenope very special.–Gramophone