Ludvig Irgens Jensen (1894-1969): Symphonic Works / Trondheim SO Feb05

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Album at a Glance

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CPO Records Record Label - cpo: Mission: "to fill niches in the recorded classical repertory, with an emphasis on romantic, late romantic and 20th-century music."
Release date: 2013-01-29


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The Orchestral Works of Ludvig Irgens-Jensen, a Romantic Symphonist


Listeners coming to the orchestral music of Ludvig Jensen for the first time will be completely taken aback by the quality of this little known Norwegian composer’s music. All of the tools of the romantic composer’s trade are evident in abundance, and cpo has given us over two hours of his beautiful and thrilling music on this new two CD set.

Ludvig Jensen (1894 – 1969) was an entirely self-taught composer who never attended a composition class, yet at the peak of his career, stood as the leading composer of his Norwegian contemporaries. In the early years, he did all his composing in secret and didn’t release works to the public unless his close friend Odd Gruner-Hegge (his first name is “Odd”), a talented musician and later the principal conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic, advised. This was the case for his Passacaglia for Orchestra of 1928, which was his first international success, lavishly praised by Carl Nielsen and Arturo Toscanini.

Later revisions aside, all of the music here was written between 1925 and 1940, a time when art music in central Europe had been completely transformed by the Modernist movement. But romanticism lived long in Scandinavia, and especially so in Ludvig Jensen. There is nothing here to affront even the most conservative listener. If you like the music of Edvard Grieg, you will thoroughly enjoy all the music here.

Special mention must be made of the Norwegian Trondheim Symphony Orchestra lead by conductor Eivind Aadland. They are a group I don’t believe I have ever come across before. All sections of the orchestra turn in exemplary performances. Jensen’s music could hardly be better served by them, nor by the cpo sound technicians who have given us one of their best.

The orchestra is not identified, but here is a sample of the early Passacaglia for Orchestra by Ludvig Jensens.