What can I say? A really beautiful understanding of Agathe Backer-Grøndahl, who is unfortunately not much played in Norway. So much Norwegian classical music is collecting dust in the libraries, so for me it is a pretty emotional thing that two foreigners, perhaps American students, bring this music to life, showing us what we’ve actually got.
Norwegian r’s might be nice, of course, and maybe not every detail is finished in the frame of this beautiful picture, but who cares when the thing itself flows like this, creating impressions at the same time new and plausible to me as a Norwegian. It’s like seeing a familiar scenery through the eyes of a foreign friend.
The singer has a very fine, direct approach to the music, an attitude which does every bit of justice to the spirit of this colourful and part-eerie nature painting.
The playing of the pianist, especially, makes one think of Mendelssohn, because of the lightness of sound, which in some of his best pieces is still extremely balanced and revealing. The music for ”A midsummer night’s dream” lacks ”normal” romantic drama, but is very interesting as an almost ”real” fairy tale, painted musically with golden and mainly light colours, but still a whole world emerges within this light palette.
Backer-Grøndahl’s music has some of the same qualities, especially in this setting of Ingemann’s ”Nøkken”, The water-spirit. But it also contains a different tone, darker than found in the world of the Midsummer night’s dream, which to me makes this sound-scape maybe even more comprehensible and closer to real life.