Grieg Slåtter / Peasant Dances op.72
EDVARD GRIEG: Slåtter / Norwegian Peasant Dances · TRAD. : Norwegian Peasant Dances (Slåtter) in the tradition after Knut Dahle
Ingfrid Breie Nyhus, piano (Grieg’s own Steinway 1891) · Åshild Breie Nyhus, Hardanger fiddle · Knut Dahle, Hardanger fiddle
“The Slåtter op. 72 of Edvard Grieg for the first time brought Norwegian folk music to a wide international audience. His love for nature and the traditional music was truly great, equalled only by his pioneering spirit when it came to bringing it into art music. But was he true to his sources? In the same year of the 100th year commemoration of his death, we present a revised edition of op. 72 – based on new transcriptions of the original material.
The fiddler Knut Dahle (1834-1921) had learned directly from legendary fiddlers like Myllarguten and Håvar Gibøen. Seeing that the tradition was dying out he contacted the highly profiled Grieg in order to have him write down what Dahle himself had only learned by ear. Enthusiastic about the project, Grieg trusted composer and violinist Johan Halvorsen with the task of putting Dahle”s playing on paper. The result was the basis for Grieg”s op. 72, published in 1903. However, around the year 1900 no consistent notational practice for transcribing Hardanger fiddle tunes had been developed. And although Halvorsens intentions were the best his notation is wanting in certain central detail of these very refined rhythmical patterns. In particular the specific local musical dialects – typical to the area in question – that go with each slått sometimes was lost. These “errors” made their way to Grieg”s pieces, and subsequent performances.
First time on CD: a new edition incorporating the true slåtte-rhythms
Professor of folk music Sven Nyhus is very experienced in notating Hardanger fiddle tunes. He has worked with wax roll recordings of Knut Dahle from 1912, transcribing what has become known as the “Grieg Slåtter” after Dahle”s own playing. This work has resulted in a new edition of the fiddle tunes, and also a new edition of op. 72.
Classical and folk music in mutual inspiration
The Nyhus sisters have a folk musical background and classical training at the highest level which give them a unique insight into this music.