Passacaglia (1928)/Jensen (1894-1969)
September 26, 2011
Included with his Symphony in D Minor https://sdtom.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/symphony-in-d-minor-1942ludvig-irgens-jensen-1894-1969/ this early work was the first to be championed by Toscanini and Stravinsky. Like the D minor symphony it is a work that is thought provoking, serious, and certainly belongs in a CD collection representing this unknown composer.
In addition to his composing which was influenced by the French and German composers Ludvig was also a poet, philosopher, and painter of watercolor works. He also enjoyed the wonders of nature and loved mountain climbing.
The writing of a passacaglia places him in a similar category as J.S. Bach as he follows the structure. The opening is calm before a storm with the bassoons offering a signal motif before the majestic horns offer a brass fanfare. One can hear a bit of Brahms in the opening. The passacaglia theme and its sixteen variations are not introduced until five minutes into the piece. Horns and strings are featured in the long introduction. One can easily hear how this could be adapted to organ especially in the later part as a triple fugue is offered. The work ends, repeating the passacaglia theme and closing with a coda.
“Air” is a short piece that is a song is arranged for orchestra. It begins with a lovely clarinet solo offering the melody until the strings pick up the melody. It is a work of yearning and lost love.
I must give an extra star to the liner notes written by the conductor Bjarte Engeset who obviously has a great fondness for Ludvig. This is a Naxos CD to be explored.
Naxos CD# is 8.572312
The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Bjarte Engeset
1… Air (1959) (2:42)
2… Passacaglia (20:05)