toppmeny
2.3 Reviews

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Oslo String Quartet
Barratt Due Institute of Music
Lawostore.no
Dextra Musica AS
Camilla Wicks, violinist
Arnold Steinhardt, violinist
Arnold Steinhardt, blog
Arnold Steinhardt, recordings at iTunes
JPS records
Synne Skouen, composer
Magnar Åm, composer
The Carl Nielsen society
Ryde & Berg Organbuilders
Ballade
Fabra
G.I.Lotsberg recordings at Contra Classics
G.I. Lotsberg recordings at iTunes
G.I. Lotsberg recordings at Amazon.com
G.I.Lotsberg recordings at Platekompaniet (no)
Herman Vogt, composer
Lars-Erik ter Jung
Grieg trio
lydskrift.no

e-mail:
gi.lotsberg(at)afontibus.no


Reviews, exerpts:

Nielsen: Sonatas for violin og piano and solo violin works (ATB-CD3) POLITIKEN, Copenhagen, January 2003, Jan Jacoby:
"Carl Nielsen: an exhilarating Norwegian interpretation of the sonatas."

BERGENS TIDENDE, 15 February 2002, Peter Larsen:
"Extremely good and extremely interesting."

VG, 14 November 2001, Astrid Kvalbein:
"Lotsberg’s compelling performance bears witness to his deep devotion to the journey in the opposite direction."

FÆDRELANDSVENNEN, 28 December 2001, Emil Otto Syvertsen:
"Danish charm in a Norwegian package."

DAGENS NÆRINGSLIV, 1 December 2001,Tron Jensen:
"Sonatas for violin and piano by Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931), played “fast and furious” by Geir Inge Lotsberg and Håvard Gimse."

KULTURSPEILET 17 November 2001, Kjell Moe:
"Powerful – there is no other way of describing it."

Bach: Sonatas BWV 1014-1019 (ATB CD 1&2)
AFTENPOSTEN 12/2-1997, Idar Karevold:
A significant effort and an impressive documentation of both the music of Bach and of the conscientious collaboration of two Norwegian performers.

NRK MUSIKKEN March 1998, Håkon Heggstad:
Nordstoga has taken on the (young) Geir Inge Lotsberg in a somewhat peculiar but nonetheless sonorous album.

Grieg: Sonatas for violin and piano (PPC 1035)
NYE MUSIKKEN, July/August 1997, Morten Eide Pedersen:
A joy in performance and a temperamental musical authority enthrall the listener from the first note, and pervade this entire album, in an alert and subtly shaded interaction of two strong musical personalities.

Religous folk tunes (GRCD 4114)
MORGENBLADET 7/3-1997, Espen Mineur Sætre:
Religous folk tunes: "Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful."

Debut concert 29/11-1996
AFTENPOSTEN 29/11-1996, Arvid O. Vollsnes:
Superior violin debut with Carl Nielsen

VÅRT LAND 29/11-1996, Ove Kjøpet:
Retains melodic beauty, everything contained in an energetic and technically advanced performance.

VG 29/11-1996, Jarle Søraa:
Lotsberg Full of Promise. The most original debut of the year was rendered by Geir Inge Lotsberg. In the Aula on Wednesday he performed works exclusively by Carl Nielsen.

Nielsen: Sonatas for violin and piano and works for solo violin
(ATB CD3)

Politiken, Copenhagen, Denmark, January 2003, Review by Jan Jacoby.
"Carl Nielsen: an exhilarating Norwegian interpretation of the sonatas".
The rest of the world has discovered Carl Nielsen. New CD versions of his symphonies are being released more and more often, and a growing number of performers are interpreting his piano works. Now we can listen to a Norwegian rendering of the chamber music for violin: two sonatas with piano and two solo works. These are major compositions, which collectively span nearly his entire career.
And this is a good record – in fact, it’s very good. It could be said that the lean, rather direct effect of the violin produces sounds that are somewhat less sensitive and delicate than those of the pianist, who we have seen here on several occasions, but this is nonetheless a vigorous, buoyant and fertile dialogue that bears witness to an outstanding feeling for narrative and characterisation in a lively, dynamic form. These musicians have a story to tell, the energy with which to tell it, and respect for the structural elements of the pieces.
Nor is there any reason to be dissatisfied with the technically demanding solo works, which Lotsberg plays with bite and contrast in the resonance of a church. The two preludes are imaginatively sculpted with intriguing and seemingly effortless combinations of sounds. The variations run, skip and dance, each preserving its distinctive individuality while also unmistakably referring to the tranquil theme, and even in the most whirling passages the rhythm, tempo and phrasing maintain a clear and natural structure. These are difficult pieces to deliver, but the versions we are offered here are certainly stimulating.

Bergens Tidende, 15 February 2002. Review by Peter Larsen.
"Extremely good and extremely interesting."
The most original debut of the year – this was how critics referred to Geir Inge Lotsberg’s debut at the Aula, the University of Oslo’s auditorium. What was unique was that Lotsberg, unlike most debuting artists, did not play a little bit of everything in order to display his musical breadth, but chose instead to focus on one composer: Carl Nielsen, with his chamber music for violin. Lotsberg has still not lost interest in this music. Or perhaps it is the music that has not lost interest in him. In any case, now, five years after his debut, he is releasing a CD of Nielsen’s music. And all we can say is – thank you. This is an extremely good and extremely interesting recording. It enables us to hear a sadly neglected side of Carl Nielsen’s production. He wrote only four works for violin, and they are not performed frequently. But Lotsberg demonstrates that there is actually every reason to welcome these pieces into the wider violin repertoire. The four works were composed at very different periods during the composer’s life, but all of them bear his unmistakeable imprint: sharply drawn, amusing melodies, unexpectedly abrupt shifts in the harmonic material, and unusual chromatic twists. And underlying the entire piece is the hint of a Danish folk tune. Starting with the two violin sonatas from 1895 and 1912, Lotsberg gives us a crisp, youthful interpretation together with an energetic Håvard Gimse at the piano. But for me, the highlights of the CD are the two solo pieces, written late in Nielsen’s career for his son-in-law, the Hungarian virtuoso Emil Telmanyi. This is powerful, unsentimental music that demonstrates that there are other solutions to the problems of the solo voice than those found by Bach in his time.

Verdens Gang, 14 November 2001. Review by Astrid Kvalbein
"ROUND TRIP TO TROLDHAUGEN:"
Norwegian violinists and pianists always return to the security of Edvard Grieg” Geir Inge Lotsberg is, in a sense, travelling in the opposite direction in his recording of Carl Nielsen’s music. He and Håvard Gimse embark upon their journey in a Griegian atmosphere at the Troldsalen concert hall at Troldhaugen, Grieg’s former home, with a violin sonata composed in 1895. Progressing into the 1900s, the solid, lovely and demanding music becomes increasingly transparent, bold and seductive. The works for solo violin are Nielsen’s resounding declarations of love for the instrument. Lotsberg’s compelling performance bears witness to his deep devotion to the journey in the opposite direction.

Fædrelandsvennen, 28 December 2001. Review by Emil Otto Syvertsen
"Danish charm in a Norwegian package".
The Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) is gaining more and more popularity. An increasing number of young musicians are performing his works, and audiences are being given the opportunity to get to know and appreciate a composer who speaks as much to our times as he did to his own. Now violinist Geir Inge Lotsberg and pianist Håvard Gimse are offering us a recording of Nielsen’s chamber music. Two sonatas for violin and piano and two solo violin pieces are brilliantly presented here. I am particularly impressed with the profound involvement of the performers; they practically play with their nerves on the outside of their fingers. As a result, the intensity in the presentation of Carl Nielsen’s works matches the music itself, and gives us an hour’s enjoyment of pure beauty.

Dagens Næringsliv, 1-2 December 2001. Review by Tron Jensen
"A modern Nielsen"
Sonatas for violin and piano by Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931), played “fast and furious” by Geir Inge Lotsberg and Håvard Gimse This CD opens with a pleasant shock: Carl Nielsen’s Violin Sonata from 1895 is so advanced that in the beginning we can barely recognise the hand of the Danish composer. Its beauty and complexity would be enough to stump any music expert. Nielsen always had a powerful attack and a bold use of harmony, for example in his Symphony No. 4, “The Inextinguishable”, from 1916. But when he is divested of his intoxicating trumpets and horns and the singing violins, Nielsen has an even more modern effect. All the same, we would not go so far as to say that the violin sonatas show skeletons while the symphonies show lush bodies. His abstractions never went that far.
Violinist Geir Inge Lotsberg (32) presented Nielsen sonatas at his debut concert at the Aula, the auditorium at the University of Oslo, five years ago. He has studied with two renowned quartet leaders: Leif Jørgensen of the Hindar Quartet and Sandor Vegh of the Vegh Quartet. Lotsberg is himself the leader of the Oslo String Quartet, which is currently celebrating its tenth anniversary. He has devoted this CD to his solo career. As early as in his first sonata in 1885, Carl Nielsen had already discovered his own musical idiom. In major scales he constantly returns to minor sevenths and minor thirds, better known as the blues intervals. A Griegian Nordic methodology suffuses his advanced use of variations within the sonata form, but the blues intervals are also present. His sonata of 1912 progresses one step further, demonstrating the entire range of possibilities that can be extracted from one core theme. The piano supplies themes on an independent basis while simultaneously acting as accompanist. This is thus as much Håvard Gimse’s CD as it is Lotsberg’s.
Geir Inge Lotsberg performs alone in “Prelude and Theme with Variations” of 1923 and “Prelude and Presto” of 1928. These pieces aim at being modern versions of Bach’s sonatas and partitas (which Lotsberg has also recorded on a CD). The music on this recording is neo-classicism combined with a need for romantic expression. It is not programme music. This demonstrates how the ageing Nielsen was a product of his times, while also preserving the best of the old music with its contrasts and nostalgic features.

Kulturspeilet, 17 November 2001. Review by Kjell Moe
"Powerful – there is no other way of describing it"
No holds are barred when Geir Inge Lotsberg and Håvard Gimse tear along with their Carl Nielsen performances. Perhaps this has something to do with the venues in which the recordings were made – the Troldsalen concert hall at Grieg’s home, Troldhaugen, and Jondal Church – or it could be that the players themselves want to make their presence conspicuous. Or it could be quite simply due to the expressive force of the composer, Carl Nielsen. In any case, this cannot be defined as tender music for delicate ears. “You’re playing that atonal stuff again,” my visiting friend says. But this is far from twelve-tone music. Nor is it music designed to be played while sipping red wine in candlelight by an open fire. It is vigorous music, and no attempt is made to conceal its muscle.
Norwegian performers have a definite weakness for Carl Nielsen. Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, the Vertavo String Quartet and the Oslo String Quartet have all recorded works by Carl Nielsen in recent years. In our view, this is commendable. It emphasises our close proximity to Denmark, not least with regard to education and training of musicians. But also because Carl Nielsen, who studied composition with Norwegian composer Johan Svendsen, is without a doubt worth getting to know more closely. Nielsen’s two violin sonatas and two of his solo works for violin are presented here. The two sonatas are quite different, not least with regard to when they were composed. The music thus has the necessary variety.
However, it is the works for solo violin that make the strongest impression. In these pieces Geir Inge Lotsberg really has an opportunity to pull out all the stops.

Grieg: Sonatas for violin and piano (PPC 1035)
NYE MUSIKKEN, July/August 1997, Morten Eide Pedersen:
A joy in performance and a temperamental musical authority enthrall the listener from the first note, and pervade this entire album, in an alert and subtly shaded interaction of two strong musical personalities.
Einar Steen-Nøkleberg has received a formidable response to his record series at Naxsos, and emerges as one of the authorities in the tradition of Grieg-interpretation. We are treated here to an exciting and rich meeting of a "Nestor" with a young fellow-musician, where the latter situates himself in this exquisite collaboration with authority and sensitivity. Geir Inge Lotsberg has in the course of only a few years established himself as one of our outstanding young string musicians, not least through his participation in the Oslo String Quartet. This CD provides a picture of him as an independent musician. The music elicits an image of the inquisitive Grieg, who perhaps reaches for more than the material can actually support in the initial works; but the musicians capture the spontaneity and delight, thereby helping Grieg along, precisely where the help of able musicians is needed. There is resilience and character in the phrasing. The final sonata becomes in a sense more preoccupied with the moment and the individual parts, and now and then I find myself missing a more dominant progression, beyond the expressive, energetic passages. But I believe that this is very much about Grieg as well - the small delimited movements were his forte; the developmental forms lose something. But the musicians capture the development where it is to be found and perform this with a vigilant application of energy. These pieces are nonetheless standard works from our national tradition and what one encounters here is something far beyond documentation for a museum.

Bach: Sonatas BWV 1014-1019 (ATB CD 1&2)
AFTENPOSTEN 12/2-1997, Idar Karevold:
A significant effort and an impressive documentation of both the music of Bach and of the conscientious collaboration of two Norwegian performers.
Lotsberg and Nordstoga deliver a spectacular interaction. It is a matter of extremely demanding works. In some movements there are two conversing voices, which progress with a precision which only the most experienced master of Bach is capable of conceiving. The young violinist Geir Inge Lotsberg delivers an exquisite interpretation. He has assimilated the sonatas in a manner which illustrates that he has succeeded in getting inside of them and together with Kåre Nordstoga, he provides them with a form and content which is both enthralling and engaging.

NRK MUSIKKEN March 1998, Håkon Heggstad:
Nordstoga has taken on the (young) Geir Inge Lotsberg in a somewhat peculiar but nonetheless sonorous album. The six sonatas for violin and piano are often performed on the harpsichord, but here we are treated to the organ instead. The result is unusual, but beautiful. The interplay is precise and vivid and there is an energy throughout the more rapid movements. The slower portions are played with great expression, perhaps too much so in some cases - but it is never sentimental. The sound quality is extraordinary.

Debut concert 29/11-1996
AFTENPOSTEN 29/11-1996, Arvid O. Vollsnes:
Superior violin debut with Carl Nielsen
It was a particularly driven musician who stood before us on the stage of the University Aula on Wednesday and after the concert, everyone present had been reinforced in their knowledge of his being an unusually gifted musician as well.

The program he had chosen was an uncommon selection for a debut, Carl Nielsen's entire chamber music production for the violin. This is bold, but attests to a confidence in terms of own judgement and potential. Nielsen's music contains great challenges and it must be said in praise of Lotsberg that he mastered all of them. Starting from the first note of the first solo piece, "Preludium and Variations on Theme", one sensed his confidence and he had hereby gained a credibility for everything which followed. Carl Nielsen's music demands a particular will to impose form, which Lotsberg possesses. He creates music for us, unperturbed by the enormous technical challenges. Through the figurations, a clear execution of voice emerges for us and the form develops with clarity and rich with contrasts. Lotsberg does not need to exaggerate those contrasts for us. He makes smaller distinctions between the more staccato bars and the ingratiating cantilenas and still emphasizes the overall character of the piece, also through his rich resonance and tonality.And all of this takes place to the benefit of the music and expression, not out of a desire to impress. He truly evokes the nobility of Carl Nielsen's music. This is done with such elegance and unaffectedness that everyone must be impressed. Not to mention carried away as the audience was yesterday. The applause and floral splendor were overwhelming, and an encore followed.

VÅRT LAND 29/11-1996, Ove Kjøpet:
Retains melodic beauty, everything contained in an energetic and technically advanced performance.
The program was unusual for a debut concert: it was dedicated to Carl Nielsen in its entirety: as such it was unambiguous, but absolutely interesting. And courageously executed. Perhaps it is not necessary to show that one masters a stylistically varied repertoire when one has long since acquired an honored position in Norwegian musical society. For Geir Inge Lotsberg, the concert was more than a debut. It was a confirmation of his artistic credentials, expressed through the ability to retain melodic beauty, thematic treatment and development, dynamic scope and classical design.
Lotsberg and Steen-Nøkleberg shaped the "Sonata in A-Dur Opus 9" with a spiritual magnificence and artistic insight which left a strong impression. The first and last movements resonated with great feeling, extrovertedness, while the second and third movements expressed warmth and wistfulness. "Sonata no. 2 Opus 35", had a more bold and concentrated sound image, which was exquisitely interpreted in a performance as vital as it was sensitive. Great enthusiasm.
Geir Inge Lotsberg was accompanied by Einar Steen-Nøkleberg and his contribution was essential to this concert experience. But the debut-musician also played alone: "Preludium and Variations on Theme, Opus 48", playful and imaginative music with a polyphonic quality of almost orchestral implications. The execution illustrated good phrasing and accuracy, was technically brilliant, vivid and entertaining. There were some small deficiencies in the intonation and the phrasing did not have the same delicacy as later on in the concert. The second solo number, "Preludium and Presto, Opus 52", was played with a greater attentiveness to detail, but did not have the same musical appeal.

VG 29/11-1996, Jarle Søraa:
Lotsberg Full of Promise. The most original debut of the year was rendered by Geir Inge Lotsberg. In the Aula on Wednesday he performed works exclusively by Carl Nielsen.
Within this narrow framework, however, he disclosed an impressive violin register. The opening was extremely subdued - in "Preludium" one could perhaps have wanted a more fixed and ongoing attack - before he let loose in "Variations on Theme". He here evoked particularly well Nielsen's subtle span and broad range of mood.
The interpretation of the demanding "A-Dur Sonata" was captivating, both through Lotsberg's warm-blooded, richly shaded handling of the instrument, and through the inspiring interaction with pianist Einar Steen-Nøkleberg. Lotsberg is a natural talent, with a relaxed, unaffected grasp of the violin. The approach could have been at times rougher and more bold, but it was to its credit unusually soft and sensitive - with a melodious, almost luminous quality. The hyper-original "Preludium and Presto" benefited from this. Lotsberg and Nøkleberg closed with a succulent twist in the freely improvisational "Sonata no. 2". They winningly presented both the swarm of contrasting impressions and Nielsen's whimsical "purely Danish" intimacy.
With age and experience, the young Lotsberg will in all likelihood let loose even more. In which case the dice will roll a five - little more is required!

Bruch violin concerto with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra 5/6-1992
AFTENPOSTEN 9/6-1992, Arvid O. Vollsnes:
Spectacular young violinist
On Friday the Philharmonic invited us to an "ear-pleasing" concert at the Concert Hall and the soloist Geir Inge Lotsberg's violin performance truly titillated our ears and our souls. Geir Inge Lotsberg took into consideration all that a concert can offer. He plays with intensity, with large, round tones. The difficult sequences and passages glide elegantly and effortlessly and he appears highly focused in his shaping of the music. Lotsberg is characterized by a generous musicality, a well-developed technique which assists the expression, and a clear comprehension of what he wants with the music. In addition, he has an immediate freshness and flexibility. Lotsberg's performance was greeted with powerful applause. And much of the acclaim also was directed towards the orchestra and conductor. They accompanied the soloist well and were clearly inspired by his dazzling performance. Lotsberg's Bruch concert was well worth the visit.

VG 9/6-1992,Jarle Søraa:
The violin triumphs. The young Geir Inge Lotsberg takes his place in the front row among his own generation of Norwegian violinists. His violin technique is solid, offering a vivid, lilting tonality.
At the Philharmonic concert one encountered this time, first and foremost, Lotsberg the poet. In Bruch's "Violin Concerto no. 1", the adagio benefited greatly from Lotberg's simultaneously fresh and sensitive strokes, but he also made a great impression with the finale through his fearless approach.