The small Norwegian label 2L has released delightful recordings of newly unearthed Norwegian music, presented in technically sharp and often delightfully lighthearted performances. Some of the label's releases seem intended primarily for domestic audiences, and this one, with its Norwegian-only song texts characterized only generally in the English version of the notes (in Norwegian and English only), lies on the edge of that group. A collection of piano (or flute-and-piano) pieces, however, reveals a distinctive style of interest to anyone. Sverre Jordan was a late Norwegian Romantic, unsurprisingly a follower of Grieg, but not closed off to other tonal trends of the period. An unabashed conservative, Jordan stuck with his tonal style through the middle of the 20th century, and some of the songs seem to be derivative takes on old Romantic models. The piano pieces come mostly from the first part of the 20th century, and they're a different story. Grieg is clearly the model, but other influences crept in; annotator Reidar Storaas points to Sibelius, Rachmaninov, and Puccini (presumably in the vocal works, where you can hear Jordan's bent toward big, floating, metrically irregular but highly lyrical melodies). Debussy might be added, and there are unexpected rhythms and melodic turns in some of these short pieces that don't sound like anybody else. They're uneven, but sample the Capriccio, track 5, for a thoroughgoing surprise. The high-spirited Sonatina for flute and piano, Op. 61 (tracks 13-15), seems to reflect an acquaintance with French neo-classicism. The performers, especially pianist Turid Bakke Braut, approach the music with grand cheerful high spirits, and 2L's strong production values are fully in evidence.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Moments musicaux, for piano, Op. 12|
|Sonatine for fløyte og klaver, for flute & piano, Op. 61|
|3 stykker for klaver, for piano, Op. 29|