−​ I'm very happy with what we achieved

​Two CDs with four symphonies by Per Nørgård, played by the Oslo Philharmonic and conducted by John Storgårds, were released this week. − The freedom and imagination in his music is what appeals to me the most, Storgårds says.

Written by Fred-Olav Vatne

John Storgårds conducts the Oslo Philharmonic in a new recording of Per Nørgård's symphonies. (Photo: Fred-Olav Vatne/Oslo-Filharmonien)

The two CDs with Nørgård's second, fourth, fifth and sixth symphonies, which were released by the record label Dacapo Records this week, were recorded in Oslo Concert Hall and the Opera House in Oslo.

− Those were two incredibly intense weeks, John Storgårds says.

− Nørgård's symphonies are very complicated music to play. Playing all four in two weeks was very challenging, but with a top orchestra like this, it is possible! As I now hear the result, I'm very happy with what we achieved. Not only is the playing very accurate, the entire orchestra plays with great intensity.

Read The Guardian's review: An exhilarating musical journey

− Music that exites you

The conductor hopes that as many people as possible will listen to all four symphonies on the CDs:

− These symphonies are very different from each other. Only when hearing all of them, can one understand how rich Nørgård's musical language is.

John Storgårds conducted the premiere of Nørgård's last symphony to date, the eighth, and enjoys a close relationship with the composer and his music.

− The freedom and imagination in his music is what appeals to me the most. He always dares to innovate and to develop new works from new ideas, and yet it always sounds very musical and appealing. It never becomes paper music; it is always vibrant and beautiful to listen to, music that exites you. It is also challenging and inspiring to work with him. Nørgård is a wonderfully interesting and kind man.

Storgårds spends a lot of time and energy exploring new music, especially Nordic repertoire. He has among other things recorded music by Rolf Wallin with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. Asked what lesser known Nordic symphonies he would recommend to our readers, he pulls out two composers he has also recorded:

− First, I'll mention the Faroese Sunleif Rasmussen's second symphony. He has written two symphonies, both of which are beautiful − and different from each other. And Finnish composer Kalevi Aho is one of the most important Nordic composers of orchestral music. He has written several great symphonies.

Read more about the CDs in Dacapo Records' website:

Symphony no. 2 & 6

Symphony no. 4 & 5

John Storgårds during rehearsal with the Oslo Philharmonic. (Photo: Fred-Olav Vatne/Oslo-Filharmonien)