Fairy Tales


A recording of wonderful but rarely performed pieces for violin and piano by Norwegian and Russian composers from Elisabeth Turmo and Elena Toponogova.


  1. OLE BULL (1810–1880) | A Mountain Vision / Et Saeterbesog /Described by Robert Schumann as a “Norwegian Paganini”, Ole Bull had a remarkable life as a virtuoso violinist and composer. He was also a passionate promoter of Norwegian culture.Prof. R. B. Anderson writes of Ole’s boyhood:
    “I once asked Ole Bull what had inspired his weird and original melodies. His answer was that from his earliest childhood he had taken the profoundest delight in Norway’s natural scenery. He grew eloquent in his poetic description of the grand and picturesque flower–clad valleys, filled with soughing groves and singing birds; of the silver–crested mountains, from which the summer sun never departs; of the melodious brooks, babbling streams, and thundering rivers; of the blinking lakes that sink their deep thoughts to starlit skies; of the far–penetrating fjords and the many thousand islands on the coast. He spoke with especial emphasis of the eagerness with which he had devoured all myths, folk–tales, ballads, and popular melodies; and all these things, he said, “have made my music.”
  2. JOHAN HALVORSEN (1864–1935) | Norwegian DanceJohan Halvorsen was a Norwegian composer, conductor and violinist. Halvorsen’s compositions were a development of the Norwegian national romantic tradition, following the path set by Grieg. The Norwegian Dance begins with a joyful celebration followed by the beautiful lyricism of the middle section. It ends on a playful and uplifting note.
  3. TRYGVE MADSON (b.1940) | A Piece for PeaceTrygve Madsen is a Norwegian composer and pianist. His compositions have been performed widely and featured in the curriculum at a number of educational institutions in Norway and abroad.Pieces for Hardanger fiddleThe Norwegian national instrument the Hardanger fiddle is like a fairytale itself. With all of its beautiful ornamentations and the very special carved animal or figure at the top, which is usually a dragon, a lion or a woman’s head. The Hardanger fiddle was earlier considered as the devil’s instrument and was not allowed to be played in Norwegian churches.
  4. ANDERS VIKEN (1898–1977) | Jølstrabrura The Bride from Jølster Anders Viken was a Norwegian fiddler and folk composer from Jølster, who composed more than 400 pieces.
  5. JOHAN HALVORSEN | FanitullenFanitullen means ‘the devil’s tune’. There is a story connected to the Fanitullen: once upon a time there was a wedding in Hol, where two young men got into a fight. The kitchen chef went downstairs to fetch a beer and while he was down there, he saw a man sitting on the beer keg with a fiddle, playing a tune he had never heard before. The man held the fiddle the opposite way, with the fiddle’s neck towards his chest and tapped the barrel with a horse’s hoof instead of his left foot. It was clear that this was the devil. The kitchen chef ran back up again and found one of the fighters lying dead in the yard.
  6. ANON | Jølstra-Springar / A dance from Jølster
  7. ANON | Rotneims-KnutRotneims-Knut, originally known as Knut Skaga (1809–1851) was a great Norwegian dancer and a very strong man from Gol in Hallingdal. It is often said that Rotneims-Knut was the strongest man in his town and his strength was rarely challenged.Stev / Poem (Norwegian) Rotneims-Knut er leug og mjukDet finst ikkje nokon som jaga’n ut Inkje i Hemsedal, inkje i Hol,
    Inkje på Torpo og inkje i Gol.(English)
    Rotneims-Knut is free and flexible, There is no man that can challenge him! Not in Hemsedal, not in Hol,
    Not Torpo and not in Gol.
  8. NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1880–1951) | Fairy tale in F minor Op.26 No.3Fairytale / Skazka /, the piano miniature was one of Medtner’s favourite genres. Many of the tales are lyrical, written in the style of elegy, some of them were inspired by folk characters amongst other things.When I introduce Nikolai Medtner’s music to an audience I often use a quote by the philosopher Ivan Ilyin “Medtner’s music astonishes and delights… you may fancy that you have heard the melody before…. But where, when, from whom, in childhood, in a dream, in delirium? You will scratch your head and strain your memory in vain: you have not heard it anywhere: in human ears it sounds for the first time…. And yet it is as though you had long been waiting for it – waiting because you ‘knew’ it, not in sound, but in spirit.”

FRITZ KREISLER (1875–1962) |
Two sketches from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade:

  1. Chanson Arabe
  2. Dance OrientaleFritz Kreisler made a number of arrangements for violin and piano including the two pieces from Scheherazade, the symphonic suite by Rimsky-Korsakov. The suite is based on the Middle Eastern collection of tales One Thousand and One Nights also known as The Arabian Nights.
  3. EFREM ZIMBALIST (1889–1985) | Fantasy on themes from Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Golden CockerelRimsky-Korsakov’s opera is based on Alexander Pushkin’s fairy tale The Tale of the Golden Cockerel. Both the tale and the political situation in Russia inspired Rimsky-Korsakov to compose the opera. According to the composer, the opera is “razor-sharp satire on the autocracy of Russian imperialism.”Efrem Zimbalist was a student of Leopold Auer at the St Petersburg Conservatoire and studied composition with Rimsky-Korsakov. Zimbalist later left Russia and made a huge career in the USA where he became a professor and later a director of the Curtis Institute of Music. His “Golden Cockerel” fantasy is one of the most virtuosic compositions of the violin repertoire.
  4. IGOR FROLOV (1937–2013) | Concert Fantasy for violin and piano on themes from Gershwin’s Porgy and BessGershwin wrote about his opera: “Porgy and Bess is a folk tale. Its people naturally would sing folk music. When I first began work on the music I decided against the use of original folk material because I wanted the music to be all of one piece. Therefore, I wrote my own spirituals and folksongs. However, they are still folk music – and therefore, being in operatic form, Porgy and Bess becomes a folk opera.”The fantasy is one of the brightest gems of the violin and piano repertoire made by the Russian violinist and composer Igor Frolov.

—Elena Toponogova

  1. A Mountain Vision for violin and piano
  2. Norwegian Dance No.1 in D major for violin and piano
  3. A Piece for Peace for violin and piano

Pieces for Hardanger fiddle solo

  1. Jølstrabrura
  2. Fanitullen
  3. Jølstra - springar
  4. Rotnheims-Knut
  1. Fairytale in F minor Op.26 No.3 for piano solo
  2. Chanson Arabe from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, for violin and piano
  3. Dance Orientale from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, for violin and piano
  4. Concert Fantasy on Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Le coq d’or” (The Golden Cockerel) for violin and piano
  5. Concert Fantasy for violin and piano 15’25 on themes from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess