With Røta, her debut album at Berlin Classics, Ragnhild Hemsing presents her Norwegian roots on the violin and Hardanger fiddle, exploring her identity and the connection to her musical education. Central to this is the relationship between classical music and Norwegian folk music as well as the contrast between the different sounds of both instruments. In addition to works by well-known Norwegian composers, Ragnhild Hemsing has recorded four different folk melodies for Hardanger fiddle from her homeland for Røta.
"I find it very interesting to combine the repertoire of composers inspired by folk music and the traditions of their respective countries," Hemsing explains the selection of works chosen for this album. Ole Bull, Edvard Grieg, Johan Svendsen or Johan Halvorsen are Norwegian greats of the 19th century, whose music gives her the pleasant feeling of "being at home". Together with Mario Häring on piano and Benedict Kloeckner on cello, she embarks on a journey through her native world of sound.
All composers represented on the album were also very attached to their homeland and were in exchange with each other. Thus Bull served as inspiration for Grieg, who in turn was a close friend of Halvorsen and Svendsen. The beauty of Norway, its characteristics and its landscape, can be heard and felt clearly in the music. A reflection of the mystical nature is expressed in Grieg's Lyrical Suite (Op. 54), with memories of gentle nights, hikes and finally the trolls' march.
Halvorsen, who mastered the Hardanger fiddle well himself, was intimately familiar with folk music, which is reflected in the repertoire of this album. The Passacaglia, based on the theme of Handel, is probably his most famous work worldwide, arranged for Hardanger fiddle and cello by Tormod Tvete Vik (as all other arrangements). Common to all composers is the inspiration they found in folk music.
As an exciting addition to the pieces by the above-mentioned composers, Røta also has four different traditional rhythms from Ragnhild Hemsing's homeland: a folk melody in the "Myllarguten" tradition, a "Springar" in 3/4 rhythm and a "Halling" in 2/4 rhythm, which comes from Valdres - the region where Hemsing grew up. The well-known folk song Allt under himmelens fäste ("Everything under the firmament") forms the conclusion of the album.
Picturesque landscapes, melancholic melodies and the varied rhythmic characteristics of various dance melodies are an expression of Norway's special and traditional music - the music Hemsing is very fond of: "In 1850, Norway was a nation that suddenly woke up and realized that it had its own musical heritage and its own composers who would fill the next decades with great music and gain international recognition.