The work has been nicknamed “”Elgsonaten”” (Elk Sonata) because a moose (elk) kept staring at Johan Kvandal every time he looked out the window of his study while writing it.
But I do not think that the result is a piece of musical “moose in the sunset.” Well, this sonata for viola and piano (Op. 81) has both traditional Norwegian free tonality and references to folk songs. But first and foremost, it has a lot of fresh, dramatic music with sharp edges and an expression ranging from the violently disruptive to the intensely sore and subtle. Lars Anders Tomter and Håvard Gimse play the sonata attuned and enthusiastically, with good sense of Kvandal abrupt mood shifts. They continue in the same way on the rest of the disc, where they offer pieces of Ragnar Söderlind and Sæverud’s unpretentious Sonatina. Kvandal’s Elegy and Capriccio for solo viola (Op. 47) is also included, premiered by Tomter in 1976 and performed here with big gestures and a lot of humour.
by Peter Larsen, Bergens Tidende, 6th December 2006