No 5: Jölstring 'Dance from Jölster'
But the connection with Norway predates their re-acquaintance in America. In the years before the Russian Revolution of 1917, their teacher, Leopold Auer, set up a summer school in Oslo (then called Kristiania), where his students would have deepened any acquaintance of Grieg’s music they had already formed in Russia. Achron made a number of transcriptions during this period of his life (including one of Mendelssohn’s ‘On the Wings of Song’ which Heifetz later made popular, recording it as early as October 1918), and the absence of Grieg original miniatures for violin and piano must have made them an obvious target. He produced a total of seven Grieg transcriptions. The six included here are ‘Dance from Jölster’, the fifth of the 25 Norwegian Folksongs and Dances, Op 17 (1869); ‘Lonely Wanderer’ and ‘At Home’, the second and third of the six pieces that make up the third series of Lyric Pieces, Op 43; ‘Grandmother’s Minuet’, the second of the ninth series of Lyric Pieces, Op 68; ‘Puck’ (the original Norwegian title, Småtroll, means ‘Little Troll’), third of the tenth series, Op 71; and the Scherzo-Impromptu, No 2 of the seven Stemninger (‘Moods’), Op 73.
Norway was to come to Auer’s aid, too, when in June 1917, after forty-nine years as professor of violin at the St Petersburg Conservatoire, he fled the upheavals of the Revolution and ostensibly went on holiday to Norway; in the event, he continued westwards, taking a boat for New York in February the next year. When in 1925 Carl Fischer of New York published six of Achron’s Grieg arrangements (the Scherzo-Impromptu followed a year later), Achron, Auer and Heifetz had all settled in the United States.
from notes by Martin Anderson © 2006