After a one and a half hour journey from Bergen airport the “Hardangerfjord Express Boat” sails into harbour – a small village set in a green valley below the dramatic mountains that rise steeply behind it.
Here in 1661 Ludwig Rosenkrantz and his young wife Karen began to create a lavish manor house and garden which they called Rosendal and, in 1678, their estate was to be given the unique status of the only Barony in Norway by King Christian V of Denmark and Norway. Today the house and its beautifully kept gardens offer visitors a glimpse of Norwegian history in one of the country’s most spectacular natural settings.
For pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, this is the perfect location for a new chamber music festival, which he launched in August 2016 together with the inauguration of a new concert hall at Baroniet Rosendal Manor House and Gardens. Alongside performances in the manor house itself, the four day festival features concerts on the new stage – a concert hall with 400 seats, converted from an original barn on the estate. Additional evening concerts take place in the white-washed 13th century Kvinnherad church whilst lectures and open discussions are offered during the day.
Leif Ove Andsnes has been a regular visitor and performer in Rosendal for over 20 years. “Baroniet Rosendal is a very special place” he commented “and music has been a part of its cultural life for generations. Its incredible to think that artists and musicians have been crossing the fjord for over three hundred years and amongst them were apparently both Edvard Grieg and Ole Bull – our Bergen musical legends.”
“One of the joys of creating a festival programme is that it allows you to focus in depth on a particular aspect of a composer’s life and music. In 2016, for the first Rosendal Chamber Music Festival, we focused on 1828 – the year of Franz Schubert’s death, which was also a year in which the composer wrote some of his most poignantly beautiful music. For the second festival I put together a programme around another big passion of mine – the chamber music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.”
Joining Leif Ove Andsnes in Rosendal each summer are friends and colleagues which have so far included fellow pianists Bertrand Chamayou and Francesco Piemontesi, fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout as well as internationally acclaimed soloists Matthias Goerne, Anne Sofie von Otter, Vilde Frang, Christian and Tanja Tetzlaff, Sol Gabetta, Tabea Zimmermann, Martin Fröst and Sharon Kam. Each year the festival also highlights upcoming young Norwegian artists and in 2017 featured Opus 13 String Quartet – Sonoko Miriam Welde, Edvard Erdal (violins) Michael Grolid (viola) and Frida Tharaldsen Skaftun (cello).
The third Rosendal Chamber Music Festival will take place from 9 – 12 August 2018.