1999 – 2000

“Terje Vigen” is a dramatic poem by world famous Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (second most played in the world after Shakespeare). It describes the dramatic saga of Terje who, during the Napoleonic wars, tried to run the British blockade of Norway’s southern coast in a small rowboat to provide food for his family. The poem is a national treasure, and known by every Norwegian. In 2000, Nedland Kultur teamed up with composer Ivar Bøksle and actor Helge Jordal to produce a full performance of the long poem with newly composed music, and a full studio production to be released on CD.

Ivar Bøksle composed music for the full 43 verse, 387 lines long dramatic poem by Henrik Ibsen, an impressive effort that convinced Nedland Kultur that this had to be documented in a studio and released. The highly respected actor Helge Jordal, known from stage, films and TV, was asked to part recite and part sing the poem. He took up the challenge and gave the poem a very powerful, emotional and dramatic interpretation. Equally involved from an early stage was violinist Svetlana Orlova, who put a heartfelt expressive performance, and lots of empathy into her interpretation of the music.

Above from left: Ivar Bøksle, Helge Jordal, Svetlana Orlova.

Another very vital musician in the project was Mads Eriksen, powerful guitarist from Bergen, who put his mark on the album with his spirited and emotional playing.

Left: Mads Eriksen

“Terje Vigen” is an early work by Henrik Ibsen, written in 1862, but – at least in Norway – it ranks up there with “Peer Gynt” and “Brand” and his later more modern plays. Many Norwegians know parts of the poem by heart, and it has inspired many other artists. Best known are the illustrations drawn by Norwegian legendary painter Christian Krohg.

So we had to put our main man in the project, Helge Jordal, in the same boat….

The CD release was well received, with many positive recensions. This led to Helge, Ivar and musicians going out on the road to do a concert version, often played outside in spectacular locations. Ibsen’s dramatic poem found a new audience, performed in a new way that could communicate the story of the man who tried to get past the war blockade to get food for his family, but ended up a war prisoner.