Discover Pods: Podcast Spotlight with ‘The Nordics Unveiled’

Discover Pods, Podcast spotlight

DECEMBER 10, 2020 by Discover Pods

You may think you know Nordic history, but there is still so much to be discovered. After all, the stories span generations, stretching back hundreds of years. In this podcast, Norwegian host and violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing aims to answer one question: What is typically Nordic? To investigate, Hemsing and her expert guests deep dive into Nordic mythology, folk music, philosophy, architecture, nature, and more. She speaks with celebrated composers and inspiring artists, discussing inspirations, styles, and dreams. Have no fear if you’re one to zone out during longer podcasts because Hemsing’s interesting questions will bring you right back in.

The Nordics Unveiled really takes listeners on a journey, showing the weird and wonderful side of Nordic history! Hemsing gives ample space for her guests to share their experiences and the audio is crystal clear. She even uses some of her own music in the show’s introduction, so listeners get a truly Nordic experience. This is recommended for the curious and lovers of Nordic history. 

The Nordics Unveiled official

We were fortunate to talk with Hemsing about the podcast, how they differentiate from other podcasts, and their future plans in podcasting. See below for our full Q&A.

Listen on your favorite podcast platform:


DISCOVER PODS: How’d you get into podcasting?

HEMSING: During the lockdown and numerous concert cancellations due to COVID-19, I finally had the chance to do projects that I usually don’t have the time to fit into my calendar. And during a normal concert season, when performing around the world one of the most common question I get asked is “what is typically Nordic” and “what is the sound of the north”. As a Norwegian, you don’t really ask yourself this question, so I became very curious myself to find out! As a passionate communicator, I thought let’s combine the best components in the situation and share the passion of music to my core audiences and people, who might not know much about classical music.

DISCOVER PODS: In your own words, why should listeners tune in to The Nordics Unveiled?

HEMSING: I really hope people will join me on the journey to discover what the Nordic is, whether its music, history, art, design or just some of the societal values. It is particularly the societal values that are underlying all the conversations, so I would it say the Nordics Unveiled is almost an introduction ahead of your first or next visit. With exceptional guests and surprising discoveries, I hope this podcast will offer new inspiration and insights for listeners to dive into the Nordics.

DISCOVER PODS: What kind of feedback have you heard from your listeners?

HEMSING: We are still on the early side, with only 3 episodes released, but the feedback from listeners is very positive. I particularly feel so humbled, once reading a review from fellow Norwegians, who live on the other side of the world saying “the podcast really makes me feel like I am back home in the North”. So I hope this curiosity from audiences will continue.

DISCOVER PODS: Describe your recording set up? What equipment are you using?

HEMSING: I am quite lucky that I have a technical support to make the podcast sound as good as possible. As a recording artist, the quality of sound is something I would not be ready to compensate on. If not mistaken, we are using the Zoom recorder that is supposed to be one of the best.

DISCOVER PODS: What’s the biggest challenge you face as a classical musician in a role podcaster?

HEMSING: I think the biggest challenge creating a podcast is starting from scratch, without having any mainstream media to lean on as a full promotional challenge. Luckily, I have was able to introduce the podcast also to my performing audiences. On the other hand, I personally like to challenge myself being innovative and not following any other podcasting styles and trends.

DISCOVER PODS: Where do you want to take your podcast?

HEMSING: I would love to take the episodes of podcast on TV – I think we could make a truly fantastic series!

DISCOVER PODS: What other podcasts are you listening to now?

HEMSING: I mostly listen to Norwegian podcasts mostly. In general, I like a big contrast to my artistic profession, so I enjoy listening to the very fact and analysis based podcasts, rather than comedy.

DISCOVER PODS: Anything else you’d like to add?

HEMSING: Subscribe to the podcast and I hope you will join me on the journey to the mystical North!

TAGS The Nordics Unveiled

Episode 7: Terje Isungset – When the coldness of ice resonates

In the new episode of the Nordics Unveiled, Eldbjørg Hemsing is joint by one of Europe’s most accomplished and innovative percussionists Terje Isungset. With over two decades of experience in jazz and Scandinavian music, Terje has already made a significant mark in pushing the musical boundaries far beyond tradition. His distinctive artistic works are exploring the interdisciplinary performances of sound and shamanistic rituals.

Crafting his own instruments from natural elements such as arctic birch, granite, slate, sheep bells and most remarkably the ice. Terje is highly recommended to those sensible to the poetry and simplicity of sounds, with ‘timbres’ and ‘colours’ being central in his music and compositions.
Media praises him as innovative, visual, energetic and different from any previously known concepts. Percussion Profiles publication has listed him among the 25 of the world’s most creative percussionists and he was also named the Norwegian Jazz musician of the year.

“It was years ago, when I was asked to do a concert in a frozen waterfall in Lillehammer. I thought what should we do, work against or with nature? So I decided to work with nature, went to location and started to collect stones, wood and since I was there in the winter I also checked the ice… When I head the sound of ice and saw it, I just simply fell in love and from then on, cannot stop it.“Terje Isungset, The Nordics Unveiled

First you need to harvest the ice, which is the most challenging part. But even before harvesting, it is crucial to know that the lake (where the ice will be harvested from) has sound – not every lake has the sound. If the ice is there, I can make instrument in between two to three days. Then we can make various types of horns, ice drums, iceophones that can be tuned.”
Terje Isungset, The Nordics Unveiled

If I go to perform in India, China or Japan, we always make the instruments there. Sometimes I bring a little box of ice also from Norway, because I have experienced, for example in Japan that it is difficult to find a well-sounding ice. I can of course always tune it, but the sound difference would effect the music because of the resonance. The range of sound is really big, from a completely death sound, to almost singing. The longest resonance I had with one instrument was 18 seconds.”
Terje Isungset, The Nordics Unveiled

More information about Terje Isungset and his music on the following link.

Episode 6: Hallgrim Hansegård – Movement from the North, heritage of dance

Hallgrim Hansegård has truly made a name with bringing the rich traditional folk dance ‘halling’ to the global audiences, both through live performances, TV productions and even video games. Known for his innovative and playful dance projects, Hallgrim is continuously breaking physical, psychological and cultural barriers. His projects had been performed in more than 30 countries and have reached over 100 million views on YouTube. Most interestingly, his performance has also been censored by Catholic Church in Italy. Hallgrim has in 2006 founded his own dance company FRIKAR, artistically leading a space where Norwegian traditional folk dance and other sub-cultures within dance community can experiment, develop and nurture the heritage by sharing it to the future generations.

In the Nordic countries we share a common heritage of social dances, with a lot of whirling in a couple formation. There is a common use of circle dances, but Halling is kind of different, almost a ‘Flamingo dance of the Nordics’. … I tend to disagree from the majority of dances who believe Halling is a male dance, as there is several written sources from 1700 about high-quality female dancers.”
Hallgrim Hansegård, The Nordics Unveiled

It is both interesting and strange that we have such big regional differences. Even in the mood with music and dance. In the Southern part of Norway they are known for a more dark mood, heaviness in the dance. And in Valdres, most of Hallings are pretty happy and light, and our Springar is the most leaning forward, which is really good for the trance dancing.”
Hallgrim Hansegård, The Nordics Unveiled

More information about Hallgrim Hansegård and his work with FRIKAR work on the following link.

Episode 5: Dr. Knut Ljøgodt – Nordic reflections in Fine Arts

Guest of the new episode of “The Nordics Unveiled” is renowned Norwegian art historian and curator Dr. Knut Ljøgodt. Previously working at the National Gallery in Oslo, as Director at the Northern Norway Art Museum in Tromsø and Founding Director of Kunsthall Svalbard, dr. Ljøgodt is today leading the Nordic Institute of Art, which he co-founded in 2017. His curatorial work has been praised both in the Nordics and internationally. As a leading scholar on Nordic and European 19th century art, including Romantic landscape painting and history painting, he is the perfect guest to unveil the mysteries of the Nordic of fine arts.

“We have many images of the North – what do we mean by the North, is it just generally the Nordic region (Norden) or individual Nordic countries. The Swedish national anthem has the line ‘Ja, jag vill leva, jag vill dö i Norden.’ or ‘I will live, I will die in the North’, but for the Swedes the North is Sweden. When we speak about the far North, or as we like to call it today the Arctic, above the Polar circle, Svalbard, Spitzbergen, North Pole, the image about Scandinavia and particularly Arctic has been seen as mystery, part of danger, dark place.”
Dr. Knut Ljøgodt, The Nordics Unveiled

“It is interesting to look at Nordic region as a whole, rather than as specific countries. Even though we know 19th century artists were striving to create the national identity, the culture of the region is so close that it makes more sense to be discussing it as a whole, rather than seeing it in national contexts. And at the same time the challenge of course is that most of the art, music or literature history is written from the national point of view.”
Dr. Knut Ljøgodt, The Nordics Unveiled

More information about dr. Knut Ljøgodt and his curatorial work on the following link. Eldbjørg Hemsing med ny podcast

Eldbjørg Hemsing violinist – Publisert 18. 11. 2020

Hva er typisk nordisk? Hva karakteriserer vår historie, utvikling og hvem er vi i dag? Disse spørsmålene stiller Eldbjørg Hemsing i sin nye podcast, The Nordics Uveiled, som lanseres i disse dager.

Hun tar sikte på å nå et internasjonalt publikum som for tiden er sulteforet på levende konserter, og inviterer dem til å legge ut på en reise nordover for å utforske temaer i nordisk mytologi, folkemusikk og samisk tradisjon, samt oppdage glemte nordiske verk innen musikk, filosofi, arkitektur og natur.

– Den såkalte «nordiske klangen» er sterkt inspirert av natur, stemninger og forskjeller, fra nordlys til høye fjell, dype daler og vann. «Lyrisk», «melankolsk» og «forsiktig optimisme» er ord som ofte brukes om det nordiske; det rene, enkle og pittoreske. Samtidig det modige og kraftfulle, som man forbinder med nordiske folkeeventyr – gjerne forbundet med varm humor. Mange av disse trekkene kan man finne igjen i andre kunstarter. Hvordan har historien formet oss og hva kan vi lære av hvordan vi er i dag? skriver Hemsing i sin presentasjon av podcasten.

De tre første episodene ligger allerede ute. Der presenteres Lasse Thoresen og hans bruk av folkemusikk, Mette Henriette med bruk av sin samiske arv og Ottar Kåsa som spiller «djevelens instrument» hardingfele. Hver episode har en kort skriftlig presentasjon, en spilleliste og lenker til aktuelle nettsteder for videre lytting.

Klassisk CD blogspot: Podcast: Unveiling Nordic (NO)

Klassisk CD BlogspotTrond Erikson , 16. november 2020

Fiolinisten Eldbjørg Hemsing har lansert podcasten The Nordics Unveiled, der hun ønsker å utforske temaene nordisk mytologi, folkemusikken, samisk tradisjon, oppdagelse av glemte verk innenfor musikken, filosofi, arkitektur og natur. Slikt blir det spennende lytting av.

Eldbjørg Hemsing har vokst opp i en bygd og et dalføre som har en rik folkemusikktradisjon som har påvirket og inspirert komponister som Grieg, Ole Bull og Halvorsen. Folkemusikken har vært en stor kilde til inspirasjon for mange komponister. Den nordiske lyden er også sterkt inspirert av naturen, stemninger og forandringer. Alt fra nordlyset, til dype fjell og daler, til vann. Den lyriske, melankolske og ofte forsiktige optimismen er et nøkkelord for å forklare hva som ofte kan karaktiseres som nordisk. Det rene, enkle og ofte billedlige. Samtidig som det er et mot og en pågangskraft som kan hentes fra nordiske eventyr, ofte med en lun humor. Mange av disse egenskapene vises også i andre sjangre enn musikk. Hvordan har historien formet oss og hva kan vi lære av hvem i er i dag?

Podcasten The Nordics Unveiled finner du her!

Episode 4: Maja S. K. Ratkje – Contemporary sound from the North

The bold and charismatic Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje is most definitely on the forefront, when it comes to the musical avant-garde, known for stark contrasts and a nuanced balances. She is celebrated and awarded with prizes both in Scandinavia and abroad, including the Edvard Prize and prestigious UNESCO Rostrum Award. 

The Nordic expression in music can be clear, often very strong and intimate. It’s probably not the right to say it in such way, but it is ‘very often to the point’. Even in making complex contemporary music, there is still a clear music expression. Arne Nordheim, probably the most famous Norwegian composer after Edvard Grieg, is the first name that comes to my mind, when people talk about Nordic music. And it is still full of warmth, directness and in some way comfort.”
Maja S. K. Ratkje, The Nordics Unveiled

We need to re-define what the Nordic identity is, as the world around is changing and we are becoming a bigger part of it. We need artistic reflections on what the rest of the world does to us and not only being nostalgic. We need the good art that lifts up the dark spaces and criticizes things that we too often take for granted. We need art that is beautiful in new ways and does not play only on clichés.”
Maja S. K. Ratkje, The Nordics Unveiled

More information about Maja S. K. Ratkje and her music on the following link.

Oppland Arbeiderblad: Eldbjørg Hemsing med podkast om det mystiske nordiske (NO)

Eldbjørg Hemsing - The Nordics Unveiled for Oppland Arbeiderblad

Frode Hermanrud – Oppland Arbeiderblad, 8. 11. 2020

Eldbjørg Hemsing med podkast om det mystiske nordiske: – Jeg ser på podkaster som lydbøker som har tatt et steg videre

Det såkalte nordiske uttrykket har blitt en sjanger både innenfor litteratur og musikk, men hva er egentlig typisk nordisk? I podkasten «The Nordics Unveiled» dykker Eldbjørg Hemsing ned i det nordiske kulturhavet med spennende gjester som kartlesere.

Det nordiske uttrykket beskrives ofte som lyrisk og melankolsk uten de helt store faktene. Dramatikken i naturen, nordlyset, den mørke vinteren er så langt unna blinkende neonlys man kan komme. Sagt på annen måte: Det er stor forskjell på interiøret i en Volvo og en Kia, og musikken til den finske samtidskomponisten Kaija Saariaho kan helt sikkert beskrives som litt av hvert, men neppe svulstig og pompøs.

Hjemme er best

Med 95 prosent av spillejobbene satt på vent, fant Eldbjørg Hemsing ut at hun måtte ha noe finne på mens hun gikk og klødde i fingrene hjemme i leiligheten i Oslo. For ja, verdensmusikeren har flyttet fra Berlin og bosatt seg en trivelig biltur unna hjembygda Aurdal, et trekk hun er glad hun gjorde for ett år siden.

Read full article here

Episode 3: Ottar Kåsa – “Instrument of the devil” Hardanger fiddle

Ottar Kåsa is renowned Hardanger fiddle player and violinmaker, praised for making first class instruments. After attending the prestigious Ole Bull Academy in Voss, he established his own workshop, continuing nurturing the expertise of craftmanship of Hardanger fiddle making and playing.

The oldest found Hardanger fiddle dates back to a year 1651, belonging to Ole Jonsen Jaastad (1621 – 1694), who lived in the village of Ullensvang in Hardanger. Frequently referred also as “the instrument of the Devil”. Hardanger fiddle throughout the centuries remained an important part of Norwegian social and cultural heritage.

In modern designs, Hardanger fiddle is very similar to violin, though with either 8 or 9 strings (rather than four as on a standard violin) and thinner wood. Four of the strings are strung and played like a violin, while the rest, aptly named understrings or sympathetic strings resonate under the influence of the other four.

The instrument is often highly decorated, with a carved animal (usually with a dragon or Lion of Norway), extensive inlay with the mother of pearl on tailpiece and fingerboard as well as the black ink decorations called “rosing” on the body of the instrument.

More information about Ottar Kåsa and the heritage of Hardanger fiddle on the following link.

Episode 2: Mette Henriette – Sami heritage in the modern Nordic sound

In the new episode of the Nordics Unveiled, Eldbjørg Hemsing is joint by the exceptional multi-faceted artist Mette Henriette. Norwegian Sami saxophonist, composer and performing artist has been captivating audiences and critiques around the globe – the youngest artist to be signed to the legendary label ECM, Mette’s debut album was also named the “Jazz Record of the year” (Independent).

Having both Norwegian and Sami roots, this diverse origin taught me a lot about the cultural perspective. In contrast to the Western cultures, indigenous people have nurtured the relationship to the nature in a different way. And here the landscape has profoundly shaped people’s emotional as well as their time perception.” Mette Henriette, The Nordics Unveiled

An artistic voice of today, Mette Henriette joins Eldbjørg Hemsing for a conversation about her inspiration and connection to the nature in the North, discovery of her Sami heritage and the Nordic sound.

I think all the impressions and experiences that we have and we share here in the North are unique. Nature is certainly one of the big shapers on how to interact with our surroundings. Just looking at the spectrum of emotions, in lightness and light or the darkness. Too frequently it is either negative or positive connotations, instead of being the beauty that can be explored through creative crafts and expression forms” Mette Henriette, The Nordics Unveiled

More information about Mette Henriette and her music on the following link.

Episode 1: Lasse Thoresen – Folk motives and the Nordic sound

Nordic sound is not easy to describe, when being part of the scene yourself (…) Perhaps there is not really a Nordic sound, but rather a Nordic rhythm. I perceive there is a different temporality in the music of Nordic countries, including Baltic. Lasse Thoresen, The Nordics Unveiled

More information about Lasse Thoresen and his music on the following link.

Welcome or Velkommen – Trailer

The lyrical, melancholic and often cautious optimists are a key words to explain what can often be characterized as Nordic. The clean, simple and often pictorial. At the same time, it is a courage and a force to be reckoned with, as can be drawn from Nordic fairy tales, often with a warm humor. Many of these features also appear in other artistic disciplines. How has history shaped us and what can we learn from who we are today?

Musical chairs: new Stradivaris for top violin soloists

The Strad – September 16, 2020

Eldbjørg Hemsing receives the 1707 ‘Rivaz, Baron Gutmann’ while Janine Jansen has the 1715 ‘Rode, Duke of Cambridge’

Two of the world’s leading female violinists have been granted the use of ‘golden period’ Stradivari violins. Norwegian soloist Eldbjørg Hemsing is now playing the 1707 ‘Rivaz, Baron Gutmann’ Stradivari violin, owned by the Dextra Musica foundation. Its most recent player, Janine Jansen, has been gifted the use of the 1715 ‘Rode, Duke of Cambridge’ Stradivari, courtesy of a European benefactor. ‘I want to thank Dextra Musica for having given me the fantastic opportunity to play on one of the finest Stradivari violins for these past years,’ said Jansen. ‘The velvety beauty, depth and richness of sound have been a true inspiration for me. I wish Eldbjørg Hemsing and the “Rivaz, Baron Gutmann” a wonderful journey together.’

‘Being part of the Dextra Musica family for over twelve years, I am thrilled and grateful to continue expanding this fruitful collaboration,’ said Hemsing. ‘Having the support of a foundation loaning me this incredible violin, one of the world’s finest, is truly a honour as well as a huge artistic inspiration. I am very much looking forward to continue building the artistic legacy of the instrument as well as inspiring audiences with its sound.’

To read the full article follow the link on the Strad

Eldbjørg Hemsing joining HarrisonParrott for General Management

Eldbjørg Hemsing is delighted to announce change in her General Management, joining the roster of HarrisonParrott for her global representation.

Read the full announcement by HarrisonParrott below:


A champion of Norway’s rich musical tradition, Eldbjørg Hemsing made a name for herself in her native country beginning with her solo debut with Bergen Philharmonic at the age of 11. Today she counts amongst the leading violinists of the younger generation.

In the 2020/21 season Eldbjørg performs with orchestras such as Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra and Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Highlights of past seasons include performances with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in the opening concert of the Bergen International Music Festival 2020 and with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Zürcher Kammerorchester, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover and Shanghai and Hong Kong Philharmonic orchestras. Offering a broad repertoire, Eldbjørg has a close connection to Tan Dun, having premiered and recorded his violin concerto Fire Ritual. A passionate chamber musician, recitals take Eldbjørg to Mozartwoche Salzburg, Dialoge Festival Salzburg, Musikwoche Bad Berleburg, and to her own Hemsing Festival amongst others.

In addition to her engagements as a soloist Eldbjørg is actively involved in many societal projects. As Artistic Director and mentor in the SPIRE programme she follows her passion in supporting young talents with their artistic and personal self-development in the classical music world.

Recording review: Klangspektakel (Magazin Klassik)

Kritik von Yvonne Rohling, 20.07.2020, Magazin Klassik

Die Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing kehrt auf ihrer neuesten Aufnahme zu ihren norwegischen Wurzeln zurück: Gemeinsam mit dem Pianisten Simon Trpceski spielt sie alle drei Violinsonaten von Edvard Grieg ein – und verzaubert.

Die Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing kehrt auf ihrer neuesten Aufnahme zu ihren norwegischen Wurzeln zurück: Gemeinsam mit dem Pianisten Simon Trpceski spielt sie alle drei Violinsonaten von Edvard Grieg ein – und verzaubert.

Die junge, norwegische Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing machte bereits mit ihrer vorherigen Einspielung auf sich aufmerksam. Auf ihrer Debüt-CD, die im Jahr 2018 erschien, brillierte sie nicht etwa, wie es der gute ‚Standard‘ von einem jungen, talentierten Künstler verlangt, mit einem der großen Violinkonzerte von Brahms, Beethoven oder gar Tschaikowsky. Erfrischenderweise wählte sie stattdessen die Violinkonzerte von Hjalmar Borgström und Dmitri Schostakowitsch. Es folgten weitere, ebenfalls von der Kritik gefeierte Aufnahmen (erschienen bei BIS). Ihre jüngste Aufnahme ist zugleich ihre erste kammermusikalische Einspielung: Mit dem Pianisten Simon Trpčeski spielt sie die drei Sonaten für Violine und Klavier von Edvard Grieg (1843-1907). Erschienen ist auch diese CD beim Label BIS.

Drei seiner besten Werke

Edvard Griegs drei Sonaten für Violine und Klavier haben eine regelrechte Nischenposition im Repertoire für diese Besetzung inne. Innerhalb Griegs Œuvre zeigen diese Sonaten die wesentlichen Etappen seiner künstlerischen Entwicklung: Emanzipation von der inspirierenden Nähe Schumanns, Anlehnung an die norwegische Volksmusiktradition sowie weiträumige Themen- und Zeitregie. Grieg selbst schrieb einst über seine Sonaten: ‚Die erste, naiv, reich an Vorbildern; die zweite national und die dritte mit dem weitesten Horizont.‘ Alle drei zählte er zu seinen besten Werken.

Eldbjørg Hemsing und Simon Trpčeski ziehen den Hörer von der ersten Minute an in ihren Bann. Mit ihrer unglaublichen Präsenz der Tongebung und ihrer variablen Klanggestaltung präsentiert sich Hemsing als stets kluge Interpretin, zeigt sich ausdrucksstark und musikalisch äußerst differenziert. Sie bedient mühelos die unterschiedlichen klanglichen Register ihres Instruments und agiert in den Nuancen sehr feinfühlig zwischen Sensibilität, Ausdruckskraft und Stärke. Simon Trpčeski ist ein hellwacher, reaktionsschneller Musikpartner, der sich zurückzunehmen weiß und sensibel auf Hemsings Spiel eingeht, jedoch an den richtigen Stellen auch Selbstbewusstsein an den Tag legt. Die beiden gestalten Phrasierung und Gewichtung ausgezeichnet und sind harmonisch aufeinander eingespielt.

Norwegischer Zauber

In der Sonate Nr. 1 in F-Dur, op. 8 zeichnen Hemsing und Trpčeski ein romantisch-lyrisches Stimmungsbild des ersten Satzes ‚Allegro con brio’. Dem mischt Hemsing eine geheimnisvolle Klangfarbe bei, die insbesondere in den leisen Passagen des Satzes zum Vorschein kommt. Trotz des geringeren Bogendruckes nimmt die Intensität ihres Tones nicht ab, sondern erzeugt eine schwerelose Leichtigkeit, die dem Satz außerordentlich gut zu Gesicht steht – beinah etwas Mystisches beleuchtet. Doch auch das prompte Umschwenken in einen zupackenden Gestus oder eine dynamische Steigerung gelingen, ohne zu beschweren. Hemsing und Trpčeski bilden damit nicht nur ein umfassendes Spektrum der Dynamik ab, sondern formulieren spannende (Klang-)Nuancen.

Ein ähnlicher Zauber geschieht im zweiten Satz ‚Allegretto quasi andantino‘: Die leise Melodie in Klavier und Violine ist nur ein Flüstern, das den Hörer noch genauer hinhören lässt, um ja nichts zu verpassen. Der tänzerische Reigen mit seinem volksliedhaften Charakter erklingt in einem herrlichen Kontrast hierzu. Ein weiterer Glanzpunkt der Einspielung ist das ‚Allegretto animato‘ der zweiten Sonate in G-Dur, op 13. Die fröhlichen Rhythmen und das folkloristische Kolorit gelingen dem Duo mit ansteckender Spielfreude und tänzerischem Flair. Beiden schaffen hingegen auch ein müheloses Umschalten in den nachdenklichen Tonfall des Satzes.

Kraftvoller Ton

Wie nicht anders zu erwarten: Das lodernde Feuer der dritten Sonate in c-moll, op. 45 wird von beiden Interpreten entflammt. Wie ein Wirbelsturm beginnt das ‚Allegro molto appassionato‘. Hemsing und Trpčeski spielen sich die einzelnen Phrasen mühelos zu und übernehmen den Gestus des anderen, ob wütend akzentuierter Abwärtslauf oder langsam erwachende Aufwärtsbewegung. Auch die höheren Lage der Geige klingen dabei niemals gequetscht oder gezwungen, sondern mit kraftvollem Ton mit Substanz.

Meisterlich gelingt es dem Duo, mit den verschiedenen Klangnuancen zu spielen und eine enorme Farbenvielfalt zu kreieren. Dabei sind sie nicht auf bloße Effekthascherei aus, sondern erarbeiten eine aufregende und durchdachte Interpretation. Der zweite Satz ‚Allegretto espressivo alla romanza‘ ist eine musikgewordene Träumerei. Trpčeskis weicher, lieblicher Anschlag lädt den Hörenden zum Verweilen ein – und lässt ihn nicht mehr los. Der Dialog der Instrumente entfaltet sich nahtlos, schwerelos und mit einem ausgezeichneten Spannungsbogen. Das Finale der dritten Sonate, ein ‚Allegro animato’, führt diese Grieg-Interpretation zu einem krönenden Abschluss.


Doch diese Einspielung hält ihr wahres Juwel bis zum Ende zurück: Einen sphärischen wie virtuosen Abschluss findet sie in der Eigenkomposition ‚Homecoming‘ von Eldbjørg Hemsing selbst. Es ist ihr erstes Werk für Violine solo und zelebriert das musikalische Erbe, wie sie selbst es wahrnimmt – und ist dabei sicherlich auch eine Hommage an den Landsmann Grieg, der dieselbe Melodie fast 150 Jahre früher in seiner großformatigen Ballade op. 24 erklingen ließ. Mit ruhigem, fließendem Ton stellt sich die Melodie vor, die sich zunehmende in immer virtuosere Klänge und die Mehrstimmigkeit variiert.

Fazit Hier liegt eine außergewöhnlichen Aufnahme der Grieg’schen Violinsonaten vor, die für gleich mehrere Entdeckungen sorgen kann: Zum einen für die Entdeckung des Sonatenkomponisten Grieg und für die Entdeckung einer jungen, fabelhaften Geigerin.





Recording review: Rheinische Post – Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing gilt als eines der größten Klassik-Talente (DE)

Von Wolfram GoertzRheinische Post, 28. 6. 2020

Oslo Anne-Sophie Mutters Erbin: Eldbjørg Hemsing aus Norwegen gilt als herausragendes Musikertalent. Auf ihrer neuen CD spielt sie die Sonaten ihres berühmten Landsmanns Edvard Grieg.

Die Welt schaut seit einigen Jahren gern nach Norwegen, weil das eher unscheinbar an die Westkünste Skandinaviens geflanschte, tief zerfurchte Land der Welt einen neuen König geschenkt hat. Es ist der Schachspieler Magnus Carlsen. Der gilt als Brüterich und unter Fans der Sportart als Boa, als Würgeschlange. Wer ihm gegenüber sitzt, erlebt bei mangelhafter Gegenwehr seine langsame Erdrosselung.

Eldbjørg Hemsing ist Norwegens neue Königin, ihr sieht man gern zu, sie hat nichts Kriegerisches, sie ist eine aparte junge Frau mit langen blonden Haaren, sie könnte in Oslo die Rechtsabteilung des Umweltministeriums leiten oder einen Bootsverleih in Trondheim. Doch sie ist Musikerin, sie spielt Geige, und weil das halt nicht so ganz ungewöhnlich ist, hat sie irgendein Troll aus der Marketing-Abteilung ihrer Plattenfirma BIS fürs Cover ihrer neuen CD in eine steinige norwegische Flechtenlandschaft gestellt. Zuvor hat er ihr einen Feen-Overall verpasst und ihr die Geige in die Hand gedrückt. Auf wen soll sie da warten? Auf Peer Gynt etwa, den Hallodri der nordischen Mythologie? Eher wartet sie auf Edvard Grieg, der irgendwie von den Toten aufersteht, Hemsing ernst in die Augen schaut und ergriffen sagt: „Von dir, mein Kind, habe ich mein ganzes Leben lang geträumt!“

In ihrer Heimat hat sie ein eigenes Festival

Kammermusik Gemeinsam mit ihrer Schwester Ragnhild, die ebenfalls Geigerin ist, hat Eldbjørg Hemsing im norwegischen Dorf Aurdal ein Kammermusik-Festival gegründet.

Neue CD Edvard Griegs drei Sonaten für Violine und Klavier (mit Simon Trpceski, Klavier) sind beim Label BIS erschienen.

Vermutlich ist sie Anne-Sophie Mutters ideale Erbin. Ihr Geigenspiel ist brennend ausdrucksvoll, wie eine Reizstrombehandlung, wie eine Nervenstimulation, nicht schmerzhaft, aber intensiv. Dieser Intensität gibt man sich umso lieber hin, als es sich bei der neuen CD um die drei Violinsonaten von Grieg handelt, hochromantische, virtuos ausladende, etwas versponnene Musik. Über die zweite Sonate geht die Legende, dass nach ihrer Premiere Griegs Kompositionslehrer, der Däne Niels Wilhelm Gade, tadelnd gesagt haben soll: „Nein, Grieg, die nächste Sonate müssen sie nicht so norwegisch machen!“ Darauf soll Grieg geantwortet haben: „Im Gegenteil, Herr Professor, die nächste wird noch schlimmer.“ Sie wurde aber kein Elfentanz, kein Gnomenreigen, sondern ein durch und durch europäisches Meisterwerk.

Das hört man aus Hemsings Interpretation herrlich heraus. Sie zeigt uns Grieg als weltgewandten Meister, der mit formalen Einfällen nicht geizt, gern durchs Unterholz der Harmonik streift, aber vor allem ein rassiger Melodiker ist. Hemsing spielt das wie mit glühenden Fäden, die den Himmel über der Musik zart erleuchten. Da muss Strom im Spiel sein! Gleichwohl zeigt sie nur selten ihre Muskeln, ihr Vibrato ist eher diskret; sie zersägt die Saiten nicht, sie vertraut darauf, dass der Ton ihrer Guadagnini-Geige auch ohne großen Bogendruck die Luft in Schwingung versetzt und nur im äußersten Fall durchschneidet. Es ist wie der Klang der Stille.

Das Auffallende ihres Spiels ist jedes Fehlen von Kalkül. Keine Sekunde verbreitet sie das Phänomen von Geiger-Raffinesse, von retortenhafter Emotion. Im Moment des Spielens scheint sie den allerersten Zugriff aufs Stück zu wagen, immer steckt ein Funke Risiko in ihrem Musizieren, eine latente Gefährdung. Doch an Absturz kein Gedanke, denn Hemsing besitzt ein gesundes Urvertrauen. Diesmal gilt es dem fabelhaften Pianisten Simon Trpceski, der kein Norweger, sondern ein Mazedonier ist. Aber er fühlt sich in der kühlen Luft den Nordens wohl. Er kennt den Weg. Beide atmen die geistige Freiheit, die ein gutes Duo immer auch besitzt: Einer kann sich auf den anderen in jeder Sekunde hundertprozentig verlassen.

Die Grieg-Platte ist ein neuerliches Dokument, das Eldbjørg Hemsing, 1990 im norwegischen Aurdal geboren, als Geigerin der Zukunft zeigt. Sie ist keine Spur kontaktscheu, sie hat das Violinkonzert des chinesischen Komponisten Tan Dun erstmals für die Platte eingespielt. Sie hat das wunderbar schmachtende Violinkonzert ihres Landsmanns Hjalmar Borgstrøm von jeder Schwerblütigkeit befreit und nebenbei das Schostakowitsch-Konzert als erfrischende Konzeptkunst umgedeutet (als Platte ebenfalls bei BIS).

Die Natürlichkeit ihres Spiels hat zweifellos mit ihrer Herkunft zu tun. Sie stammt aus einem winzigen Dorf nördlich von Oslo, fast abgeschieden von der Welt. Bereits mit zwei Jahren hatte sie erstmals eine Geige in der Hand, mit sechs gab sie ihr erstes öffentliches Konzert, mit elf verpflichtete sie das Symphonieorchester in Bergen für einen Soloauftritt. Fürs Studium ging sie nach Wien. Jetzt steht ihr die Welt offen. Doch ohne Norwegen geht es nicht. Ein hübsches Promo-Video zeigt sie als flinke Langläuferin auf Skiern, die in dichtem Schneetreiben mal eben Besorgungen macht.

Demnächst, in besseren Zeiten, besuchen wir dann auch mal ihr kleines feines Kammermusikfestival in Aurdal. Dort knarren die Stühle, wenn die Zuhörer zu unruhig sind. Passiert aber nicht, weil Eldbjørg Hemsing, die neue Königin der Geige, wirklich jeden in ihren Bann zieht.

Recording review: Music Web International on Grieg Sonatas

Richard Masters – Music Web International

For pieces that are not often heard in the concert hall, the violin sonatas of Edvard Grieg are well-served on disc. The third sonata is the best-known of the three; we have recordings from Fritz Kreisler, Toscha Seidel, Jascha Heifetz, and Josef Suk, among others. The abandonment of the sonatas by modern violinists is mystifying, particularly when hearing such persuasive performances as found on this disc.

The first, composed in 1865, is the least-played of the sonatas. This sonata is a more assured composition than the piano sonata (op. 7) written in the same year; harmonically, it is much more interesting, and the overall structure is less stilted. The op. 8 sonata seems to draw more inspiration from folk music than the other violin sonatas; Hemsing successfully imitates the twang of the Hardanger fiddle in the second movement, while Trpčeski doesn’t shy away from the rustic dissonances that Grieg would fully embrace in the much later Norwegian Folk Dances (Slåtter), op. 72. This sonata is a delightful discovery.

Hemsing and Trpčeski have nothing to fear from their storied competition in the other sonatas. The duo combines a sophisticated color palette with a wide dynamic range, and the results are stunning. Hemsing draws forth a husky, whispered timbre in more intimate moments, but is capable of exploding with the sort of concentrated tone that would do Heifetz proud. She is also not afraid to use a bit of old-school portamento; it is a wonderful effect, particularly in the climaxes of the third sonata. If only more modern violinists could be convinced to play with this sort of swing and joie de vivre! Trpčeski digs into the meaty chordal batteries with gusto, but also provides impressive clarity in softer, speedier fingerwork.

The final piece on the album is Hemsing’s own composition, a short set of variations for solo violin on a “folk tune from Valdres.” Piano buffs will recognize the tune used as the basis for Grieg’s “Ballade in the form of variations,” op. 24. The piece is conservative, and does not seem out of place alongside the sonatas.

In trying times, we have a responsibility to find joy wherever we can. Hemsing and Trpčeski provide that joy in spades with their vivacious, probing, and ultimately life-affirming performances.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Violin Sonata no. 1 in F Major, op. 8 [22:58]
Violin Sonata no. 2 in G major, op. 13 [20:27]
Violin Sonata no. 3 in C Minor, op. 45 [23:48]

Eldbjørg HEMSING (b. 1990)
Homecoming: Variations on a folk tune from Valdres [3:33]
Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin)
Simon Trpčeski (piano)
rec. 2018/19, Sandesaal, Bremen, Germany; Aurdal Church, Norway
BIS BIS2456SACD [72:30]

Live-streamed concert review: Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin) Sveinung Bjelland (piano)

By Tim HomfrayThe Strad

Tim Homfray watches a Facebook performance on 19 March from the comfort of his own armchair.

Watch the concert here (Facebook)

At the beginning of March London concerts started to be cancelled as the spread of coronavirus put paid to artists’ travels. By mid-month there would have been nowhere for them to play, as one after another the concert halls closed down. So we cast online and further afield, and instead of Wigmore Hall I sat in my study and listened to a short recital by violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing and pianist Sveinung Bjelland from Norway in what looked like a living room. And most entertaining it was too, once I’d spent five minutes mastering the necessary technology (not my strong point). There was one camera, one microphone, Hemsing gave charming introductions to each piece, and it all worked splendidly.

They opened with the Allegretto quasi Andantino second movement from Grieg’s F major Sonata op.8, plaintive and lively, and followed it with an affecting account of ‘Våren’ from his Two Elegiac Melodies op.34. Hemsing performed Ølstein Sommerfeldt’s Sonata Saxifraga, increasingly virtuosic and with many double-stops and left-hand pizzicatos, with verve and gentleness, after which a few people could be heard clapping – so she wasn’t playing to an empty room. After the ‘Méditation’ from Massenet’s Thaïs came a passionate account of the second movement of Grieg’s Third Sonata and finally a joyous performance of the opening movement of his second. I didn’t miss Wigmore Hall at all.


Recording feature: The Violin Channel – OUT NOW

The Violin ChannelOUT NOW | Violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing’s New CD: ‘Grieg Violin Sonatas’ [LISTEN]

BIS Records has announced the release of Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing‘s new album: ‘Grieg: The Violin Sonatas’

Recorded with pianist Simon Trpčeski, the disc features Grieg’s Violin Sonata No. 1 in F Major Op. 8, Violin Sonata No. 2 in G Major Op. 13, Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Minor Op. 45, and Eldbjørg’s original work, Homecoming‘ for Violin & Piano – based on traditional Norwegian folk tunes.

”Edvard Grieg is a name I have heard for as long as I can remember, and for me, his music is the sound of my childhood in many ways …” Eldbjørg has told The Violin Channel.

“I have always loved the purity and lyricism of Grieg’s music and to finally have the opportunity to record the three sonata works is for me both exciting, as well as a little intimidating – especially given how iconic they are …” she has said.

“I hope this CD will inspire listeners to explore the works of Edvard Grieg and of all the great Norwegian composers … our music is so wonderfully linked and inspired by our rich folk music heritage.

Grieg Violin Sonatas

Eldbjørg Hemsing: violin – Simon Trpčeski: piano

– Crescendo Magazine –

“La qualité sonore en est remarquable.”

10 out of 10

– NRK –

(Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation)

“It becomes more than clear that Eldbjørg Hemsing is the real thing.”

Recording review: Gramophone Magazine – Grieg

Richard Bratby, Gramophone Magazine – May 2020

Game of Tones? I know it’s not the done thing to comment on CD covers, but when an artist has made an effort to look strikingly, it surely deserves mention. Eldbjørg Hemsing stands in a brooding northern landscape, looking utterly commanding; an image which everything about this disc supports. Its’s not the only possible approach, by any means, but if you hear Grieg’s violin sonatas as wild, fantastic tales of adventure and romance from the distant north, these three magnificent performances should certainly hit the spot.

Hemsing and Simon Trpceski come hard on the heels of more homespun interpretations by Elene Urioste and Tom Poster, and to call them a powerhouse pairing is to do a grave injustice to the poetry, playfulness that are – on the whole – on a heroic scale. Typically, Trpceski creates a setting: opening vast spaces with the soft opening chords of the First Sonata, building grandiloquent climaxes or giving exactly the right springiness to a dance-finale. Hemsing takes the role of an adventurer in these sonic landscapes: combining a gleaming virtuoso panache with whispered, deep-toned confidence on the lower strings.

But they always play as a team. Listen to how they trade phrases at the opening of the finale of the Third Sonata, while Tpceski simultaneously maintains both a background tension and a sense of forward momentum. They’re impulsive too; if I have one reservation, it’s that their immersion in the musical moment occasionally makes Grieg’s sonata structures feel slightly episodic. But the passion and flair of these performances is ample recompense: pristine recorded sound and a fiery unaccompanied encore composed by Hemsing herself are the icing on the cake.

Grieg Three Violin Sonatas

Hemsing Homecoming

Eldbjørg Hemsing vn Simon Trpceski pf

BIS 2456

Grieg – selected comparison: Uriste, Poster

Radio feature: Deutschlandfunk – Tonart Klassik

‚Tonart Klassik‘ im Deutschlandfunk und Deutschlandfunk Kultur , Montag 11 Mai – Moderation: Philipp Quiring

Die Violinsonaten von Edvard Grieg stehen im Mittelpunkt der Sendung. Die drei Werke dokumentieren verschiedene Lebensphasen von Grieg, stehen für seine Studentenzeit in Leipzig, seine Eheschließung und nicht zuletzt für seine norwegische Heimat. Die Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing hat sie eingespielt. Sie spricht über die verschiedenen traditionellen Einflüsse. Den Halling-Tanz, bei dem die Männer mit akrobatischen Einlagen versuchen, die Frauen zu beeindrucken. Sie geht auf das wesentliche Instrument der norwegischen Volksmusik ein, die Hardangerfiedel, auf der unzählige Melodien gespielt wurden. Außerdem weiht sie die Hörer*Innen in das ein oder andere Märchen ein.

Programm anhören

Tonart Klassik, Deutschlandfunk KulturPhilipp Quiring

Eine echte Wiederentdeckung sind hingegen die Klaviersonaten des russischen Composer-Pianisten Samuil Feinberg. Der Zeitgenosse von Sergej Rachmaninow hat gerade in seinen frühen Jahren ebenfalls brachial virtuose Sonaten geschrieben, in denen sich immer wieder der harte Kontrast zu melancholisch elegischen Melodien findet. Der kanadische Pianist Marc-André Hamelin hat sechs dieser Sonaten von Feinberg bewältigt.

Recording review: Eldbjørg Hemsing hjem til Valdres med Grieg

Eldbjørg Hemsings spenstige og kraftfulle spillestil får Griegs fiolinsonater til å fremstå mer duggfriske enn noensinne.

Edvard Griegs tre fiolinsonater tilhører standardrepertoaret for fiolinister, og er noe av det fineste norsk musikkhistorie har å by på.

Ved siden av de «Lyriske stykkene» for klaver er sonatene den eneste verkkategori hvor man kan følge Griegs kunstneriske utvikling, fra den unge idealist i København (hvor Grieg skrev den første, bare 22 år gammel), til den siste store sonaten i c-moll, komponert av en verdensberømt kunstner som nå hadde vendt tilbake til sine hjemtrakter.

Prinsessen fra Nord

Eldbjørg Hemsings internasjonale karriere skjøt for alvor fart for tre år siden da hun undertegnet kontrakt med det svenske plateselskapet BIS. Røttene i folkemusikken og nærheten til hjembygda Aurdal har hele tiden vært en del av Hemsings varemerke, og tendensen til mytologisering når et nytt høydepunkt på dette albumet.

Med et coverbilde som burde appellere i Game of Thrones-segmentet (Hva? Har Daenerys Targaryen begynt å spille fiolin?) skulle budskapet være tydelig: denne dama sitter ikke på kaffebar mellom slagene. Kraften i spillet kommer fra naturen selv, slik den har formet Valdres-folk gjennom uminnelige tider.

Det er imidlertid gode grunner til å plassere nettopp Griegs fiolinsonater i spennet mellom myte og virkelighet, fantasi og realitet. Lengselen mot «det andre stedet» er gjennomgående i disse tre verkene: Grieg komponerer den mest nasjonalromantiske av sonatene (nr. 2) i Kristiania, og den mest internasjonale (nr. 3) på Troldhaugen.

Slik befinner Grieg seg i spennet mellom det norske eventyret og den strenge «tyske» satsteknikken han lærte ved konservatoriet i Leipzig, en syntese som riktignok aldri blir helt sømløs i Griegs komposisjoner i det store formatet.

Spenstige strøk

Det er når lyden strømmer ut av høyttalerne at det blir mer enn tydelig at Eldbjørg Hemsing er the real thing. Elementer fra folkemusikken (Hemsing er også en kløpper på hardingfele) er en integrert og naturlig del av hennes spillestil. Disse merkes i spensten i strøkene, de kvikksølvaktige ornamentene, den fleksible bruken av vibrato, den suverene rytmiske presisjonen i dobbeltstrøkene, og den usentimentale rett-på-sak-aktige innfallsvinkelen til Griegs duggfriske sonater.

Det er rett og slett en friskhet, vitalitet og nyanserikdom i spillet som jeg opplever som enormt tiltalende.

Pianist i toppklasse

Raffinert klangkunstner: Simon Trpčeski.
Foto: Benjamin Ealovega / KulturOp

Hemsings makker på albumet er Simon Trpčeski, opprinnelig fra Macedonia, og nå en av Europas mest etterspurte konsertpianister. Hans mer bohemaktige spillestil gjør det sannsynlig at han ikke var til stede da coverbildet ble tatt.

Trpčeski har lenge vært en av mine favoritter blant pianister i sin generasjon, og slår meg aller mest som en raffinert klangkunstner med et særegent blikk for detaljer. Hans behandling av klaverstemmen er simpelthen magisk – jeg kan ikke huske å ha hørt bedre pianospill i disse sonatene siden Maria João Pires tidlig på 90-tallet.

Trpčeskis musikalske personlighet er i utgangspunktet noe mindre spenstig og utadvendt enn Hemsings, og han bidrar derfor til å farge Griegs musikk i litt mer melankolsk retning. Dette understrekes av den utmerkede lydproduksjonen (sonatene er spilt inn i et radiostudio i Bremen, av alle steder), hvor den runde og mørke klaverklangen utgjør en fin og naturlig kontrast til Hemsings funklende og overtonerike buestrøk.

Hjem til slutt

Som et naturlig punktum avsluttes albumet med «Homecoming», som er Hemsings egne variasjoner for solofiolin over temaet Grieg bruker i sin Ballade i g-moll, Op. 24. Grieg fikk denne melodien (via Ludvig Mathias Lindeman) fra Hemsings tipptippoldefar, Anders Nielsen Pelesteinbakken. Som seg hør og bør er denne flotte fiolinminiatyren spilt inn i Aurdals korskirke fra 1737.

HOMECOMING: Hemsing avslutter med variasjoner for solofiolin over folkemelodien hennes tipptippoldefar sang, og som til slutt endte opp i Griegs berømte Ballade i g-moll.
Foto: Nikolaj Lund

Med klare referanser til 1800-tallsvirtuoser som Paganini skaper Hemsing sin egne forbindelse mellom hjemtraktene og den romantiske fiolintradisjonen. Slik kommer Grieg omsider til Aurdal, etter selv å ha brakt bygda ut til kontinentets fornemme salonger og konsertsaler gjennom sitt berømte klaverstykke.

Det ble ingen Spellemann på Eldbjørg Hemsing forrige helg. Hun var nominert for sitt forrige album med musikk av den kinesiske stjernekomponisten Tan Dun. Det sier noe om nivået på vinneren – Oslo filhamornien og dirigent Mariss Jansons innspilling av Gustav Mahlers Symfoni nr. 3 – for på sin siste plate står Hemsing frem som nettopp en fenomenal spellemann.

Recording review: Pizzicato – Dem Ansinnen von Grieg folgend

Rezension von Uwe Krusch – Pizzicato

Die drei Violinsonaten von Grieg sind schon eine Welt für sich. Einerseits hochgradig ausgefeilt komponierte Musik, machen sie doch immer wieder Platz für volksmusikalische Rhythmen und Melodien. Diese beiden Schichten, die auch generell ein Charakteristikum der Werke dieses Komponisten sind, lässt manche Hörer an der Werthaltigkeit dieses Œuvre zweifeln. Mit seinen drei Violinsonaten wollte Grieg der Welt zeigen, dass er auch große Formate beherrschte. Das ist ihm zumindest nach ungeteilter Meinung des Publikums gelungen.

Vielleicht geht Eldbjorg Hemsing deshalb in ihren Interpretationen den Weg, der die ausgereifte Seite der Kompositionen betont und dem Liedhaften und Tänzerischen nur den unbedingt nötigen Raum lässt. Trotzdem gelingt es ihr, Schwung und Temperament zu halten und den Schwung nicht untergehen zu lassen. Insgesamt gleicht sie mit ihrer instrumentalen Intensität derjenigen ihres Begleiters am Piano.

Ihr Begleiter aus Mazedonien, Simon Trpceski, verleiht seinem Klavierbeitrag eine kraftvoll klar strukturierte Seite, die der Partnerstimme aber trotzdem auch die Luft und mitunter die Ruhe lässt, sich ebenfalls zu entfalten. Zusammen zeigen sie diese Musik, in der Freude, Überschwang und auch Selbstbewusstsein verpackt sind, mit genau dem interpretatorischen Ansatz, der diese Merkmale betont.

Quasi als Zugabe trägt Hemsing als Solistin ihr selbst komponiertes Werk Homecoming vor, bei dem sie Variationen über ein ruhiges Volkslied aus Valdres, einer Region im südlichen Binnenland Norwegens mit Impetus gestaltet.

The Grieg violin sonatas are very special. They are highly sophisticated, yet always leave room for implements from the folk music. With these sonatas, Grieg wanted to show the world that he also mastered large formats. Perhaps this is why Eldbjørg Hemsing’s interpretations emphasize the mature side of the compositions and leave only the absolutely necessary space for song and dance. Nevertheless, she manages to keep up the momentum and temperament. Her instrumental intensity resembles that of her companion on the piano, Simon Trpceski, whose playing is powerful and clearly structured, yet allows the violin to run smoothly. Hemsing, as a soloist, plays her own work Homecoming, in which she creates variations on a quiet folk song from Valdres, a region in Norway.

Edvard Grieg: Sonaten für Violine und Klavier, Eldbjorg Hemsing: Homecoming; Eldbjorg Hemsing, Violine, Simon Trpceski, Klavier; 1 SACD BIS 2456; Aufnahmen 12/2018, 03+09/2019, Veröffentlichung 03/2020 (72’30)

Recording review: Crescendo Magazine BE

Deux nouvelles visions des sonates pour violon et piano de Grieg

Le 13 avril 2020 par Jean Lacroix – Crescendo Magazine





Le hasard des parutions discographiques met en présence deux nouveautés qui proposent chacune une intégrale des trois sonates pour violon et piano de Grieg, dont l’une des particularités est d’avoir été créées toutes les trois par le compositeur au piano. La première, en fa majeur, a été composée au cours de l’été 1865 lors d’un séjour de Grieg au Danemark, dans la station balnéaire de Rungsted, proche de Copenhague. La première eut lieu dès le mois de novembre, avec un violoniste suédois, Anders Petterson. Un autre compositeur, Johann Svendsen, lui aussi violoniste, la fit connaître en France en 1870, avec au piano non moins que Camille Saint-Saëns. Le même Svendsen est le dédicataire de la Sonate n° 2 de 1867, créée à l’automne avec le violoniste Gudbrand Böhn. Près de vingt ans plus tard, Grieg écrivait la Sonate n° 3, à l’automne de 1886. La première audition eut lieu à la fin de l’année suivante, à Leipzig, avec le violoniste russe Adolph Brodsky. D’essence romantique, ces trois partitions, qui connaissent toujours le succès auprès du public en raison de leurs qualités mélodiques, sont prisées par les interprètes. Grieg lui-même éprouvait à leur égard une prédilection, estimant, dans une lettre de 1900 reproduite partiellement dans la belle notice signée par Arnulf Christian Mattes, que « la première est naïve, la seconde d’inspiration nationale et la troisième ouvre de nouveaux horizons ». Certains y ont vu des jalons correspondant à la progression de la vie : « du printemps (jeune et curieux), à l’été (mature et sûr de lui) puis à l’automne (mélancolique et réfléchi ».

Comment les interprètes du jour abordent-ils ces sonates ? Le premier duo joue la carte du grand romantisme dans une conception globale passionnée et engagée, superbement construite et dans un climat où l’expressivité se donne un généreux libre cours. Au violon, la Norvégienne Eldbjørg Hemsing, née en 1990. Elle a fait ses débuts avec orchestre dès ses onze ans, a remporté des concours internationaux, s’est perfectionnée à Vienne. Avec le compositeur et chef chinois Tan Dun, né en 1957, elle a beaucoup collaboré en Europe et en Asie, jusqu’à la gravure d’un CD consacré à plusieurs de ses œuvres. Mais elle a aussi enregistré Shostakovitch, Dvorak, Suk ou son compatriote Hjalmar Borgström (1864-1925). Son partenaire, le pianiste macédonien Simon Trpčeski, né en 1979, s’est formé à Skopje et est lui aussi titulaire de récompenses internationales. Il a enregistré plusieurs CD, dont un Rachmaninov, fort bien accueilli. Ceux qui ont eu l’occasion de l’entendre et de le voir sur scène savent que cet artiste de grand talent a aussi un côté que certains définissent comme « exhibitionniste », mais que nous qualifierons plutôt de démonstratif et de charismatique (la notice utilise d’ailleurs ce dernier mot pour le définir). Ce côté extérieur est ici gommé par un sens de l’écoute particulièrement aigu de sa partenaire. L’osmose est si adéquate dans chacune des sonates qu’elle entraîne chez l’auditeur une réelle participation émotionnelle aux aspects mosaïques de la première sonate, avec notamment, dans le second mouvement, cet écho imitatif d’un violon norvégien typique, le Hardanger, dont les caractéristiques structurelles permettent d’allonger le son. La deuxième sonate, qui date de l’époque où Grieg était investi dans le projet de mise en évidence de la culture nationale, se révèle pleine de couleurs sombres, avec des thèmes élégiaques ou robustes que les deux complices soulignent avec fraîcheur et enthousiasme. Dans la troisième sonate, dont Arthur Grumiaux a laissé une référence historique avec Gyorgi Sebök chez Philips, on sent la pleine maturité du compositeur et son art de faire chanter le violon qu’Eldbjørg Hemsing fait vibrer dans un mélange de délicatesse, d’allure dansée et de passion fougueuse. L’intensité rythmique de l’Allegro animato final est irrésistible, scandé par un piano aux accents à la fois tragiques et fusionnels. En complément, la violoniste, qui joue sur un Guadagnini de 1754 à la sonorité frémissante, interprète une pièce qu’elle a composée elle-même en 2019 sur des thèmes de sa cité natale, Valdres, située dans la région de l’Oppland, entre Oslo et Bergen. Ce morceau d’un peu plus de trois minutes met l’accent avec ferveur sur l’émotion éprouvée lors du retour au foyer. Ces sonates ont été enregistrées en décembre 2018 et mars 2019, la page d’Hemsing en septembre 2019. La qualité sonore en est remarquable. 

Le second CD, paru chez Orchid Classics, réunit la jeune violoniste américaine Elena Urioste au pianiste anglais Tom Poster. Elena Urioste s’est formée au Curtis Institute et à la Juilliard School et possède plusieurs cordes à son arc : grande amoureuse de la nature, elle est aussi écrivaine. Tom Poster, né en 1981, a étudié à Cambridge et a enregistré des disques pour Chandos ou EMI (un beau programme Thomas Adès). Ensemble, ces deux artistes ont publié chez BIS un disque intitulé « Estrellita », qui regroupe des arrangements de pièces de Gluck, Auer, Kreisler, Zimbalist, Elgar… effectués par Poster. Leur version des sonates de Grieg diffère de celle de Hemsing/Trpceski par une atmosphère plus centrée sur l’intimisme et l’intériorité, sans négliger, surtout dans le chef de Poster qui est un chambriste de qualité, les élans requis avec lesquels il entraîne souvent sa partenaire. Celle-ci, qui joue sur un Gagliano de 1706, apparaît souvent comme plus en retrait que Hemsing. Ici, la flamboyance est bridée, l’accent est mis sur une pudeur résiduelle qui se contrôle. Des différences de tempo, parfois contradictoires, soulignent la différence de visions, surtout dans les deux premiers mouvements des deux premières sonates. Hemsing empoigne la partition, alors qu’Urioste la peaufine de manière plus dolente. La Sonate n° 3 se perd souvent dans une recherche du beau son, pas toujours aboutie, et surtout sans l’investissement émotionnel suffisant. La prise de son, effectuée en septembre 2017 à Monmouth, au Pays de Galles, est moins valorisante que chez BIS : elle confère parfois au dialogue des deux partenaires une sensation floue, mais celle-ci réside aussi dans leur approche moins creusée. Elle se prolonge dans les deux compléments choisis, des arrangements alanguis et cotonneux. L’intitulé de ce CD Orchid Classics est adressé « Au Printemps ». Il aurait mieux convenu au CD BIS.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) : Sonates pour violon et piano n° 1 op. 8, n°2 op. 13 et n° 3 op. 45 ; Eldbjorg HEMSING (1990) : Variations sur un thème populaire de Valdres pour violon seul. Eldbjørg Hemsing,violon ; Simon Trpčeski, piano. 2019. Livret en anglais, en norvégien, en allemand et en français. 72.30. BIS-2456

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) : Sonates pour violon et piano n°1 op. 8, n°2 op. 13 et n° 3 op. 45 ; Dernier printemps, op. 33 n° 2, mélodie, arrangement pour violon et piano ; Au printemps, op. 43 n° 5, extrait des Pièces lyriques, arrangement pour violon et piano. Elena Urioste, violon ; Tom Poster, piano. 2020. Livret en anglais. 76.49. Orchid Classics ORC100126.

Radio features: WFMT with Grieg violin sonatas

New Releases with Lisa Flynn, April 3rd 2020

Following acclaimed recordings of concertos by Tan Dun and Josef Suk, the Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing returns to her roots in this Grieg recital, joined by Simon Trpceski at the piano. Each of Edvard Grieg’s three violin sonatas marks a decisive phase in the composer’s artistic development. Closing the disc, Hemsing plays her own composition Homecoming. It’s a set of variations on a tune from the valley where she grew up, as well as a friendly nod to Grieg, who used the same tune almost 150 years earlier in his Ballade, Op. 24.

ARTE Concert – Stars von morgen@Home

Junge Künstler, die in Rolando Villazóns ARTE-Sendereihe „Stars von morgen“ ihren ersten großen TV-Auftritt hatten und die sich inzwischen in der internationalen Klassikszene einen Namen gemacht haben, spielen und singen in ihrem „Guten Stube“, im Kinderzimmer mit Krabbelbaby, vor Stapeln von Umzugskartons oder auch im indonesischen Hotelzimmer.

View full broadcast here

Louise Alder stammt aus einer Musikerfamilie. Als Kind tanzte sie und lernte Geige – glücklicherweise hat sie dann aber auf Sopran umgesattelt. 2017 war ein wichtiges Jahr in ihrer Karriere: Preise bei den International Opera Awards, bei BBC Cardiff Singer of the World – und der Auftritt bei den „Stars von morgen“. Die Kritiker rund um den Globus schwärmen vom „leuchtendsten Sopran der jüngeren Generation“, von der „geborenen Darstellerin“ und ihrer Stimme von „strahlender Schönheit“.

Als Sohn eines Fagottisten ist Riccardo Terzo mit dem Instrument groß geworden. Heute etabliert er das Fagott erfolgreich als Soloinstrument auf Konzertbühnen wie den Salzburger Festspielen. 2017 konnte sich Riccardo Terzo freuen: Er gewann den wichtigsten Fagottwettbewerb der Welt in den USA. Seitdem stehen Studierende und Profis Schlange für seine Meisterklassen. 2017 freute sich das Gewandhausorchester Leipzig: Sie konnten Riccardo Terzo als Ersten Solofagottisten gewinnen.

Ihre Heimat Norwegen und deren Natur prägen ihr Geigenspiel, das oft als unprätentiös, kraftvoll und fassbar beschrieben wird. Eldbjørg Hemsing hatte ihren ersten öffentlichen Auftritt mit 6 Jahren – mit 22 wurde sie international bekannt, als sie bei der Verleihung des Friedensnobelpreises spielte. Heute gibt sie weltweit Konzerte und nimmt dabei gerne Musik norwegischer Komponisten in ihr Programm auf.

Der amerikanische Countertenor Ray Chenez fasziniert mit seiner Stimme: einer seltenen Kombination aus Schönheit, Kraft und Flexibilität. Opera Britannia bescheinigt ihm eine “dramatische Sopranstimme, die vor Potenzial strotzt”. Er fesselt sein Publikum mit seinem enormen Stimmumfang, der ihn sowohl männliche als auch weibliche Rollen verkörpern lässt. Ray wird in einer der noch nicht ausgestrahlten Folgen von „Stars von morgen – On Tour“ von Rolando Villazón vorgestellt werden.

Marie Hauzel spielt seit ihrem vierten Lebensjahr Klavier. Bereits mit 15 Jahren wurde sie als jüngste Bachelor-Studentin an der Universität Mozarteum Salzburg aufgenommen. Neben vielen Preisen bei nationalen und internationalen Wettbewerben hatte sie 2014 als 14-Jährige den 1. Preis im Bundeswettbewerb „Jugend musiziert“ gewonnen. Konzerte führten sie schon in jungen Jahren bis nach China und die USA. Bei Rolando Villazón durfte die damals 17-Jährige 2017 ihr Riesentalent beweisen.

Klarinettist Raphael Sévère ist die lebendige Definition des Begriffs „Wunderkind“: Mit acht Jahren fing er am Konservatorium von Nantes mit der Klarinette an – Geige, Cello und Klavier spielte er auch schon. Nach ersten internationalen Auftritten und Preisen schließt er mit 19 Jahren am Pariser Konservatorium sein Studium ab. 2016 schuf Raphael Sévère mit „Obscurs“ sein erstes Stück als Komponist. Gerade frisch entstanden ist eine Auftragskomposition für das Orchestre de Bretagne: ein Konzert für Klarinette und Orchester.

Andrei Bondarenko sang schon mit 20 Jahren als Solist an der Mariinsky Akademie in St. Petersburg. 2011 gewann er den „Song Prize“ beim Cardiff Singer of the World, zwei Jahre später war er zu Gast bei Rolando Villazón. Seitdem ist der ukrainische Bariton auf allen großen Bühnen der Welt zu Hause, für die laufende Spielzeit stehen die Opernhäuser von Wien und Luzern ebenso auf dem Plan wie sein Debüt am Royal Opera House London.

„Der Klang des Violoncellos zieht mich magisch an. Da ist ein Lodern in mir, da brennt ein Feuer.“  Mit dieser Begeisterung steckte Valentin Radutiu 2017 auch sein Publikum bei den „Stars von morgen“ an und bestätigte, was die „Süddeutsche Zeitung“ schon 2013 über ihn schrieb: „Eine der großen Cellobegabungen unserer Zeit“. Seit 2019 ist Valentin Radutiu Erster Solocellist beim Deutschen Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.

Als Katharina Konradi bei den „Stars von morgen“ auftrat, wechselte sie gerade vom Staatstheater Wiesbaden an die Hamburgische Staatsoper, wo sie mittlerweile ein Publikumsliebling ist. Im Sommer 2019 gab sie zudem ihr Debüt bei den Bayreuther Festspielen. Eine steile Karriere der jungen, aus Kirgisistan stammenden Sopranistin, die neben der Oper auch leidenschaftlich gerne Lieder singt.

Die niederländischen Pianisten Lucas und Arthur Jussen galten als Wunderkinder, dabei wollten sie nur eins: gemeinsam Musik machen. Jeder der beiden Brüder für sich spielt schon brillant, aber zusammen bilden sie eine perfekte Einheit an den Tasten. Dabei spielt es keine Rolle, ob sie vor Königin Beatrix oder in den eigenen vier Wänden spielen. Sie sind Weltklasse und repräsentieren gleichzeitig die junge, unkomplizierte Musikergeneration.

„First Baroque Boygroup“ oder „Barock-Band“ – mit solchen Attributen werden die jungen Musiker von 4 Times Baroque gerne versehen. Und tatsächlich hat die sogenannte „Alte Musik“ bei ihnen richtig „Drive“, klingt frisch, frech und lebendig. Dafür gab es neben vielen anderen Auszeichnungen 2018 auch einen OPUS KLASSIK. In ihrem Video für „Stars von morgen@home“ treten sie wegen der aktuellen Lage in kleinerer Besetzung auf, dafür mit der Sopranistin Sibylla Elsing.

Die Pianistin Claire Huangci gewann 2011 als jüngste Teilnehmerin den 2. Preis beim Internationalen ARD Musikwettbewerb, vier Jahre später hatte sie ihren Auftritt bei „Stars von morgen“. Für ihr Video hat sie ein Stück ausgesucht, das sie für die aktuelle Situation besonders passend fand, den letzten Satz von Liszts Klavierbearbeitung der „Pastorale“: „Hirtengesang. Frohe und dankbare Gefühle nach dem Sturm“.

Radio Feature: BBC Radio 3 – Record Review

Andrew McGregor -Record Review

Bach’s Violin Concerto in E in Building a Library with Mark Lowther and Andrew McGregor

New classical releases, including Harriet Smith on chamber music, and in Building a Library, Mark Lowther recommends a recording of Bach’s Violin Concerto in E, BWV1042. Program presented by Andrew McGregor.

Listen to the full program

Building a Library
Another chance to hear Mark Lowther discussing the available recordings of Bach’s Violin Concerto in E major, BWV 1042 and making a recommendation.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s E major Concerto is one of the evergreen concertos of the violin repertoire, its three movements and based on the Venetian concerto model made famous by Vivaldi.

Harriet Smith has been listening to recent chamber music recordings.

Record of the Week
Andrew recommends an outstanding new release.

Grieg: The Violin Sonatas

Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin)

Simon Trpčeski (piano)

BIS BIS-2456 (SACD Hybrid)

Recording Review: Rondo Magazin

Matthias Siehler, RONDO – Das Klassik & Jazz Magazin – 28.03.2020

BIS Records/ Klassikcenter Kassel BISSACD-2456
(72 Min., 12/2018, 03 & 09/2019)

Sie greift kraftvoll zu, sie klingt rau, kompakt, fassbar. Der Geigenton der jungen Norwegerin Eldbjørg Hemsing atmet nichts Leichtgewichtiges, Esoterisches, Anämisches. Diese Künstlerin hat einen Willen und eine Vorstellung, sie möchte wissen, dabei aber ebenso sich verströmen, kommunizieren, mitteilen. Es liegt etwas Drängendes, Aufgestautes in diesem Spiel, das spannungsvoll rausmöchte. Und das den melodiezarten, temperamentvollen, aber auch gern als Salonmusik geschmähten drei Violinsonaten ihres berühmten Landsmanns Edvard Grieg konsequent alles Säuselige, nebenbei Gesungene nimmt. Eldbjørg Hemsing geht diese Musik vehement und direkt an. Das verdichtet sich zu einem quellklaren, wunderfeinen, strukturhellen Parcours durch Musik, die in den ersten beiden Sonaten, die nur zwei Jahre auseinanderliegen, ungestüm und naturhaft klingt; erst in der späteren 3. Sonate von 1886 tönt es etwas abgeklärter. So mündet das dann folgerichtig in einer kurzen, solistisch vorgetragenen Eigenkomposition der 30-Jährigen: „Homecoming“, Variationen nach einem Volkslied aus Valdres, nimmt diesen scheinbar folkloristisch warmen, aber eben doch künstlerisch erfundenen, spätromantisch intensiven Grieg-Tonfall auf und gibt ihm einen modernen Anstrich. Simon Trpčeski, sonst als Solist unterwegs, lässt sich hier nicht unterkriegen, ist deutlich Partner auf Augenhöhe, der eigene Farben beisteuert, teilweise auch massiv die Marschrichtung vorgibt. Aber er kann durchaus Eldbjørg Hemsing den Vortritt lassen, denn beide sind sich in Temperatur und Intensität ebenbürtig. Ein toller Grieg-Parcours – der Landschaftlichkeit wie Leidenschaftlichkeit.

English version below

She seizes powerfully, she sounds rough, compact, tangible. The violin tone of the young Norwegian Eldbjørg Hemsing breathes nothing light, esoteric, anemic. This artist has a will and an imagination, she wants to know, but at the same time she also wants to exude, communicate and share. There is something urgent, something accumulated in this game, which needs to come out. And which consistently takes everything that is cute and song-like away from the melodious, spirited three violin sonatas by her famous compatriot Edvard Grieg, often disparaged as salon music. Eldbjørg Hemsing approaches this music vehemently and directly. This condenses into a clear, wonderfully fine, structurally bright course through music that sounds impetuous and natural in the first two sonatas, which are only two years apart; only in the later 3rd sonata from 1886 does it sound somewhat more serene. This then consequently leads to a short composition of the 30-year-old’s own, performed as a soloist: “Homecoming”, variations on a folk song from Valdres, takes up this apparently folkloristically warm, yet artistically invented, late-romantic, intense Grieg tone and gives it a modern touch. Simon Trpčeski, otherwise a soloist on the road, doesn’t let himself get pushed to the side here, is clearly a partner at eye level, contributing his own colours, sometimes massively setting the direction of the march. But he can certainly give way to Eldbjørg Hemsing, because both are equal in temperature and intensity. A great Grieg patcours – of landscape and passion.

Klassisk Karantene: Nordic Classics – Eldbjørg Hemsing on Borgströms Violin Concerto

Klassisk Karantene, Inspiration – March 29th 2020

As Quarantine time is a perfect time to expand your repertoire, Quarantine Classics provides a series of musicians sharing their favorite Nordic gems. Violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing is on something of a mission in bringing Borgström’s music back to life.

A few years ago, I was introduced to the music of Hjalmar Borgström, a name I was not previously familiar with, and I was very surprised to learn that he had been famous as both a composer and critic in Norway at the beginning of the 20th century. 

Born in Kristiania in 1864, Hjalmar Borgström played both piano and violin from an early age. He studied composition with Johan Svendsen (1881-83) and with Ludvig M. Lindeman (1883-87). After that, like many Nordic composers in preceding generations, Borgström went to Germany to study and spent some years at the Leipzig conservatory. However, in contrast to Grieg who returned from Germany firmly resolved to carve out an authentic, Norwegian idiom, Borgström came back a staunch proponent of new German symphonic music. His Violin Concerto in G major was first performed in 1914 as part of a celebration of the centenary of the Norwegian constitution.

When opening the score of his first violin concerto for the first time I was immediately intrigued. This concerto is incredibly beautiful, full of Norwegian Nationalist sentiment so typical of its time but also worthy of international attention. It reminds me of where I come from – the rugged landscape of Valdres and Jotunheimen, where the surrounding mountains rise dramatically over the valleys – and the music makes me yearn for my roots. At the same time, the concerto is very technically demanding and Borgström clearly knew how to compose for a virtuoso violinist. The first movement has a bit of an unusual form, there are many fragments and hints of Norwegian roots without going too deep into it. A bit into the movement comes the theme which has one of the most beautiful moment; completely pure in harmony and expression, making the dialogue between the cellos and solo part shimmer. The second movement is as if taken out of a Wagner-opera; the violin sounds like a soprano and is given a big palate of colors to paint with. The third movement is the most Norwegian-sounding with a bit of a “Halling”-feel in rhythm. It is the most virtuoso part of the whole concerto and gives the violinist a big challenge to make it sound effortless. The ending of the concerto is as unusual as the format; it ends in peaceful quietness and gives the audience a chance to breathe out after 32 mins of music.

After many years of composing, Borgström became a music critic and was very respected and feared for his sharp pen. It is said about him he was a humble servant of the art and always listening within to music. But there was a lot of fire and passion in his music, a constant fight of unsolved thoughts and questions as well as a bitterness and soreness. His compositions calls upon reflection and a quest to look into the deepest of ones´s soul. The music´s ability to express thoughts was something Borgstöm firmly believed in. 

After Borgström’s death in 1925 the concerto was completely forgotten and today I am on something of a mission to help do my part in bringing this composer’s music back to life. Being able to record it with the Wiener Symphoniker / Vienna Symphony Orchestra was a fantastic opportunity I am so grateful for. My big wish is that many people will play this concerto and continue to bring life to Borgström´s music.

Listen to the recording with Eldbjørg Hemsing and Wiener Symphoniker

Sheet music of Hjalmar Borgström: Violinkonsert i G-dur

Briefly about Eldbjørg Hemsing

A champion of Norway’s rich musical tradition, Eldbjørg Hemsing has been a household name inher native country since childhood and made her solo debut with the Bergen Philharmonic at the age of 11. After winning various international competitions and prizes at the age of 18 her desire was to continue intensive studies with Boris Kuschnir in Vienna, during which time she fine-tuned her performance-style and absorbed a wide-range of repertoire ranging from Bach, Beethoven, Bartok to Tan Dun. Together with Tan Dun she has collaborated on numerous projects in both Europe and Asia and has most recently premiered and recorded composer’s new violin concerto “Fire Ritual – A Musical Ritual for Victims of Wars”, together with the Oslo Philharmonic.

Her upcoming engagements in the 2019 / 20 season include her début with the Argovia Philharmonic, Orchestra TON at Lincoln Center NY, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Slovene Philharmonic, as well as the re-engagements with orchestras in Europe and Asia. Eldbjørg Hemsing will furthermore perform the Chinese, Swiss, Canadian and German premiere of the forgotten Borgström violin concerto. With recitals Eldbjørg Hemsing also makes her debut in the prestigious ElbPhilharmonie Hamburg as well as at the Dresdner Festspiele and Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg. Eldbjørg Hemsing plays a 1754 G. B. Guadagnini violin on kind loan from the Dextra Musica Foundation.

Recording Review: Klassisk Musikk – The Grieg Violin Sonatas

Klassisk Musikk, Publisert: 23.03.2020

Griegs fiolinsonater er godt opptråkket terreng, men det er alltid rom for en innspilling som er så god som denne. Hemsing og Trpčeski foretrekker raske tempi, og tolkningene deres er fulle av energi og fremdrift, uten at det går på bekostning av klarhet. Hemsing synes også å være gjennomgående oppmerksom på fargespekteret hun produserer, og spillet har enkelte ganger en litt hes kvalitet, som ved en begynnende forkjølelse – noe som selvsagt også peker på opprinnelsen til mye av dette materialet der ute blant nordmennene. Én innvending har jeg: Hvem råder musikere når det gjelder promo-bilder? Innsiden av BIS’ «ecopak» (det betyr papp, ikke plast) viser Hemsing som stirrer inn i kamera med buen i hånden – mens hun spiller på en usynlig fiolin! Det ser tåpelig ut, og verre – det ser falsk ut, og er det. Hemsing kompenserer med krem på kaken i form av sin egen Homecoming (2019) for solo fiolin. Det er et kort (tre og et halvt minutt) variasjonssett, quasi improvvisando, over en melodi du kommer til å gjenkjenne som hovedtemaet i Griegs Ballade for klaver, op. 24. Hemsings forord i CD-heftet (som bare foreligger på engelsk) tilføyer litt informasjon som ingen av oss kunne ha visst om: «I 1848 stoppet Ludvig Matthias Lindeman […] i min hjembygd Valdres. Der møtte han min tipp-tippoldefar Anders Nielsen Pelsteinbakken, som sang melodien for ham. Lindeman noterte ned melodien og Grieg fant den senere i Lindemans folkemusikksamling.» Slik fant den veien inn i op. 24, og derav tittelen Homecoming. Hemsing forteller videre at dette er «mitt aller første stykke for solo fiolin». Hun bør fortsette – hun vet åpenbart hva hun driver med: det klinger som Paganini i fjordene. Her har jeg faktisk en idé til henne: et sett med 24 kapriser for solo fiolin over norske folkemelodier – det gjenstår bare 23!

Grieg Sonater for fiolin: nr. 1 i F-dur, op. 8;

nr. 2 i G-dur, op. 13;

nr. 3 i c-moll. op. 45;

Hemsing Homecoming
Eldbjørg Hemsing (fiolin), Simon Trpčeski (klaver)
BIS2456 (72 minutter)

Recording review: The Classic Review

Azusa Ueno – The Classic Review March 24, 2020

There is a large gap between Grieg’s first 2 Violin Sonatas and the Third, written 20 years later. Composed when Grieg was 22 (1865), the First Sonata is idyllic and optimistic, and we see him trying to reconcile classical form with unique and nationalist language. Hemsing and Trpčeski present a fine performance with a narrative character: the music takes a descriptive, almost visual quality, thanks to their striking musicality. The pianist’s first movement opening consists of only two chords, but in that short span he is able to create a real sense of mystery. The violinist opens just as imaginatively, with her energetic, almost breathless playing that reflects the youthfulness of the writing.

Full review section is available on The Classic Review

Grieg – Complete Violin Sonatas (1-3)
Hemsing – Homecoming (2019)
Eldbjørg Hemsing – Violin
Simon Trpčeski – Piano
BIS Records, Hybrid SACD BIS-2456

Recording review: Magiske tolkninger – Den Klassiske CD Bloggen (NO)

6 av 6

Trond Erikson – Den Klassiske CD Bloggen

Igjen er det bare å sette seg ned å applaudere. Eldbjørg Hemsing har denne gangen tatt for seg fiolinsonatene til Edvard Grieg (1843-1907). Og i musikalsk samarbeid med den makedonske pianisten Simon Trpceski skapes den musikalske magien som Grieg legger opp til i sine skriverier.

Det er ikke lenge siden vi opplevde hennes fiolinspill med en utrolig spennende innspilling av Tan Duns musikk – og derfra til den kammermusikalske norske nasjonalromantikeren Grieg er spranget forholdsvis stort.

Men igjen overbeviser Hemsing med sin musikalitet, sitt klangøre og ikke minst forståelsen av den musikken hun gir seg i kast med. Hun gjør den på en måte til sin egen med det spill hun legger for dagen.

Vi møter en tidlig Edvard Grieg i de to første sonatene – skrevet i henholdsvis 1865 og 1867 da Grieg var 22 og 24 år. To gjennomkomponerte verk med snev av storhet i seg. Og her er det den fine melodien som Hemsing tryller frem med sine strenger. Og samspillet mellom fiolinist og pianist er så lekende lett og rett og slett underholdende at det er helt greit for lytteren å bare gi seg over. Dette er flotte fremførelser av den unge Griegs musikk.

Den tredje sonaten kom til i 1886 – altså nesten 20 år etter nummer to. Og her møter vi en moden komponist som har en enda bredere forståelse av kammermusikkens vesen, noe han også (bevisst eller ubevisst) benytter seg av.

Og igjen oppleves musikernes innlevelse i musikken som vakker, storslått – og magisk. Dette er vitruost spill som i denne lytterens øre skaper umiddelbar kjærlighet til fremførelsene.

Eldbjørg Hemsing serverer også et lite ekstranummer med sin egen tolkning av folketonen «Hjemkost» som hun skrev i 2019. Også dette drivende godt spilt!

Framførelsene er teknisk imponerende – og klangmessig overbevisende. At plateselskapet også er på høyden når det gjelder lydgjengivelsen er med på å heve opplevelsen enda et hakk.
Skaff deg denne!

Recording feature in : “For the Record”

Laurie Niles, editor (March 19, 2020, 4:17 PM)

Welcome to “For the Record,”‘s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Grieg: The Violin Sonatas
Eldbjørg Hemsing, violin
Simon Trpceski, piano

Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing explores her roots with this recording of the three violin sonatas by Edvard Grieg, also featuring pianist Simon Trpceski. Grieg’s F major Sonata includes references to Norwegian folk dances and Hardanger fiddle techniques, as does his Sonata No. 2. He composed his Violin Sonata in C minor 20 years later, and it was the last piece of chamber music that he completed. Hemsing also plays her own composition, “Homecoming,” a set of variations on a tune from the valley where she grew up, as well as a nod to Grieg, who used the same tune almost 150 years ago in his large-scale Ballade Op. 24. BELOW: Eldbjørg Hemsing describes her connection to works by Edvard Grieg and her composition “Homecoming.”

Concerti: Internationale Klassikstars im eigenen Wohnzimmer (DE)

Mit der Streaming-Reihe #deinconcertiabend bietet concerti ab sofort digitale Konzerterlebnisse.

Von Ninja Anderlohr-Hepp, 18. März 2020 –

Noch vor wenigen Tagen gehörte der abendliche Konzertgang zur Normalität: Die Frage war nicht, ob, sondern in welches Konzert man gehen wollte. Seit dem 13. März hat die Schließung aller öffentlichen Bühnen und Konzertsäle zur Eindämmung der Verbreitung des Corona-Virus die deutsche Kulturlandschaft in eine Schockstarre versetzt – nun müssen digitale Alternativen gefunden werden. Mit der neuen Streaming-Reihe #deinconcertiabend möchte concerti der Musik ein digitales Zuhause geben und Ihnen ein Konzerterlebnis in den heimischen vier Wänden ermöglichen.

Ab Donnerstag, den 19. März, begrüßen wir auf unseren Social Media-Kanälen jeweils um 20 Uhr (MEZ) regelmäßig Künstler aus aller Welt und laden Sie ein zum Hauskonzert. Der Konzertabend wird so zum „concerti-Abend“, und Sie können live dabei sein, wenn Künstler wie Anna Prohaska, Benedict Kloeckner oder Simon Höfele das Internet zum Klingen bringen. Dabei möchten wir auch in Erfahrung bringen, wie es den Künstlern in der aktuellen Shutdown-Situation geht: Der Verlust von Engagements stellt die Musiker vor ungewohnte Herausforderungen, viele Freischaffende müssen um ihre berufliche Existenz bangen. #deinconcertiabend soll zusammenbringen, was zusammengehört: die Musik, die Künstler und ihr Publikum.

#deinconcertiabend mit Eldbjørg Hemsing

Den Anfang macht für Sie die norwegische Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing, deren Album mit Werken von Edvard Grieg vor wenigen Tagen erschienen ist. Zu diesem Komponisten hat sie ein ganz besonderes Verhältnis, da Grieg über Umwege das Thema seiner berühmten Ballade op. 24 aus den Händen von Hemsings Ururgroßvater erhielt. Passenderweise dreht sich auch das Programm der ersten Ausgabe von #deinconcertiabend rund um den norwegischen Nationalkomponisten: Ausschnitte aus seinen Violinsonaten werden romantisch passend ergänzt mit Werken von Massenet und Sommerfeldt.

Die Geigerin ist gerade aus Berlin in ihre Heimatstadt Oslo zurückgekehrt und blickt mit gemischten Gefühlen auf die aktuelle Lage: „Wenn ich bedenke, dass ich in einer Zeit ohne Krieg auf europäischen Boden aufgewachsen bin, ist diese neue Realität, mit der wir konfrontiert sind, eine sehr fremde. Nichtsdestotrotz liegt mein Fokus jetzt darauf, neue Projekte voranzutreiben und zu entwickeln. Ich muss aber gleichzeitig sagen, dass ich als Musikerin, die viel auf Reisen ist und sonst nicht so viel Zeit zu Hause verbringt, nun zwei ganze Wochen am Stück daheim vor mir habe. Das fühlt sich auch irgendwie positiv an und hilft mir, guter Dinge zu bleiben. In diesen Zeiten müssen wir vielleicht noch mehr Solidarität untereinander zeigen, und Musik kann dabei wirklich etwas sein, das uns auf eine tiefere Ebene miteinander verbindet.“

Do. 19.3.2020, 20:00 Uhr
Eldbjørg Hemsing (Violine)
Sveinung Bjelland (Klavier)

Hier geht’s zum Livestream mit Eldbjørg Hemsing

Grieg: Violinsonate Nr. 1 F-Dur op. 8, 2. Satz: Allegretto quasi andantino
Grieg: Våren (Frühling) op. 33
Sommerfeldt: Sonata Saxifraga
Massenet: Meditation aus der Oper „Thaïs“
Grieg: Violinsonate Nr. 3 c-Moll op. 45, 2. Satz: Allegretto espressivo alla romanza
Grieg: Violinsonate Nr. 2 G-Dur op. 13, 1. Satz: Lento doloroso – Allegro vivace

CONCERTI review: Volksmusik ihrer Heimat (DE)

Von Roland H. Dippel, 14. März 2020 – Concerti

Rezension Eldbjørg Hemsing – Grieg: Violinsonaten

Eldbjørg Hemsing und Simon Trpčeski nehmen sich auf ihrem neuen Album der drei Violinsonaten von Edvard Grieg an.

Eldbjørg Hemsing fühlt sich dem Schaffen Griegs auch durch familiäre Wurzeln verpflichtet. Ihr Ururgroßvater Anders Nielsen Pelesteinbakken hatte Ludvig Mathias Lindeman eine Melodie vorgesungen, die Grieg in seiner Ballade für Klavier op. 24 aufgriff. Deshalb folgen Hemsings eigene Variationen „Homecoming“ über diese Melodie auf Griegs Sonaten-Trias. Der Geigerin geht es weniger um die satztechnische Meisterschaft der in verschiedenen Lebensphasen Griegs entstandenen Kammerwerke als deren reiche Kantabilität mit Bezügen zur Volksmusik ihrer Heimat. Deshalb unterliegt die Gewichtung der Klangverhältnisse einer stabilen Regelung: Sanftes Fließen dominiert, dialogische Interaktion mit Simon Trpčeski ist kaum beabsichtigt. Die kühle Schönheit dieser Annäherung macht vergessen, dass die beiden später entstandenen Sonaten ein von Griegs Zeitgenossen lebhaft diskutiertes Nationalgepräge haben.

English version

Eldbjørg Hemsing feels committed to Grieg’s work partly because of her familial roots. Her great-great grandfather Anders Nielsen Pelesteinbakken had sung a melody to Ludvig Mathias Lindeman, which Grieg took up in his Ballad for Piano op. 24. Therefore Hemsing’s own variations “Homecoming” on this melody follow Grieg’s sonata trias. 

The violinist is less interested in the technical mastery of the chamber works Grieg wrote in various phases of his life than in their rich cantabile quality with references to the folk music of her homeland. For this reason, the weighting of the tonal relationships is subject to a stable regulation: gentle flow dominates, dialogical interaction with Simon Trpčeski is hardly intended. The cool beauty of this approach makes one forget that the two sonatas written later have a nationalist touch that was vividly discussed by Grieg’s contemporaries.

SWEET SPOT Radio mit Eldbjørg Hemsing Eine Zeitreise nach Hause

12.03.2020 von Pauline Link – Sweet SPOT BR Klassik

Die Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing hat sich auf eine Reise in die Vergangenheit der norwegischen Musik begeben. Heraus kamen überraschende Zusammenhänge zu ihrer eigenen Familiegeschichte, die Eldbjørg dazu inspirierten, für ihr neues Album selbst zu komponieren.

Musik hat schon immer zu ihrer Familie gehört. Eldbjørg beginnt schon mit vier Jahren Geige und Fidel zu spielen und so hat es sie auch nicht verwundert, dass bei ihnen zuhause Noten an der Wand hängen. Als sie als Rising Star kurz vor dem Durchbruch steht, erzählt ihre Mutter ihr, dass dieses Notenskript eine Leihgabe der National Gallery sei und die Melodien ihres Ur-Ur-Ur-Großvaters zeige. Eine dieser Melodien habe sogar Edvard Grieg in seiner Musik verarbeitet.


Name: Eldbjørg Hemsing
Geboren: 1990 in einem winzigen Dorf in der Region Oppland in Norwegen
Instrument: Geige und Fidel
Haarfarbe: Hellblond
Verrückteste Eigenart: Liebstes Hobby und Entspannungsquelle sind Finanzen und Zahlen
Lieblingsmusik: Ella Fitzgerald – “Reaching for the moon”

Credits: Photography by Nikolaj Lund
Credits: Photography by Nikolaj Lund

Den Norwegern bedeutet Edvard Grieg genauso viel wie ihre Volksmusik. In der Region bei Bergen aufgewachsen, hat er die Melodien und Klänge in den Stuben und Dorfplätzen aufgesogen und sie in seiner Musik verarbeitet. Es steckt also ein Stück Norwegen in der Grieg‘schen Musik und die Norweger haben auch sehr konkrete Vorstellungen, wie ein Konzert mit Grieg zu klingen hat. Dieses Ideal zu erreichen hat sich Eldbjørg zur Aufgabe gemacht und ein Album eingespielt.

“Ich möchte mit dem Album zeigen, das viele bekannte Stücke, wie zum Beispiel von Grieg, einen traditionellen Hintergrund haben.”

Eldbjørg Hemsing über ihr neues Album ‘Grieg – The Violin Sonatas’

Für Eldbjørg sind die drei Violinsonaten von Grieg eine perfekte Umschreibung seines Lebens. Also wurde es ihr zur Passion und zum Herzensprojekt, diese drei Sonaten einzuspielen. Dafür hat sie sich näher mit Grieg auseinandergesetzt und festgestellt, welche Verbindung der berühmte Komponist nicht nur mit der norwegischen Musik selbst, sondern auch mit ihrer Familie hatte. Erst durch ihr Album wurde ihr die Bedeutung der Noten an der Wand ihres Elternhauses bewusst.

Wie Eldbjørg zur Komponistin wurde

Fast niemand weiß, dass diese Melodie aus dem Stück nicht von Grieg, sondern von einem ihrer Vorfahren stammt. Diese Tatsache hat Hemsing dazu bewegt, ihr erstes eigenes Werk zu komponieren: “Homecoming”. Mit diesem Stück will sie ihren Ur-Ur-Ur-Großvater ehren. Sie hat seine Melodie weitergesponnen und verändert sowie die norwegische Melancholie hineinfließen lassen. Und es sollte ein kurzes Stück sein, um es überall spielen und die Entstehungsgeschichte erzählen zu können.

Die Arbeit an diesem neuen Album weckte in Eldbjørg Hemsing wohl das Heimweh. Nach fast zehn Jahren im Ausland ist die Geigerin im vergangenen Herbst wieder zurück nach Norwegen gezogen, genauer: nach Oslo. Sie habe einfach die Sprache und die Menschen dort vermisst, erzählt sie im Gespräch mit SWEET SPOT – und das Skifahren. Schon als Kind ging es mit den Skiern zur Schule. In Berlin, ihrer letzten Heimat, war Eldbjørg ab und zu mit ihrer Freundin auf Rollski unterwegs, bereut aber nicht, zweieinhalb Jahre in der deutschen Bundeshauptstadt gelebt zu haben. Sie liebe die Stadt und die Kultur, sagt Eldbjørg.

“Besonders diese versteckten Orte, bei denen man denkt: Wie könnte hier ein Konzert stattfinden? Und dann kommen plötzlich Musiker und der Abend wird unglaublich magisch.”

Eldbjørg Hemsing über Berlin

Anscheinend war es für sie Zeit, nach Hause zu kommen. Die Noten an der Wand ihres Elternhauses haben sie auf eine ganz eigene Reise in die Geschichte der norwegischen Kultur und ihrer Familie geleitet – und schließlich auch zu ihrem ganz eigenen Homecoming.

Eldbjørg Hemsing in SWEET SPOT

Am 16. März ist Eldbjørg Hemsing im Radio bei SWEET SPOT von 21.05 bis 23.00 Uhr zu Gast. Leider nicht persönlich, aber live zugeschaltet aus Norwegen. Wegen der Corona-Krise hängt die Geigerin aktuell in ihrem Heimatland fest.

SWEET SPOT auf Instagram
Unsere Sendungen als Podcast

Eldbjørg Hemsing spielt Griegs Violinsonaten

Julia Kaiserrbb Kultur, Montag 16. 3. 2020

Julia Kaiser stellt unsere “CD der Woche” vor  

Edvard Griegs drei Violinsonaten gehören zum Repertoire jedes norwegischen Geigers. Eldbjörg Hemsing, 30 Jahre alt, ist mit ihnen aufgewachsen und hat sich auch besonders mit den Volksmusik-Motiven beschäftigt, die in Griegs Musik anklingen. Jetzt hat sie die drei Sonaten aufgenommen – und einen kleinen Schatz dazu.

Julia Kaiser hat Eldbjörg Hemsing getroffen und stellt unsere “CD der Woche” vor.

Edvard Grieg: Sonaten für Violine & Klavier Nr. 1-3
Eldbjørg Hemsing, Violine
Simon Trpčeski, Klavier

Label: BIS, 2020

Review Vårt Land: I sansingenes rike (NO)

Fiolinisten Eldbjørg Hemsing er for anledningen kledd i en slags huldrehabitt, sikkert ikke bevisst. Men det er jo nettopp denne mytiske fornemmelsen du får av tonene i hennes nye innspilling av Griegs sonater.

Av Olav Egil Aune – Vårt Land

Vi liker å ha Grieg på vår måte, her oppe i røysa. Fiolinisten Eldbjørg Hemsing gjør det på sin.

Jeg har hørt mange kantete og spretne gråsteinstolkninger av Griegs musikk, hvor poesi og dypere følelser forsvinner ut baktrappa. Grieg dro til fjells, kanskje er det derfor vi tror på det «harde», når vi gjør det. Stein er vakkert, men vakrere er det når en organisme vokser ut av jorda og inn i toner, der de er tilgjengelige – slik skjer det når Eldbjørg Hemsing og hennes makedoniske makker, verdenspianisten Simon Trpceski, leter etter hjertet i Griegs tre fiolinsonater. Det er mildt, det gløder, høy temperatur og stor nysgjerrighet, det springer, det er luftig, det er et spill som ikke bare knytter seg til den norske naturen, men til livene våre i den.

Les hele artikkelen

Review in Klassekampen: På hjemlige trakter (NO)

MED VERDEN SOM SCENE: Men det er i Valdres at Eldbjørg Hemsing har sitt feste

Egil Baumann – Klassekampen – Mandag, 9. mars 2020 (Print edition)

Eldbjørg Hemsing valgt sitt repertoar med omhu på sine utgivelser på det svenske selskapet BIS. Først ute var Hjalmar Borgstrøms fiolinkonsert satt opp imot Sjostakovitsj’ første. Så fulgte Dvoráks fiolinkonsert koplet med Josef Suks Fantasi for fiolin og orkester. Deretter kom to konserter av Tan Dun der konserten «Fire Ritual» var skrevet til henne. Er det en slags tråd her? Går det an å presse dette valget av repertoar inn i en slags nasjonalromantisk ramme, litt sleivete sagt? Altså musikk som på en
eller annen måte framhever det nasjonale? Eller faller jeg da for Hemsings framstilling av seg selv som en forsinket nasjonalromantiker.

Hun vektlegger i hvert fall Valdres og skriver fi nt på denne nye plata om da tippoldefaren hennes møtte Ludvig Mathias Lindeman ute på en av sine mange turer for å notere ned norsk folkemusikk. Og den folketonen Lindeman skrev ned var den melodien Grieg seinere brukte i et av
sine fl otteste verker, Balladen for klaver.

Uansett, Hemsing er opptatt av å vise hvor hun kommer fra og at hun har sine musikalske forbilder i en musikalsk tradisjon der folkemusikken
står sentralt. Og det ut fra et syn, slik jeg forstår henne, om at folkemusikken er den musikken der nasjonen kommer til klanglig uttrykk. Men som Grieg sa, folkemusikken må bearbeides. I dag er det ingen som ville finne på å si noe sånt, selv om praksisen muligens er den samme.
Eller sagt annerledes: Det er ikke lenger noen problemstilling å gjøre forskjell på kunstmusikk og folkemusikk. Grensene er uansett fl ytende. Og Hemsing har kommet hjem. Til Grieg og hans tre fiolinsonater. Men jeg skal ikke plassere Hemsing utelukkende i Valdres (hun er oppvokst i Aurdal, litt sør for Fagernes). Hun har åpenbart sitt feste her, men er tydeligvis hjemmevant overalt. Jeg vet ikke hvorfor jeg skriver så mye om dette, men Eldbjørg Hemsing har jo tross alt profilert seg, eller blitt profilert, som en lokal musiker med verden som scene. Noen vil sikkert si at gjennom musikken kan musikere møtes i et fellesskap uansett bakgrunn. La oss håpe de har rett.

Men til verket, eller til verkene. Hemsing spiller flott. Og vakkert med en fin tone. Hun legger nok opp til å gjøre Grieg vakker. Det er lite å si på spillet hennes. Men jeg får en fornemmelse av at hun ikke ønsker å gjøre Grieg litt stygg, eller for å være litt ufin: levende. Hun og pianist Trpčeski er flinke til å tyde forskjellene når det gjelder dynamikk og kontraster og tempi. Det lyriske blir veldig lyrisk, og det låter helt enestående. Det dramatiske,
derimot, spilles ikke helt ut. Som i åpningen av den tredje sonaten, en av Griegs mest stramt utformede og strenge komposisjoner og et av hovedverkene i norsk musikkhistorie. Er dette «Song of Norway» enda én gang? Jeg tror ikke det. Det er vel bare det at denne musikken lover så mye at det er vanskelig å realisere det som litt tåpelig kan kalles notebildets
intensjon. Eller ta den andre sonaten, kalt den nasjonale. Her trekker Grieg inn stilisert folkemusikk. Hvorfor ikke spille litt røffere? Eller skal det nettopp være stilisert? Hvor er Veslefrikk med fela? Mulig jeg er urettferdig nå. Men, for å gripe tilbake til åpningen, så jeg tror det er en nasjonalromantisk ramme her. Og å gå ut av denne ramma er vanskelig.
Men helt til slutt: I sin egen «Homecoming», temaet Grieg bruker i Balladen, spiller hun så det gnistrer.

Feature: Gramophone Magazine – The Listening Room

GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE – The Listening Room: Episode 92 (03.03.20)

James Jolly’s latest playlist includes a quartet of concertos – Grieg from Eldbjørg Hemsing and Simon Trpceski, Chopin from Benjamin Grosvenor, Mozart from Charles Richard-Hamelin, Tjeknavorian Snr from Tjeknavorian Jnr, and Adès from Kirill Gerstein plus Lili Boulanger songs with Cyrille Dubois, and Walton sung by Carolyn Sampson – plus pre-release tracks by Matthias Goerne and Jan Lisiecki, Seong-Jin Cho, and the Czech Philharmonic

A bumper concerto playlist this week, with the piano dominating. Thomas Adès’s Piano Concerto is played by Kirill Gerstein and with the composer conducting the Boston Symphony this is a major addition to the repertoire – a bold, dramatic and showy concerto that sounds somehow both Romantic and wonderfully modern.

A more traditional piano concerto comes courtesy of Mozart – his delicious E flat work, K482, with its wonderful finale. Charles Richard-Hamelin is the stylish soloist and Jonathan Cohen draws some flavoursome playing from Les Violons du Roi.

A new violin concerto comes from Loris Tjeknavorian, a prolific conductor when I was first becoming interested in recordings, and clearly also a composer with a distinctive voice, here infused with the atmosphere of Iran where he now lives. And to play it, his highly accomplished son, Emmanuel, who has a slew of awards to his name.

Our current Recording of the Month is Benjamin Grosvenor’s outstanding album of the two Chopin piano concertos with Elim Chan conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. As Harriet Smith wrote ‘On every hearing new details seem to emerge – the most delicate trilling here, a wonderful snippet of clarinet theme there – but always with a sense of storytelling, Chopin’s ever-shifting moods lustrously caught.’ It’s a wonderful recording and offers up new perceptions on every listening.
I’ve pounced on a new recording of songs by Nadia and Lili Boulanger from a French tenor whose voice I adore, Cyrille Dubois. Do explore the remainder of the album; it’s terrific. And from another favourite singer, the soprano Carolyn Sampson, I’ve a trio of Walton songs drawn from Façade, Joseph Middleton the attentive partner at the piano.

Eric Lu, winner of the last Leeds Piano Competition, has just released his first debut solo album – I’ve included Schumann strange Ghost Variations, the programme’s culmination, for this week’s playlist.

Another impressive release comes from BIS – the three Grieg violin sonatas with Eldbjørg Hemsing and Simon Trpčeski forming a really impressive musical partnership.

Listen on Apple Music

WDR Feature: Volksmelodien in Griegs Violinsonaten (DE)

Julia Kaiser WDR 3 TonArt

Immer wieder hat Edvard Grieg seine norwegische Heimat in seinen Kompositionen verewigt. Julia Kaiser spricht mit Geigerin Eldbjörg Hemsing über die Spuren, die sie in seinen Violinsonaten hinterlassen hat.

Klick Klack feature: Tan Dun’s ‘Fire Ritual’ premiere with Tan Dun and Oslo Philharmonic

Mit Martin Grubinger in Nürnberg / Klick Klack – BR Klassik (3. März 2020)

In Nürnberg spielt Martin Grubinger zusammen mit seinem Percussive Planet Ensemble ein ganz neues Programm. Außerdem in dieser KlickKlack-Ausgabe: der isländische Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, der chinesische Komponist Tan Dun, die norwegische Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing und der Schweizer Tenor Mauro Peter.

Watch full episode – Mit Martin Grubinger in Nürnberg

Ein Bläserensemble ist im Publikum platziert, während sich der Rest des Orchesters auf der Bühne befindet. Auch die Solistin holt erst zaghaft ihre Geige heraus, spielt die ersten zarten Töne zwischen den Zuhörern – und bewegt sich dann langsam, spielend, auf die Bühne. Der chinesische Komponist und UNESCO-Sonderbotschafter Tan Dun hat dieses Konzert mit dem Titel “Fire Ritual – For Victims of War” für die Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing geschrieben. Das Werk ist von zeremonieller chinesischer Hofmusik inspiriert, bei der einige Musiker auf der Bühne und andere vom Publikum umringt spielen. “Wie Schamanen, die versuchen die Menschen durch einen besonderen Klang zu erreichen”, sagt Tan Dun. “Fire Ritual” ist ein Memorial für die Opfer von Kriegen.

“Ich möchte mit dieser Musik an die vielen unschuldigen Opfer so vieler Kriege erinnern.”

Der Komponist Tan Dun

Tan Dun und die norwegische Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing lernten sich 2010 während der Shanghai World Expo kennen, hier führte Hemsing Tan Duns “Love Concerto” auf. “Wir beide haben eine Art volksmusikalischen Background”, sagt Eldbjørg Hemsing. Diese starke Beziehung zu den Wurzeln der musikalischen Tradition ihrer Herkunftsländer ist etwas, das die beiden seitdem verbindet. “Fire Ritual” ist ein weiteres Ergebnis dieser fruchtbaren Zusammenarbeit.

Hier geht es darum, Gefühle zu entwickeln und versuchen, sie zu vermitteln – wie der Klang aus der Tiefe der Seele kommt.

Norwegische Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing
KlickKlack Trailer

Rondo Magazin feature: Mit Fjord und Fiedel (DE)

Rondo - Das Klassik & Jazz Magazin

Jesper Klein / Rondo – Das Klassik & Jazz Magazin (29. Februar — 06. März 2020)

Eine Kulisse, wie man sie schöner nicht malen könnte! Glitzernder Schnee, strahlend blauer Himmel, eine traumhafte Aussicht, nachts ein klarer Sternenhimmel. Das Hemsing Festival, zu dem die Schwestern Ragnhild und Eldbjørg Hemsing ins norwegische Aurdal einladen, spielt rein landschaftlich in der Festival-Champions-League. Mindestens!

Vom 19. bis 23. Februar kamen hier befreundete Künstler zusammen, um an besonderen Orten intime Kammermusik zu spielen. Etwa in der Kirche in Aurdal, der Bergkirche unweit des kleinen Skigebiets oder dem gemütlichen Festivalhotel Nythun, ruhig in den Bergen oberhalb des Tals gelegen. Drei Stunden braucht man mit dem (winterfesten) Auto vom Osloer Flughafen hierher. Für Ragnhild und Eldbjørg Hemsing bedeutet das Festival: nach Hause kommen. Hier in Valdres wuchsen die Schwestern auf, hier verinnerlichte Ragnhild neben der klassischen Geigenausbildung auch die mündlich tradierten, von Dorf zu Dorf verschiedenen Melodien auf der Hardangerfiedel, die auch beim Festival nicht fehlen dürfen. Genauso natürlich wie die Musik des Nationalkomponisten Edward Grieg.

Thematisch kreist das Programm der neunzehn Konzerte, etwas allgemeiner gehalten, um die Themen Freiheit und Transformation. Das betrifft witzigerweise auch den sogenannten „Rakfisk“, unter dem man bis zu eineinhalb Jahre fermentierte Forellen versteht, die hier als Spezialität gelten. Und so gelingt es dem Hemsing Festival, Klassik und Kulinarik zusammenzubringen. Ob beim Frühstückskonzert mit Rachmaninow oder dem abendlichen Vier-Gänge-Menü mit musikalischen Häppchen von Chopin bis Ravel. Um dem Alltag zu entkommen, bietet dieses familiäre und freundliche Festival genau den richtigen Zufluchtsort. Und für den ärgerlichen Fall, dass man doch in dieser Idylle einschneien und nicht zurück nach Deutschland kommen sollte, trotz „mildem“ Winter in Norwegen durchaus denkbar, gibt es eine einfache Lösung: Man bleibt einfach dort. Alle Probleme gelöst.

Fotos innen: Nikolaj Lund, Fotos außen: Jesper Klein, Foto Festivalhotel: Hasko Witte

Radio feature: Das Hemsing-Festival: Klassik im malerischen Norwegen

Von Julia Kaiser / SWR 2 – SWR2 Treffpunkt Klassik

Das Hemsing Festival im norwegischen Aurdal steht im Beethovenjahr unter dem Motto „Freiheit und Veränderung“. Vom 19. bis 23. Februar gab es hier – drei Stunden Autofahrt westlich von Oslo – Kammermusik-Konzerte, umgeben von 1000 Meter hohen Felsen in gemütlicher Atmosphäre. Julia Kaiser hat sich auf den Weg in die verschneiten Berge gemacht.

SWR 2 – Treffpunkt Klassik


Review: Trolle und Steinbrecherpflanzen by Dreh Punkt Kultur (Stiftung Mozarteum, February 25th)

Norwegische Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing und franzözische Pianist Julien Quentin - Konzert in der Stiftung Mozarteum

Review by Gottfried Franz Kasparek for Dreh Punkt Kultur /Stiftung Mozarteum (Dienstag 25. Februar 2020)

Die junge norwegische Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing und der französische Pianist Julien Quentin präsentierten am Dienstag (25.2.) das Programm Sound of Norway“ rund um Edvard Grieg. Mit Vorbildern, Freunden, Erben Griegs – ein nicht nur nordisches Konzert.

Der erste Teil des Konzerts war freilich kein Duo-, sondern ein Soloprogramm von Eldbjørg Hemsing, die zunächst eine kleine, feine Reise durch die Musik ihrer Heimat antrat. Der Einfluss norwegischer Volksmusik, insbesondere der für die faszinierende Hardangerfiedel seit dem 17. Jahrhundert entstandenen, ist diesen Geigenstücken deutlich anzumerken.

Weniger in Ole Bulls hochromantischem Sonntag der Sennerin, sozusagen der heimlichen Nationalhymne. Eldbjørg Hemsing spielt das Stück des legendären Geigers und Grieg-Förderers mit ebenso herzerfrischend blühendem Ton wie den anrührenden Letzten Frühling Edvard Griegs. Dagegen sind die Werke von Komponisten des 20. Jahrhunderts zwar im Grunde spätromantisch, aber mit jener eigentümlichen Bitonalität und vertrackten Mehrstimmigkeit angereichert, für die das Volksinstrument steht, natürlich auch mit dem mitreißenden Schwung der Tanzmusik. Bjarne Brustads Märchensuite führt mit Animo in die Welt der Trolle und Feen. Øistein Sommerfeldts Sonata Saxifraga führt das Leben von Steinbrecherpflanzen in den Bergeshöhen farbenreich durch die Jahreszeiten. Stücke, welche auch die Virtuosität der Interpretin fordern, die aber ganz selbstverständlich da ist.

Mit zwei Sätzen von J. S. Bach – Corrente und Sarabande aus der zweiten Partita für Violine solo – und der von Eugénè Ysaÿe dem Kollegen George Enescu gewidmeten d-Moll-Solosonate wurde das Programm sozusagen europäisch. Eldbjørg Hemsing spielt diese Höhepunkte der Violin-Sololiteratur mit großer Natürlichkeit und gleichzeitig klanglicher Raffinesse. Auf einer Guadagnini-Violine von 1754, die wohl auch in den Händen Ysaÿes gewesen ist, wie Frau Hemsing erzählt. Denn sie moderiert auch, mit Geist und Charme, in bestem Englisch. Nach der Pause zwischen zwei Sonaten noch ein stimmungsvolles Solo. Homecoming heißt es und ist die erste und bisher einzige Komposition von Eldbjørg Hemsing. Denn ihr Ur-Ur-Großvater hat Edvard Grieg einst eine schwermütige Volksmelodie vorgesungen, die innerhalb der Familie tradiert wurde und nun von der Nachfahrin durchaus romantisch klangvoll verarbeitet wurde. Grieg verwendete die Melodie übrigens in seiner Klavier-Ballade op. 24.

Die beiden Sonaten bringen die Bekanntschaft mit Julien Quentin, der ein fabelhaft mitatmender, aber auch differenziert mitgestaltender Klavierpartner ist. Zunächst die zweite Klaviersonate von Johannes Brahms, geschrieben am Schweizer Thunersee und ein Meisterstück zwischen altersweise harmonischer Kunst und von der Landschaft und einer späten Liebe inspirierter, sehnsuchtsvoller Melodik ausgewogen. Warum Brahms? Er war mit Grieg befreundet und schätzte die Musik des Kollegen hoch. Grieg wiederum betrachtete den zehn Jahre ältern Brahms als bedeutendes Vorbild, obwohl seine Violinsonaten schon allein wegen der folkloristischen Färbung ganz anderen Charakter haben. Die dritte in c-Moll ist eine gefühlsintensive und melodienselige Klangreise, in der schöne Wehmut oft mit herb aufjauchzender Tanzlaune hart kontrastiert. All dies kann man nicht souveräner und technisch perfekter, vor allem aber nicht mitteilsamer und direkt anspringend vermitteln als Eldbjørg Hemsing und Julien Quentin. Der jubelnde Applaus bewirkte zwei Zugaben: Jules Massenets elegische Meditation aus der Oper Thaïs und als stimmigen Schluss den spielerischen zweiten Satz aus der ersten Grieg-Sonate.

Review: GRIEG VIOLINSONATEN by Online Merker (DE)

CD GRIEG VIOLINSONATEN – Eldbjørg Hemsing, Simon Trpčeski; BIS

Eldbjørg Hemsing, Simon Trpčeski Grieg: The Violin Sonatas BIS, VÖ 6.3. 2020 Edvard Grieg: Sonate Nr. 1in F-Dur, Op. 8 Sonate Nr.2 in G-Dur, Op. 13 Sonate Nr. 3 in C-Moll, Op. 45
Eldbjørg Hemsing: Homecoming (2019)

Eldbjørg Hemsing: Ahnenforschung mit Edvard Grieg Auf ihrem neuen Album, das am 6.3.2020 bei BIS erscheint, folgt Eldbjørg den Spuren ihres Ururgroßvaters, der einst Edvard Grieg zu einem seiner bekanntesten Werke inspirierte.

Wer wie Eldbjørg Hemsing zu den renommiertesten Botschafterinnen der norwegischen Musikkultur gehört, kommt an Edvard Grieg nicht vorbei – als Leitfigur der norwegischen Romantik ist der Komponist noch heute zentral für das musikalische Selbstverständnis des Landes. Dass Hemsing für ihr kommendes Album Grieg-Sonaten einspielte, hat jedoch auch einen weitaus persönlicheren, biografischen Hintergrund. 1848 reiste Griegs Assistent Ludvig Mathias Lindeman durch Norwegen, um für seinen Arbeitgeber besonders schöne und interessante Volksmelodien zu recherchieren. In Valdres, dem Heimattal der Hemsing-Familie, traf er dabei auf Anders Nielsen Pelesteinbakken, Eldbjørg Hemsings Ururgroßvater. Dieser wies Lindeman auf ein Melodiefragment hin, das Grieg schließlich scheinbar so inspirierte, dass er es zum Thema der berühmten Ballade (Op. 24) machte.

Gute 170 Jahre später präsentiert nun Eldbjørg Hemsing ihre Interpretation von Griegs drei Sonaten für Geige und Klavier. Die Werke gelten als repräsentativ für verschiedene Schaffensphasen Griegs und entstanden über einen Zeitraum von über zwanzig Jahren. Besonders in der zweiten Sonate eröffnet sich dem Hörer Griegs Anliegen, die nationale Klangkultur seines Heimatlandes musikalisch abzubilden, u.a. durch an Bauerntänze angelehnte Sequenzen –, ideales Material für Eldbjørg Hemsing, die sich seit langem leidenschaftlich für den Erhalt der folkloristischen Musiktradition Norwegens einsetzt. Auch auf vergangenen Veröffentlichungen wählte Hemsing deshalb Komponisten wie Antonín Dvořák und Hjalmar Borgström, die entweder starke Bande zu Norwegen oder zur Volksmusik ihrer Heimatkultur pflegten. Wer also könnte eine geeignetere und authentischere GriegInterpretin sein als Hemsing? Den Grieg-Sonaten zur Seite gestellt hat die Violinistin die Eigenkomposition „Homecoming“, die auf einer Volksmelodie aus Valdres basiert –, auch als Entsprechung dafür, welch persönlichen Stellenwert die neue Einspielung für sie einnimmt. Mit dem Pianisten Simon Trpčeski holte sich Hemsing darüber hinaus einen starken musikalischen Partner ins Boot, seines Zeichens Nationalkünstler seiner Heimat Mazedoniens und ebenfalls für sein Interesse an traditioneller Volksmusik bekannt.

Written by: Online Merker

Die norwegische Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing und der mazedonische Pianist Simon Trpčeski nehmen sich auf ihrem neuen Album der drei Violinsonaten von Edvard Grieg an. In einem Zeitraum von über 20 Jahren (1865-1886) entstanden, repräsentieren diese Duosonaten unterschiedliche Schaffensperioden und künstlerische Aspekte des Komponisten. Die frühe Sonate in F-Dur des 22-jährigen Grieg wurde vom Kollegen Niels W. Gade zwar gelobt, allerdings fehlen der Musik noch jenes Wissen um die tiefsten Aspekte der Seele und jene individuell charakterisierten polaren Klangwelten, die den späten Grieg auszeichnen. Die Musik scheint direkt einer nordischen Landschaft entsprungen. Dieser unbeschwert, melodisch frische Spaziergang über Wiesen und Felder, von Blume zu Blume, erzielt in der lebendigen Wiedergabe durch Hemsing/Trpčeski eine Wirkung wie ein durchkomponiertes Lieder- und Balladenalbum ohne Gesang. Positiv fällt sofort die Augenhöhe in der Ausdruckskraft der beiden Solisten auf. Der passionierte Zugriff und das glasklare Spiel des Pianisten tragen maßgeblich dazu bei, dass sich die Geigerin in ihrem Spiel wie der sprichwörtliche Fisch im Wasser bewegen kann. Das stimmungsvolle überschwängliche bis verträumte Allegro molto vivace gibt Gelegenheit, virtuos loszulegen, aber auch empfindsam der romantischen Grundanlage des Werks freien Raum zu lassen.

Die Sonate in G-Dur wurde im Sommer 1867 geschrieben. Ob sie eine Liebeserklärung an Griegs Frau Nina Hagerup war oder generell als ein Hymnus auf die Hochzeitsfeiern des ländlichen Norwegens gehört werden soll, sei dahingestellt. Folklore und Tänze dominieren jedenfalls diese Sonate, was den berühmt berüchtigten Wiener Kritiker Eduard Hanslick dazu verleitete, Grieg als „Mendelssohn im Robbenfell“ zu bezeichnen. Grieg wählte einen bekannten Volkstanz namens Springdans als Modell für den ersten und den letzten Satz, dazwischen gibt es melancholischere Seiten zu erkunden. Norwegen stand damals unter dänischer Herrschaft und das nationale Element in der Musik zu pflegen, war ein in Europa weit verbreitetes Phänomen. Dennoch erzählt Griegs Werk pointiert überdies von den Einflüssen, die Beethoven und Schumann offenbar auf sein Schaffen bewirkt haben. 

Was zudem auffällt, ist die enorme kompositorische  Entwicklung, die Grieg in den beiden Jahren seit dem Erstling durchlebt hat. Wesentlich komplexer, differenzierter in der Atmosphäre und den lautmalerisch entwickelten Stimmungen, folgen auch die beiden Interpreten voller Elan dieser kurvigen Spur. Faszinierend ist das traumwandlerische Miteinander von Eldbjørg Hemsing und Simon Trpčeski in Dynamik und Tempo, das Ballabgeben und -aufnehmen, das kunstreiche Dribbeln, die gestische Lebendigkeit ihrer Interaktion.

1886, als höchst erfolgreicher Komponist, Pianist und Dirigent, setzte sich Grieg noch einmal mit dieser kammermusikalischen Form auseinander. Inspiriert von der jungen italienischen Geigerin Teresina Tua, entstand die reifste und interessanteste der drei Sonaten, diesmal in c-Moll. Wiederum ist die rhythmische Kraft des Spiels, die Eleganz und Verinnerlichung des Tons zu konstatieren. Letztlich aber sind vor allem die zahllosen hier farblich dunkleren Abschattierungen zu bewundern, die die beiden Solisten voller Finesse aus den Noten zeichnen. Trotz des intimen, in keiner Faser aufdringlichen Duktus’ der Sonate stellen sich verblüffende orchestrale Effekte ein.

Wer diese meisterlichen kammermusikalischen Edelsteine noch nicht kennt, kann mit diesen magisch schönen Interpretationen sein Glück versuchen.

Written by: Dr. Ingobert Waltenberger, Online Merker

Hemsing Festival: Klassisk musikk, rakfisk og natur setter Valdres-bygd på verdenskartet (Aftenposten)


Aurdal i Valdres har beskjedne 671 innbyggere. Likevel klarer det vesle tettstedet å lokke til seg noen av verdens fremste klassiske musikere – på grunn av to søstre.

Onsdag starter den åttende utgaven av Hemsingfestivalen i søstrene Hemsings hjembygd Aurdal, stedet de færreste har hørt om, såfremt du ikke er blant de mange tusen som har hytte i Valdres.

Søstrene Ragnhild og Elbjørg Hemsing er vant til å stå på noen av verdens største klassiske scener. Nå inviterer de sine musikerkolleger hjem til Aurdal.

Full Artikel på

Eldbjørg Hemsing with new recording release ‘Grieg – The Violin Sonatas’

Credits: Photography by Nikolaj Lund

Following the acclaimed recordings of concertos by Borgström and Shostakovich, Dvořák and Suk, and by Tan Dun, Eldbjørg Hemsing is following in the footsteps of her great-great-grandfather, who once inspired Edvard Grieg to compose one of his most famous works. Joint by Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski, Eldbjørg is embarks the journey of Grieg violin sonatas on her latest release on BIS Records.

As a celebrated ambassador of Norwegian cultural heritage, Eldbjørg Hemsing was always going to turn to Edvard Grieg eventually – a composer who is central to both Norwegian music history and the Romantic era in general. Hemsing’s new recording of Grieg’s three violin sonatas on BIS Records also has a much more personal biographic background, however.  

In 1848, Ludvig Mathias Lindeman received funding from the Collegium academicum of Christiania (Oslo) University to collect folk tunes for Edvard Grieg. During his travels across Norway, he stayed in Valdres and met Hemsing’s great-great-grandfather Anders Nielsen Pelesteinbakken, who sang a tune to him. Lindeman noted it down and Grieg later found it in the collection. The small fragment of the folk tune must have caught the composer’s attention and he subsequently used the melody as the inspiration and main theme of one of his greatest works for solo piano, the Ballade, Op. 24

Over 170 years later, Eldbjørg Hemsing is presenting her own interpretation of Grieg’s three sonatas for violin and piano. The sonatas are considered to be representative of different stages in Grieg’s artistic development and were composed over a period of 20 years. The second violin sonata can be seen as one of Grieg’s great successes in capturing the musical identity of his native country, particularly in the sequences based on peasants’ dances. Because of her passion for preserving Norway’s rich folk music heritage – as demonstrated in her previous projects such as the second ever recording of Hjalmar Borgström’s violin concerto – Hemsing was keen to explore the compositions of her famous fellow countryman, who so profoundly shaped the Norwegian cultural identity. 

Alongside the Grieg sonatas, Eldbjørg Hemsing is also presenting her first original composition „Homecoming – Varitations on the folk tune from Valdres“ as a testament to the personal significance of this new recording and its history. Moreover, in pianist Simon Trpčeski Hemsing has found a strong musical partner, an internationally acclaimed artist praised for celebrating the rich folk traditions of his own native country, Macedonia.  

Grieg Violin Sonatas will be available exclusively on Apple Music from February 21st 2020. The album will be released globally from March 6th 2020 on all streaming platforms as well as in physical format in your closest CD shop.

Grieg Recording praised by Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE)

Eldbjørg Hemsing’s new recording release Grieg Violin Sonatas together with the acclaimed Macedonian pianist Simon Trčeski on BIS Records received a praising review by Harald Eggebrecht in the Süddeutsche Zeitung´s Klassikkolumne.

“The violin tone of the young Norwegian Eldbjørg Hemsing has something spacious, immediate, unseen, nothing pretentious about it. This goes wonderfully with the three violin sonatas by Edvard Grieg. Hemsing and her piano partner Simon Trčeski do not doubt for a second the quality, intensity, imagination and touching beauty of this music, which is pulsating with a sense of landscape, natural sensations and passion. One can really say that [Eldbjørg] plays so brilliantly and convincingly in her “mother tongue” that it must captivate everyone. The violinist’s joy in inventing music is demonstrated by her fine variations on a folk tune.”

Read full Klassikkolumne from January 20th 2020

Grieg Violin Sonatas will be available exclusively on Apple Music from February 21st 2020. The album will be released globally from March 6th 2020 on all streaming platforms as well as in physical format in your closest CD shop.

Eldbjørg Hemsing nominated for 2019 Spellemann (Norwegian recording award)

Classical 2019

Tan Dun: Fire Ritual

BIS Records

visit website:

This excellent disc of violin concertos showcases Dun’s dexterity and imagination in writing for the instrument and features radiant and sophisticated performances from the violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing…[In Rhapsody and Fantasia] Dun explores every inch of the solo violin with a depth of imagination that calls to mind Berg’s groundbreaking concerto…[Fire Ritual] blends the fierce with the meditative, and is performed with integrity and precision by Hemsing to complete this fine disc.

BBC Music Magazine

The violin concerto Fire Ritual – ‘A music ritual for the Victims of War’ – was written for and premièred by Eldbjørg Hemsing. The musical narrative is divided into four parts: Cruel Wars, Innocent People, Mantras of the Heavenly Birds and Eternity. These four themes create a musical ceremony for the victims of war, for those who have suffered through human history, and a prayer for eternal peace.

Fire Ritual unfolds and extends from a single note D (‘re’ on the solfège scale) – Re is a prefix used with the meaning ‘again’: REnew, REstart, REsurrect… As a ritual and ceremonial rite, the work is centred on the note ‘re’, calling for the REturn of souls and the REbirth of all victims of war so that they may RElive another life, and love once more.


BBC Music Magazine

This excellent disc of violin concertos showcases Dun’s dexterity and imagination in writing for the instrument and features radiant and sophisticated performances from the violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing…[In Rhapsody and Fantasia] Dun explores every inch of the solo violin with a depth of imagination that calls to mind Berg’s groundbreaking concerto…[Fire Ritual] blends the fierce with the meditative, and is performed with integrity and precision by Hemsing to complete this fine disc.

May 2019


While some of Tan Dun’s ideas may seem rather overextended at times…what comes across most powerfully here is the dynamic three-way synergetic split between Tan Dun as conductor, Eldbjørg Hemsing’s striking characterisation of the solo violin’s material, and the sheer force and power of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Recommended.

April 2019

MusicWeb International

Eldbjørg Hemsing shows a powerful affinity for this very visual, symbolic music, while the BIS SACD sound is nothing short of magnificent.

April 2019

Presto Classical

Dun casts his stylistic net wide in these two East-meets-West concertos (indeed both scores veer into ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ territory in places), and their language is immediately accessible and attractive; highlights include the berceuse-like interlude of ‘Rock the Violin in Rhapsody’, where the soft-focus cinematic atmosphere is undercut by unsettling orchestral glissandi, and the high-energy sparring between marimba and violin in the opening track.

March 2019

In China they call her: “The Princess of Norway”

OSLO (NRK): The Chinese world star is so excited about Norwegian Eldbjørg Hemsing that he has written a piece for her.

Written by: BÅRD SKAR/NRK
Published Sep 21 2018 at 09:42
Updated 16 Oct 2018 at 12:35

Aftenposten’s music reviewer calls it a sensation.

Tan Dun is an international star, one of the biggest names in music today.

says Maren Ørstavik to NRK.

Tan Dun is in Norway on the occasion of the Ultima festival, which takes place in Oslo. He directs the Oslo Philharmonic, and has written all the music at the concert which took place on Wednesday.

One of the pieces is specially written for the Norwegian violinist.

That he wrote a work for Eldbjørg is not only a huge honor for her, it is also a feather in the hat for Norwegian music life. With this he takes Norway and Norwegian music out into the world.

says Ørstavik.

Who is Tan Dun?

Tan Dun, does that sound familiar? Maybe. Many have heard his music without being aware of it. In addition to writing opera and orchestral music, he writes film music.

In 2001 he received the Oscar for best original music in the movie “Sneaking tiger, hidden dragon”. The music for the 2008 Beijing Olympics was also his.

The composer was born in 1957.

Read more about Tan Dun.

PRINCESS: Tan Dun instructs Eldbjørg Hemsing and the Oslo Philharmonic

NRK will attend the rehearsals this week and met Eldbjørg Hemsing and Tan Dun for an interview before the concert.

It wasn’t the first time they met – Tan Dun (61) and Eldbjørg Hemsing (28) have known each other for many years.

A world-renowned New York-based Chinese composer and girl from Aurdal in Valdres – how does that relate?

“The Princess of Norway”

In 2010, the World Expo exhibition was held in Shanghai, China. (This was before the Nobel Prize for Liu Xiaobo soured the relationship between Norway and China).

Eldbjørg represented Norway at a large joint concert entitled “Love Concert”, Tan Dun’s native China.

Mutual enthusiasm: Tan Dun and Eldbjørg Hemsing.

Eldbjørg talks about a magical meeting. The collaboration created so much creative energy that they have done several projects together since.

Tan Dun takes it longer:

Eldbjørg is famous in China. We call her “The Princess of Norway”. In China, people only know Ibsen and Grieg. When they learn that she is from Grieg’s homeland, the Chinese get the impression that Norway is as beautiful as this girl.

Tan Dun

And adds with a smile that at that time in 2010, many people thought that Eldbjorg’s fantastic music could help even more Chinese to eat Norwegian salmon.

The peaceful shaman

The violin concerto Tan Dun has written for Eldbjørg Hemsing is called “Fire Ritual”, and is a memory of the victims of the war. Every warrior. Old rituals from the east and the west, told through the music, will awaken the soul of the dead and contribute to no more wars.

Tan Dun has given the Norwegian violinist the role of Shaman of Peace.

SHAMAN: This is how you appear as the shaman of peace, Tan Dun explains.

To deliver this message we had to have one of the most peaceful people we could imagine. Eldbjørg was a simple choice. For Chinese who have followed her since the Expo, she represents the beauty and belief that the memory of the victims of war can create a future without war, says the composer and conductor.

Tan Dun
DIRECTING: Tan Dun is filming Eldbjørg Hemsing with his cellphone under the instruction.

FACTS ABOUT: Eldbjørg Hemsing

– Born in 1990 in North Aurdal.
– Played violin since she was five years old.
– Debuted as a soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic in 2001.
– Won Virtuos and was a Norwegian participant in Eurovision
Young Musicans in 2008.
– Is now one of Norway’s most sought after soloists internationally.
– Two new CD releases in 2018. Brilliant reviews.

SOURCE: I Kina kalles hun «Prinsessen av Norge»

You can see an interview from “NRK Hovedscenen” here:

Interview from “NRK Hovedscenen”

I Kina kalles hun «Prinsessen av Norge» (NO)

OSLO (NRK): Den kinesiske verdensstjernen er så begeistret for norske Eldbjørg Hemsing at han har skrevet et stykke for henne.

Skrevet av: BÅRD SKAR/NRK
Publisert Sep. 21 2018 kl. 09:42
Oppdatert 16 Okt. 2018 kl. 12:35

Aftenpostens musikkanmelder kaller det en sensasjon.

Tan Dun er en internasjonal stjerne, et av de største navnene i musikklivet i dag.

sier Maren Ørstavik til NRK.

Kineseren er i Norge i anledning Ultimafestivalen, som foregår i Oslo. Han dirigerer Oslo-Filharmonien, og har skrevet all musikken på konserten som gikk av stabelen onsdag.

Et av stykkene er spesialskrevet for den norske fiolinisten.

At han skiver et verk for Eldbjørg er ikke bare en kjempeære for henne, det er også en fjær i hatten for norsk musikkliv. Med dette tar han Norge og norsk musikk ut i verden

sier Ørstavik.

Hvem er Tan Dun?

Tan Dun, lyder det kjent? Kanskje. Mange har hørt musikken hans uten å være klar over det. For i tillegg til å skrive opera og orkestermusikk, skriver han filmmusikk.

I 2001 fikk han Oscar for beste originalmusikk i filmen «Snikende tiger, skjult drage». Musikken til OL i Beijing i 2008 var også hans.

Komponisten er født i 1957.

Les mer om Tan Dun.

PRINSESSE: Tan Dun instruerer Eldbjørg Hemsing og Oslo-Filharmonien

NRK overvar prøvene denne uka og møtte Eldbjørg Hemsing og Tan Dun til intervju før konserten.

Det var ikke første gang de møttes – Tan Dun (61) og Eldbjørg Hemsing (28) har kjent hverandre i mange år.

En verdenskjent New York-basert kinesisk komponist og jenta fra Aurdal i Valdres – hvordan henger det sammen?

«Prinsessen av Norge»

I 2010 ble verdensutstillingen World Expo holdt i Shanghai i Kina. (Dette var før Nobel-pristildelingen til Liu Xiaobo forsuret forholdet mellom Norge og Kina).

Eldbjørg representerte Norge på en stor felleskonsert med tittelen «Love Concert», Tan Dun sitt fødeland Kina.

GJENSIDIG BEGEISTRING: Tan Dun og Eldbjørg Hemsing.

Eldbjørg forteller om et magisk møte. Samarbeidet skapte så mye kreativ energi at de har gjort flere prosjekter sammen siden.

Tan Dun tar det lenger:

Eldbjørg er berømt i Kina. Vi kaller henne «Prinsessen av Norge». I Kina kjenner folk kun Ibsen og Grieg. Når de får vite at hun er fra Griegs hjemland, får kinesernes inntrykk av at Norge er like vakkert som denne jenta.

Tan Dun

Og legger med et smil til at den gang i 2010 tenkte nok mange at Eldbjørgs fantastiske musikk kunne bidra til at enda flere kinesere spiste norsk laks.

Den fredfulle sjaman

Stykket Tan Dun har skrevet for Eldbjørg Hemsing heter «Fire Ritual», og er et minne om krigens ofre. Alle kriger. Gamle ritualer fra øst og vest, fortalt gjennom musikken, skal vekke sjelen til de døde og bidra til at det ikke blir flere kriger.

Tan Dun har gitt den norske fiolinisten rollen som fredens sjaman.

SJAMAN: Slik framstår du som fredens sjaman, forklarer Tan Dun.

For å levere dette budskapet måtte vi ha en av de mest fredfulle menneskene vi kunne tenke oss. Eldbjørg var et enkelt valg. For kinesere som har fulgt henne siden Expo, representer hun det vakre og troen på at minnet om krigens ofre kan skape en fremtid uten krig, sier komponisten og dirigenten.

Tan Dun
REGI: Tan Dun filmer Eldbjørg Hemsing med mobilen under instruksjonen.

FAKTA OM: Eldbjørg Hemsing

– Født i 1990 i Nord-Aurdal.
– Spilt fiolin siden hun var fem år.
– Debutere som solist med Bergen Filharmonien i 2001.
– Vant Virtuos og var norsk deltaker i Eurovision Young Musicans i 2008.
– Er nå en av Norges mest etterspurte solister internasjonalt.
– To nye CD-utgivelser i 2018. Strålende kritikker.

KILDE: I Kina kalles hun «Prinsessen av Norge»

Intervju fra NRK Hovedscenen ser du her:

Intervju fra NRK Hovedscenen.

Review: Fire Ritual Recording in The Strad

The Strad Issue: June 2019 
Description: ‘World music’ violin concertos receive fiery, thrilling performances

Theatrical, charismatic and intricately detailed, these two violin concertos by Tan Dun are the perfect showcase for his sensuous sound world.

As a teenager Tan became the conductor of a travelling Peking Opera troupe: echoes of its colourful style are never far from his delicate textures, recorded here with brilliance and vibrancy.

The first concerto, ‘Rhapsody and Fantasia’, grew out of an ancient opera melody. From this, Tan conjures an eclectic but immensely likeable work that somewhat improbably pits dance-worthy beats (in two movements entitled ‘hip-hop’) against a rich seam of lyricism from the violin.

Under the baton of the composer himself, Norwegian Eldbjørg Hemsing shows a deep affinity for this music, from the lush, yearning lyricism of the Rhapsody’s middle-movement Malinconia to the more esoteric Fantasia, in which lovely pinpricks of orchestral detail add shade to the violin’s searching lines.

The five-movement ‘Fire Ritual’ of 2018 builds on the earlier work’s sense of ceremonial, the violin pitted against the war-like, powerfully expressive declamations of the orchestra.

After the brittle march of the third movement, the tumult clears for the solo violin to emerge. The shared, gorgeous melody of strings and soloist in the fourth movement gives way to a final, sorrowing melody from the violin, perfectly judged by Hemsing: a haunting end to a compelling disc.


Features on Hemsing Festival 2019

Hemsing Festival is an international chamber music festival in Aurdal in Valdres, and the artistic leaders are Eldbjørg and Ragnhild Hemsing. The two sister founded the festival in their hometown in 2013 and it takes place each year in week 8.

Eldbjørg Hemsing and her sister Ragnhild Hemsing are Artistic Directors of the Hemsing Festival. The festival´s goal is to facilitate “intimate encounters with great music”. The magical mood created by close contact between the audience and the musicians means a lot.

Please see following features from journals and radio which have been released on Hemsing Festival 2019:

WDR 3 Ton Art | Germany (DE): Das Hemsing Festival in Norwegen

BR Klassik | Germany (DE): Skitour beim Hemsing Festival

BR Klassik | Germany: Kein Fest ohne Hardanger Fiddel (DE)

Deutschlandfunk | Germany (DE): Mit Langlauf zu Debussy

SWR2 Treffpunkt Klassik| Germany (DE): Hemsing Festival in Norwegen

Radio klassik Stephansdom | Austria (DE): Kammermusik in Aurdal

Radio klassik Stephansdom | Austria (DE): Eldbjørg Hemsing

Review: Fire Ritual Recording in Süddeutsche Zeitung

« It is thanks to the young talents who not only want to ride old war horses, but also present new things, that the instrumental concerto as a genre will never die out. Norwegian violin princess Eldbjørg Hemsing already made a name for herself as an archaeologist when she successfully excavated the unconventional, surprisingly attractive violin concerto from 1914 by her fellow countryman Hjalmar Borgstrøm. Now she shows her interest in contemporary music. Together with the Oslo Philharmonic, conducted by the composer, she plays two Tan Dun concerts: “Rhapsody and Fantasia” and “Fire Ritual”, which was written for Hemsing. These pieces, in which Beijing opera, percussion thunderstorms and the most modern composition techniques blend together ingeniously, offer Hemsing every opportunity to fully unfold her sound fantasy. This ranges from flashing top notes and sharp glissandi to the imitation of traditional Chinese singing techniques or almost soundless whispering. This sounds attractive, enchanting and demands a soloist of eminent quality, like Hemsing. (Bis)»

Review: Dvořák&Suk Recording in The Strad (UK)

A splendid combination of purity and sweeping, Heifetz-like intensity

The Strad | By Julian Haylock, 16. November 2018

Dvořák’s sole Violin Concerto is not among his most free-flowingly spontaneous scores. It took him four years (on and off) to complete, by which time the intended dedicatee Joseph Joachim had grown tired of the project and, despite having already advised on several changes, was still unhappy about what he considered the terse bridge between the first and second movements and over-repetitious finale.

Only comparatively recently has it become virtually standard repertoire, yet is remains a problematic work requiring sensitive and impassioned advocacy to sound its best. This it receives in spades from Eldbjørg Hemsing, who sustains high standards of intonational purity and beguiling tonal lustre throughout even most awkward of passages. She also shapes phrases with a chamber-scale dynamic suppleness, in contrast to the majority of recorded players, whose tendency towards special pleading often leads to over-projection.

However, the star turn here is the Suk Fantasy, which sounds (no bad thing) like an evacuee soundtrack from the Golden Age of Hollywood, with Hemsing hurling herself into the fray with an almost Heifetz-like intensity and swashbuckling bravado. Alan Buribayev and the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra provide sterling support and the commendably natural recording opens out seductively when the SACD-surround track is activated.

Review: Dvořák & Suk Recording in Concerti (DE)

Effortless Intensity

Eckhard Weber | Concerti | 8. November 2018

She practically grew up with this work, she says. Indeed, young violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing feels noticeably at home in Dvořák’s Violin Concerto. The way she makes her instrument sing with an amazingly nuanced and beguiling tone full of vibrancy has compelling intensity. Nothing sounds laboured here, everything seems to happen spontaneously in this music. The Antwerp Symphony Orchestra under Alan Buribayev is extremely present and sensitive in this interaction and unfolds a tremendously broad spectrum of colours. The folkloristically inspired finale of the Violin Concerto impresses with light-footed verve and shimmering airiness. A new benchmark recording has been achieved here in every respect. The longingly agitated modernity of the fantasy of Dvořák’s pupil and son-in-law Josef Suk with its subtle shades and surprising changes additionally shows the great potential of Hemsing and her colllaborators.

Review: Dvořák&Suk Recording in Süddeutsche (DE)

“…mit der 28 Jahre alten Eldbjørg Hemsing begeistert nun wieder eine junge Geigerin aus Norwegen. Hemsing ist nicht nur eine feinsinnige und kluge Interpretin, sie entlockt ihrer Guadagnini auch einen sehr persönlichen, unverwechselbaren Geigenton. Zart, intim und filigran wirkt er im Kern, dabei aber selbst im gehauchten Piano noch sinnlich und klangvoll.”

Julia Spinola | 2. Oktober 2018 | Süddeutsche Zeitung

Es muss etwas Verzauberndes in den nordischen Fjorden und Berglandschaften liegen. Nachdem die bereits mehrfach preisgekrönte Vilde Frang die internationalen Podien erobert hat, begeistert mit der 28 Jahre alten Eldbjørg Hemsing nun wieder eine junge Geigerin aus Norwegen. Mit Musik des weitgehend unbekannten norwegischen Komponisten Hjalmar Borgström hatte sie im April ihr Debüt gegeben. Auch auf ihrer zweiten CD meidet sie jetzt die ausgetretenen Pfade und spielt neben Antonín Dvořáks Violinkonzert die selten zu hörende Fantasie in g-Moll für Violine und Orchester von Dvořáks Schwiegersohn Josef Suk. Hemsing ist nicht nur eine feinsinnige und kluge Interpretin, sie entlockt ihrer Guadagnini auch einen sehr persönlichen, unverwechselbaren Geigenton. Zart, intim und filigran wirkt er im Kern, dabei aber selbst im gehauchten Piano noch sinnlich und klangvoll. Im leidenschaftlichen Forte, etwa im Eröffnungsthema des Dvořák-Konzerts, beginnt dieser eindringlich singende Ton irisierend zu leuchten. Mit ein wenig Fantasie hört man hier den großen David Oistrach heraus, dessen Schüler Boris Kuschnir Hemsings Lehrer war.


Fanfare Review of Eldbjørg Hemsing’s second solo album release

“…flawless intonation, a lovely tone, and, in the bargain, magical phrasing. The finest musicians possess both a keen, unique musical insight, and the technical ability to communicate those insights to their audiences. Hemsing is such an artist. And throughout, Hemsing plays with a true sense of joy that is irresistible… If you are looking for a superb version of the Dvořák Violin Concerto in first-rate sound, the new Hemsing BIS issue gets my unqualified recommendation… This new BIS recording by Eldbørg Hemsing documents the work of a major artist.”

Ken Meltzer | Fanfare | 2 August 2018

Earlier this year (Issue 41:6, July/August 2018), my Fanfare colleagues Colin Clarke and Jerry Dubins offered the highest praise for a debut disc on the BIS label, featuring Norwegian violinist Eldbørg Hemsing performing the Shostakovich Concerto No. 1, and the Concerto in G, op. 25 by Hjalmar Borgström. Now it is my turn to do the same for Ms. Hemsing’s subsequent release, a pairing of the Dvořák Violin Concerto with two works by his pupil and son-in-law, Czech composer Josef Suk, the Fantasy in G minor, and Liebeslied, op. 7, no. 1.

To be sure, the recorded competition in the Dvořák Concerto is strong. My favorites are a 1950s EMI version with Nathan Milstein, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and William Steinberg, and an early-1960s Supraphon disc with Josef Suk (the composer’s namesake and grandson) as soloist, and Karel Ančerlleading the Czech Philharmonic. Hemsing’s new version belongs in that august company. After appearing as soloist in the January 1, 1879 world premiere of the Brahms Violin Concerto, Joseph Joachim requested Dvořák to write a similar work for him. Joachim did not ultimately perform the premiere of the Dvořák Violin Concerto (that honor went to the distinguished Czech violinist František Ondříček). Nevertheless, Joachim worked closely with Dvořák in the creation of the Violin Concerto, with the expectation that it would serve as a showcase for his talents. Of course, Joachim was one of the greatest violinists of the 19thcentury, and the Dvořák Concerto demands a virtuoso of the highest order. Hemsing is more than equal to all of the challenges. Throughout, the soloist is often called upon to play mercilessly exposed passages in the highest reaches of the instrument. Hemsing dispatches these episodes with flawless intonation, a lovely tone, and, in the bargain, magical phrasing. Much the same may be said about all of the virtuoso sections of the work. I don’t think the adjective “breathtaking” to describe Hemsing’s playing is at all hyperbolic. But focusing upon isolated passages in Hemsing’s interpretation risks not doing it justice. To me, the most compelling aspect of Hemsing’s account of the Dvořák Concerto may be found in her grasp of the work’s overall architecture. Throughout, I had the distinct impression that the soloist was approaching each portion with the intent of seamlessly connecting it to what follows. The finest musicians possess both a keen, unique musical insight, and the technical ability to communicate those insights to their audiences. Hemsing is such an artist. And throughout, Hemsing plays with a true sense of joy that is irresistible. While I don’t think that the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Alan Buribayev, equals the tonal richness and vibrant playing of Pittsburgh/Steinberg and Czech Philharmonic/Ančerl, their contribution is of a high level. And the gorgeous recorded sound on the new BIS release offers a far more realistic and thrilling sonic picture than that offered by the prior recordings I mentioned, each well more than a half-century old. If you are looking for a superb version of the Dvořák Violin Concerto in first-rate sound, the new Hemsing BIS issue gets my unqualified recommendation.

In her first BIS recording, Eldbørg Hemsing made a conscious decision to pair a highly-familiar work (Shostakovich 1) with one that has languished in obscurity (Borgström G Major). Hemsing follows a similar approach in the new release, although both Josef Suk and his Fantasia in G minor are both far better known than the Borgström Concerto. Indeed, the Suk Fantasia has frequently appeared as a disc companion to the Dvořák Concerto. Suk was a highly accomplished composer (and for that matter, violinist), who was capable of individual, expressive, and emotionally powerful music (his Asrael Symphony, for example). The Suk Fantasy strikes me as a rather episodic work, but one containing many attractive episodes that certainly afford the soloist the opportunity to display both technical and interpretive prowess. It’s not surprising that Hemsing plays this work superbly as well. But here, I think that the intensity Ančerl and the Czech Philharmonic bring to their 1965 recording with the wonderful Suk (the younger) make a better overall case for the piece.

The BIS recording concludes with Stephan Koncz’s transcription for violin and orchestra of Suk’s Liebeslied, from his Six Piano Pieces, op. 7. It’s a lovely, romantic work that Hemsing plays with great affection.

The booklet includes brief commentary from Hemsing, an essay on the works by Philip Borg-Wheeler, and artist bios (in English, German, and French). Thisnew BIS recording by Eldbørg Hemsing documents the work of a major artist. If you are at all interested in hearing her, and/or are in the market for recordings of the featured works, please do not hesitate. Very highly recommended.


Norwegian Discovery – Hemsing plays Borgström

Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing shows courage. On her debut recording she performs a violin concerto of Hjalmar Borgström, which is almost not known, and one of Shostakovich, on which famous colleagues have overstretched themselves. But Eldbjørg Hemsing already in her first attempt succeeds with grandiosity.

Christoph Vratz | Deutschlandfunk | 3. Juni 2018

Eine Sinfonie von Joachim Kaiser? Eine Klaviersonate von Karl Schumann oder Ulrich Schreiber? Eine Kantate von Eleonore Büning oder Manuel Brug? Was uns heutzutage in der Literatur noch vergleichsweise häufig begegnet, dass Kritiker selbst zu Autoren werden, bildet in der Musik die Ausnahme. Dafür muss man schon zu Robert Schumann, Hector Berlioz oder Claude Debussy zurückgehen. Doch auch für sie gilt: Sie wurden und werden vor allem als Komponisten wahrgenommen, und erst in zweiter oder dritter Linie als Musikkritiker. Bei Hjalmar Borgström hingegen ist das anders. Von 1907 bis zu seinem Tod 1925 schrieb er in seiner norwegischen Heimat Musikkritiken und wurde damit zu einer nationalen Instanz. Das Komponieren geriet für ihn mehr und mehr zum “Nebenbei”. Umso erstaunlicher, dass er nebenbei 1914 ein Violinkonzert schreibt.

Allegro con spirito, so hat Borgström das Finale zu seinem Violinkonzert überschrieben. Die Geige eröffnet furios. Dann klinkt sich das Orchester ein und bereitet den Boden für die weitere Gestaltung des Eingangsthemas: Es dominiert pure Spiellust, halb ungarisch “alla zingarese”, halb im Sinne der norwegischen Fiddle-Tradition.

Komponist mit eigenem Kopf und ohne nationale Scheuklappen

Erinnert dieser Beginn des Finalsatzes nicht ein wenig an das Violinkonzert von Johannes Brahms? Die Intervalle bei der Sologeige, die ungezügelte Spielfreude? Originär norwegisch klingt das jedenfalls nicht. Dafür gibt es biographische Gründe. Denn Borgström hat vorwiegend in Deutschland, ab 1887 in Leipzig und ab 1890 in Berlin studiert, wo er in Ferruccio Busoni einen prominenten Fürsprecher fand. Borgström selbst war fasziniert von der Macht der Programmmusik im Sinne eines Franz Liszt und auch von der Klangsprache Richard Wagners. Wieder zurück in Norwegen war Borgströms Musik nur wenig Erfolg beschieden. Das lag sicher auch daran, dass sie eben kein spezifisch norwegisches Idiom aufweist wie bei Edvard Grieg. Auch Grieg hatte in Deutschland studiert, wollte aber in Norwegen eine nationale Tonsprache etablieren. Genau das wollte Borgström nicht. Er wählte einen eigenen Weg. Sein Œuvre ist insgesamt, mit je zwei Opern und Sinfonien, wenigen Konzerten und Solowerken, eher schmal.

Erst ein Mal, nämlich im Jahr 2008, ist Borgströms Violinkonzert auf CD dokumentiert worden, mit Jonas Båtstrand, dem Sinfonieorchester der Norrlandsoperan und Terje Boye Hansen am Pult. Jetzt liegt das Werk in einer Neueinspielung vor. Sie übertrifft die ältere Version deutlich. Dabei handelt es sich um die Debüt-CD der norwegischen Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing. Schon als Fünfjährige hat sie mit ihrer Schwester vor der Königsfamilie ihres Heimatlandes konzertiert. Mit elf Jahren trat sie erstmals mit den Philharmonikern aus Bergen auf. Mit 22 erfolgte ihr internationaler Durchbruch, als sie sich bei der Friedensnobelpreisverleihung in Oslo präsentierte. Studiert hat Hemsing unter anderem in Wien. Die Noten zu Borgströms Konzert bekam sie bereits vor einigen Jahren geschenkt, doch blieben sie zunächst unbeachtet in einer Ecke liegen. Als die Geigerin dann doch einen genaueren Blick wagte, war sie schnell entflammt. “Was für eine fantastisch schöne, romantische Musik, und dabei auch noch gut spielbar”, so wird Hemsing in der Wochenzeitung “Die Zeit” zitiert. Die Wiener Symphoniker unter Olari Elts eröffnen dieses Violinkonzert, und nach nur wenigen Takten tritt bereits die Sologeige hinzu, anders als in den gewichtigen Traditions-Konzerten von Beethoven und Brahms. Auch wenn der Einsatz der Pauke am Beginn doch ein bisschen an das Beethoven-Konzert erinnert.

Die Tempi der Sätze zwei und drei sind in beiden vorliegenden Einspielungen nahezu gleich. Nur im ersten Satz sind Eldbjørg Hemsing und das Wiener Orchester etwas langsamer unterwegs, dafür mit ungleich klarerem Gestus. Die Übergänge gelingen fließend und natürlich, die Steigerungen organisch. Hemsings Ton leuchtet hell, aber nicht grell oder vordergründig brillant. Sie spielt durchaus mit Schmelz, aber frei von Kitsch. Wenn im Mittelteil des ersten Satzes die Musik immer dramatischere Züge annimmt, wenn Sologeige und Orchester sich mehr und mehr in einen Disput steigern, behauptet sich Hemsing geradezu kühn – mit Kraft und gleichzeitig mit einem flammenden Ton.

Top-Geigerin mit großer Klangfarbenpalette

Eldbjørg Hemsing spielt auf einer Guadagnini-Geige aus dem Jahr 1754, die ihr eine Stiftung zur Verfügung gestellt hat. Das Instrument ist, selten genug, fast noch im Originalzustand. Man muss sich nicht allzu weit aus dem Fenster lehnen, um zu behaupten, dass man von Hemsing künftig noch einiges hören wird. Denn wie sie im langsamen Satz mit warmen, fast bronzenen Klangfarben arbeitet, um zwischenzeitlich mit größter Selbstverständlichkeit den Ton ins Silbrige zu verlagern, das zeugt von großer Klasse und verspricht einiges für ihre Zukunft.

Was diese Einspielung so besonders macht, ist die Selbstverständlichkeit, mit der Eldbjørg Hemsing die leisen und sehr leisen Passagen meistert. Dann lässt sie ihre Geige wundervoll singen: geheimnisvoll und poetisch, arios und tänzerisch. unterstützt durch die zarten Zupfer der Streicher und kurze Intermezzi der Klarinette.

Vieles an dieser neuen Einspielung ist ungewöhnlich, vor allem das Programm. Denn eine direkte Verbindungslinie zwischen Hjalmar Borgström und Dmitri Schostakowitsch gibt es nicht. Als der Norweger 1925 mit 61 Jahren starb, war sein russischer Kollege erst noch auf dem Sprung zu einer großen Karriere. Schostakowitschs erstes Violinkonzert entstand 1948, zu einer Zeit, als die stalinistische Partei sein Schaffen mit Argus-Augen überwachte. Was nicht mit ihren Richtlinien konform ging, wurde abgelehnt, und der Komponist hatte Repressalien zu fürchten. Daher erfolgte die Premiere dieses Konzertes erst im Jahr 1955 mit David Oistrach als Solist.

Auch in diesem Konzert bilden Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing, die Wiener Symphoniker und Olari Elts eine Einheit. Das zeigt besonders der schroffe Gegensatz zwischen dem dunklen, einleitenden Notturno und dem bizarren Scherzo. Wie hier die säuselnden Bläser, Bassklarinette und Flöte, mit den schroffen Akzenten der Solovioline kontrastieren, das verrät Schärfe, Bitternis und, bezeichnend für Schostakowitsch, beißenden Humor. Das gilt in gleichem Maße für die sich unmittelbar anschließende Passage, wenn die Geige das Kommando übernimmt und die Streicher hinzutreten.

Verträumt bis bärbeißig – Schostakowitschs erstes Violinkonzert

Eldbjørg Hemsing ist gewiss kein musikalischer Muskelprotz, dem es in erster Linie auf äußere Effekte ankommt. Die Norwegerin erweist sich als sensible Künstlerin, die sich und ihren Ton immer wieder genauer Prüfung unterzieht. Daher findet sie für jede Stimmung einen adäquaten Ausdruck, ob verträumt und nach innen gekehrt oder bärbeißig und virtuos. Ihre technischen und musikalischen Fähigkeiten gehen Hand in Hand. Wenn es, wie im Finalsatz von Schostakowitschs erstem Violinkonzert, schnell zugeht, spiegelt diese Aufnahme den experimentellen Geist des Komponisten. Doch trotz der vielen, teils schnellen rhythmischen und dynamischen Umschwünge: Hemsings Geige klirrt nie, auch geraten die kurzen Linien nicht aus dem Fokus. Die Solistin weiß genau, wo sie hinmöchte und wie sie die Höhepunkte ansteuern muss, um deren ganze Wirkung so spontan und natürlich wie möglich herauszuarbeiten. Das ist eindrucksvoll und rundet den sehr positiven, stellenweise herausragenden Gesamteindruck dieser neuen Produktion ab.

Heute haben wir Ihnen die Debüt-CD der Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing vorgestellt. Mit den Wiener Symphonikern und Olari Elts hat sie Violinkonzerte von Hjalmar Borgström und Dmitri Schostakowitsch aufgenommen, erschienen ist sie als SACD beim schwedischen Label BIS.


Portrait of Eldbjørg Hemsing in “KlickKlack” | BR-KLASSIK | 7th May 2018

“KlickKlack”, music magazine for Classical Music, Jazz and good Pop Music, is the only format in which two world stars – cellist Sol Gabetta an percussionist Martin Grubinger – are giving the TV viewers a very close experience on how professional artist work, rehearse and perform. The imagery is modern, the camera extremely subjective.

Eldbjørg Hemsing has been guest of Martin Grubinger in the BR-KLASSIK “KlickKlack” feature from 7th May 2018, beside Michael Sanderling, Chief Conductor of Dresden Philharmonic, Gautier Capuçon, French cellist, and pianist Jens Thomas.


Credits: Photography by Nikolaj Lund

“9/10 Stars – Eldbjørg Hemsing succeeds with a convincing debut which makes curious for further releases of this young artist.”

Norbert Florian Schuck | Klassik Heute | 18th May 2018

Es ist immer wieder erfreulich, wenn junge Interpreten ihr CD-Debüt dazu nutzen, Werke zu präsentieren, die man nicht alle Tage zu hören bekommt. So hat sich die norwegische Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing entschieden, ihre erste Aufnahme als Konzertsolistin mit dem 1914 uraufgeführten Violinkonzert ihres Landsmannes Hjalmar Borgström zu eröffnen.

Im Beiheft erfährt man, dass Borgström – er schrieb seinen Namen demonstrativ mit ö statt ø – sich für die zeitgenössische deutsche Musik stark machte und bei Edvard Grieg, der ihm Desinteresse an norwegischer Nationalidiomatik vorwarf, auf Unverständnis stieß. Nun rekurriert Borgströms Konzert tatsächlich nicht offensiv auf Volksmusiktopoi, doch klingt das Werk weder nach Wagner, noch nach Brahms, und schon gar nicht nach Strauss oder Reger. Stattdessen hört man deutlich, dass Borgström ein Generationsgenosse Halvorsens und Sindings ist. Mittels einer reichen Klangfarbenpalette – immer wieder begegnen interessante Instrumentationseinfälle – entfaltet der Komponist unter weitgehendem Verzicht auf handwerkliche Kunststücke schlichte, gesangliche Melodien, aus deren Wendungen man, Grieg zum Trotz, durchaus auf einen Skandinavier schließen kann. Für das Soloinstrument ist das Konzert anspruchs- und wirkungsvoll geschrieben, ohne ein Virtuosenstück zu sein. Sein introvertierter Charakter zeigt sich nicht zuletzt darin, dass sowohl der Kopfsatz, als auch das Finale, die beide nur mäßig schnell sind, leise enden. Die Interpretation, die ihm durch Eldbjørg Hemsing und die Wiener Symphoniker unter Olari Elts zuteil wird, dürfe sich gut dazu eignen, dem schönen Werk Freunde zu gewinnen. Der kantable Gestus des Stückes kommt Hemsing offenbar entgegen. Sie besitzt ein sicheres Gespür für die abwechslungsreiche Gestaltung wie für die Verknüpfung der einzelnen Phrasen, so dass in ihren Händen die Musik stets in angenehmem Fluss bleibt. Vom Vibrato macht sie dabei reichlichen, aber nicht übermäßigen Gebrauch.

Über ihren Lehrer Boris Kuschnir ist Eldbjørg Hemsing Enkelschülerin David Oistrachs. So verwundert es nicht, dass sie sich dem Oistrach gewidmeten Violinkonzert Nr. 1 von Dmitrij Schostakowitsch besonders verbunden fühlt und dieses als zweites Stück auf der CD erscheint. Auch dem von Borgströms Idiom sehr verschiedenen Stil Schostakowitschs erweist sie sich als vollauf gewachsen. Namentlich zeigt sich dies in den raschen Sätzen des Werkes, in denen die Vorzüge ihres Spiels auch bei forscherer Artikulation deutlich werden.

Olari Elts lässt die Wiener Symphoniker in beiden Violinkonzerten als verlässlichen Partner agieren, dessen Spiel mit dem der Solistin trefflich harmoniert. Auch er ist ein Musiker, der es versteht, die einzelnen Klänge in große Bögen einzubetten. Hervorheben möchte ich diesbezüglich den Beginn der Passacaglia im Schostakowitsch-Konzert, der übrigens – wie auch der Anfang des Borgström-Konzerts – zeigt, dass die Wiener Symphoniker über einen ausgezeichneten Pauker verfügen.

Das Klangbild der Aufnahme hält weitgehend mit der Qualität der Darbietungen Schritt. Das Verhältnis von Soloinstrument und Orchester ist insgesamt ausgewogen, was allerdings auch den Kompositionen zuzuschreiben ist: Aller stilistischen Unterschiede ungeachtet eint Borgström und Schostakowitsch ihre Vorliebe zu durchsichtiger Instrumentation mit prägnanten Klangmischungen, so dass selbst bei deutlicher Fokussierung der Aufnahme auf das Soloinstrument – wie hier geschehen – die orchestralen Effekte nicht an Wirkung einbüßen. Einzig in der fugierten Durchführung von Schostakowitschs Scherzo tritt die Violine etwas zu deutlich hervor. Hier wäre eine stärkere Akzentuierung der jeweils themenführenden Instrumente wünschenswert gewesen. Den insgesamt sehr guten Eindruck, den die CD hinterlässt, schmälert dies jedoch kaum. Eldbjørg Hemsing ist ein überzeugendes Debüt gelungen, auf weitere Veröffentlichungen der jungen Künstlerin darf man neugierig sein.


Borgström violin concerto and Shostakovich violin concerto no. 1

With her solo debut recording Eldbjørg Hemsing entered the Top 20 of the German Classic Charts of May 2018, representing the timeframe from April 13 until May 10, 2018. The album which has been released as high-resolution (SA)CD on the acclaimed Swedish label BIS is featuring violin concertos by Hjalmar Borgström and Dmitri Shostakovich, recorded with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Olari Elts.

  1. Ludovico Einaudi – Elements
  2. Katja Riemann, Lucas & Arthur Jussen – Saint-Saëns: Der Karneval der Tiere
  3. Riccardo Muti & Wiener Philharmoniker – Neujahrskonzert 2018
  4. Tōnu Kaljuste & NFM Wrocław Philharmonic – Arvo Pärt: The Symphonies
  5. Ludovico Einaudi – Islands | Essential Einaudi
  6. Gautier Capuçon – Intuition
  7. Daniel Hope & Zürcher Kammerorchester – Handel Arias
  8. Menahem Pressler – Clair De Lune
  9. Midori Seiler & Concerto Köln – Vivaldi: La Venezia di Anna Maria
  10. Alexandre Riabko, Hamburg Ballet & John Neumeier – Nijinsky: A Ballet By John Neumeier
  11. Jonas Kaufmann – L’Opéra
  12. Nuria Rial & Maurice Steger – Baroque Twitter
  13. Cecilia Bartoli & Sol Gabetta – Dolce Duello
  14. Jonas Kaufmann – Dolce Vita
  15. Jóhann Jóhannsson – Englabörn & Variations
  16. Nils Mönkemeyer – Baroque
  17. Bjarte Engeset – Grieg: Complete Orchestral Works
  18. Diego Fasolis, Julia Lezhneva & I Barocchisti – Vivaldi: Gloria
  19. Eldbjørg Hemsing – Borgström & Schostakowitsch: Violinkonzerte
  20. The King’s Singers – Gold

> Weblink to German Classic Charts of May 2018 at “Concerti”


Eldbjørg Hemsing on Borgström’s Violin Concerto

Katherine Cooper | Presto Classical | 14th May 2018

For her debut solo recording (out now on BIS), the Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing pairs Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with a very different (and far less familiar) work: the lush 1914 Violin Concerto by composer and music-journalist Hjalmar Borgstrøm, who initially studied in Oslo with his compatriot Johan Svendsen but went on to pursue a consciously Germanic style after spending time in Leipzig and Berlin.

I spoke to her recently about why this attractively lyrical work has fallen off the radar, where it sits in relation to other early twentieth-century concertos, and her immediate plans for further recordings…

The Borgstrøm concerto is a real curiosity – how did you come across it in the first place?

It was a bit of a chance encounter, really: a family friend sent a pile of sheet-music to my home in London which included the score, and I set it to one side for a while but when I started to go through it in detail I was really intrigued because it’s just so beautiful. It had only ever been performed twice (in Norway), so essentially it was completely forgotten: no-one knew about this piece, and I think it’s a great discovery!

Do you have any theories as to why his music never really entered the repertoire?

There are several factors, I think. First of all it’s because Borgstrøm was a little bit behind the curve in many ways: his timing was not the best! He was composing in this late Romantic style at a time when people were already branching out and moving away from that; of course there had been Grieg, who spent a lot of time travelling around and using folk-music in a very different way from Borgstrøm, who was much more interested in Romantic ideals. He spent a total of fifteen years in Germany, initially studying in Leipzig and then living in Berlin for many years – but by the time this concerto was premiered in 1914, World War One had broken out and in Norway it was considered almost improper to continue in this very German musical tradition. He also composed quite a few symphonic poems, an opera and some piano music, but I haven’t been able to find out very much about them because there aren’t that many studies in print!

You pair the Borgstrøm with Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto – what was the thought-process behind the coupling?

When the offer came to make my first recording I knew I wanted to include the Shostakovich – I studied the piece from a very young age and have performed it a great deal. It’s painfully emotional and really dark: you’re really pushed to the limit of what you can express as a human being, and I thought that with a piece like that you need something that’s very much a contrast. I wanted something that was the complete opposite, something much more lyrical and ‘white’ in sound, something Romantic…and the Borgstrøm seemed to fit the bill perfectly, particularly because people don’t know it!

Are there any other Norwegian concertos that you’d like to bring back to life – Sinding, for instance?

I used to believe that if something wasn’t performed very often there was probably a reason for it (ie that that quality wasn’t good enough!) but I have to say that since discovering Borgstrøm I’ve actually become very curious about what there is out there, so I definitely would like to go on a journey to see what else I might find…!

Given that many listeners will be new to this work, could you point us in the direction of one or two personal highlights in the piece?

I think there’s a particularly special moment in the first movement: there’s quite a long introduction before you come to the first melody, which initially comes in the strings, and it’s very pure and lyrical and tender. And the second movement is my favourite in many ways – it’s like an operatic aria, and it reminds me of something but I can’t quite put my finger on what…It’s very familiar in a sense, but at the same time it has its own very individual sound.

Do you see any parallels with other violin concertos which were written at around the same time? I hear echoes of the Sibelius concerto here and there…

Yes, there’s definitely something similar about both the melodies and the chords – the Sibelius concerto was written 10 years prior to this, so it’s not unlikely that Borgstrøm knew it! But there’s also an operatic quality to the work that reminds me of Wagner in places…

What are your immediate plans on the recording front?

I’m about to start recording with the Oslo Philharmonic and Tan Dun, whom I first met eight years ago. We’ve done a lot of projects together, and this one includes one brand-new concerto and some other smaller pieces.

And the two of you share a passionate interest in the folk music of your respective countries…

Indeed. I started playing the violin when I was very young and I also studied the Hardanger fiddle alongside it, because the area where I come from is very rich in folk-music; I’ve continued to play both instruments and I try to make sure that every year I do some projects which include folk music because I think it’s very important to keep it fresh and alive.


“…Eldbjørg Hemsing […] makes a good start with this powerful performance. A gorgeous, open-hearted piece, full of flowing lyricism, to which she brings warm and beautiful playing… Hemsing weaves steadily and unfussily, but with increasing emotional intensity. The finale scuttles along brilliantly.”

Tim Homfray | The Strad | 9th May 2018

The Norwegian composer Hjalmar Borgström was famous in his day but quickly fell into obscurity, his music bedded in the Germanic 19th century and considered old-fashioned and ‘not Norwegian enough’ at the beginning of the 20th. His compatriot Eldbjørg Hemsing wants to bring him back to notice, and makes a good start with this powerful performance of his 1914 Violin Concerto.

It is a gorgeous, open-hearted piece, full of flowing lyricism, to which she brings warm and beautiful playing. Her phrasing is supple and nuanced, flecked with neat little touches of vibrato and variations of dynamic. The central Adagio is far-ranging, moving from musing opening to a jaunty central section, and on to something more torridly passionate before leading straight into the dancing finale. Hemsing deftly handles all the transitions.

It is a bit of a gear-change from Borgström to austere Shostakovich (Bruch would have worked nicely). Hemsing weaves steadily and unfussily, but with increasing emotional intensity, to the climactic double-stops of the first movement. In the Scherzo she plays with an edge of violence, biting and snapping. The orchestra matches her vivid playing, but the recording sets it in the background, in a resonant acoustic. She is as fine in the third movement as the first in progressively ratcheting up the tension before easing down into the cadenza, which in its turn grows steadily to a searing climax. The finale scuttles along brilliantly.


“PIZZICATO SUPERSONIC AWARD: An excellent interpretation of Shostakovich’s first Violin Concerto is paired with the almost unknown, yet interesting concerto written by Norwegian composer Hjalmar Borgström, which equally experiences a more than adequate performance.”

Uwe Krusch | Pizzicato | 7th May 2018

Eröffnet wird diese CD mit dem Violinkonzert von Hjalmar Bjorgström. Wie so viele Norweger hatte er seine Ausbildung in Deutschland, in seinem Fall in Leipzig erhalten. Fand er auch das Studium an und für sich wenig als bereichernd, so inspirierte ihn die reiche Musikkultur, weswegen er lange verweilte. Als er dann endlich nach Norwegen zurückkehrte, war er so in dieser Welt verfangen, dass er dem hochromantischen Stil treu blieb und sich auch nicht darum bemühte, Elemente der norwegischen Musik in sein Wirken aufzunehmen. Das registrierte Grieg mit Verwunderung.

Das Violinkonzert von Borgström ist also diesem romantischen Stil verbunden und, wie der neutrale Titel anzeigt, auch ohne programmatischen Hintergrund, wenn es auch einen narrativen Charakter hat.

Klassisch ist die dreisätzige Form und man hat immer wieder den Eindruck, alte Bekannte wie Brahms, Mendelssohns, Schumann zu treffen, da es die Sprache seiner berühmten Vorgänger intuitiv übernimmt. Dennoch kann man ihm kein Plagiat vorwerfen. Das Stück entwickelt durchaus einen eigenen Charme und ist handwerklich nach allen Regeln meisterhaft gestaltet. Nur hinkt es den neuen musikalischen Entwicklungen zur Entstehungszeit 1914 hinterher.

Eldbjorg Hemsing kann geigerisch aus dem Vollen schöpfen. Ihr Spiel strahlt Souveränität aus, es ist temperamentvoll und bietet dem Hörer einen klaren und schlackenlosen Ton. Dadurch kann sie diese Rarität im Repertoire so ausleuchten, dass das vielleicht ein wenig biedere Werk trotzdem erstrahlt und man mit Interesse bei der Stange bleibt. Ihre hochentwickelten gestalterischen Fertigkeiten setzt sie danach für eine durch und durch überzeugende Darstellung von Shostakovichs erstem Konzert ein. Dieses eine breite Palette von Stimmungen abbildende Werk durchdringt sie mit derartiger Tiefe der Darstellung, dass es eine reine Freude ist. Besonders die Passacaglia lebt von der auch die kleinsten Nuancen auslotenden und herauskitzelnden Ruhe, bevor sie die Burlesque kunstvoll ausgetanzt.

Gemeinsam mit den galant zupackenden Wiener Symphonikern unter Olari Elts werden alle Farben der beiden Werke effektvoll zur Geltung gebracht. Die ausgezeichnete Technik der Aufnahme vervollständigt die positiv zu benennenden Punkte.


Rating 6/6 Stars: “Eldbjørg Hemsing’s wide spectrum of sound and delicate virtuosity fits this concerto very well. She shows a technique and a virtuosity that is admirable. This recording can in many ways be regarded as Hemsing’s masterpiece – and she has passed this exam with flying colors.”

Trond Erikson | Den Klassiske CD-Bloggen | 7th May 2018

A Masterpiece

These are two widely different violin concertos for which Eldbjørg Hemsing has collaborated with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. And you are captured by her violin playing, which makes both of these concertos perfect.

Hjalmar Borgström (1864-1925) and his music have in many ways received a new spring in recent years. His opera “Thora on Rimul” and not least the orchestral works “Hamlet” (for piano and orchestra) and “Tanken”, as well as the violin sonata, have helped give Borgström the place he deserves in music history. His music is not “Norwegian” in the sense that he walks in Grieg’s footsteps. He stayed for long periods in Germany and gained much of his inspiration from European music life.

The quality of this “forgotten” concert is very good. And Eldbjørg Hemsing’s wide spectrum of sound and her delicate virtuosity fits this concerto very well. She has a musical timbre range that is impressive, something she greatly utilizes in this violin concerto.

That she knows well and masters the music of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) is beyond doubt. His first violin concerto is intense with its rhythmic and intense sound colors, and its is undoubtedly a masterpiece.

A number of great violinists have recorded this work – and the first was David Oistrakh, to whom the concerto is dedicated.

Hemsing has studied this work with the Ukrainian musician and Professor Boris Kushnir – a very good choice as she performs this concerto with a solid dose of Eastern European understanding. There is not a single tone that remains anonymous in her interpretation. She shows a technique and a virtuosity that is admirable.

Supporting her, Eldbjørg Hemsing has the very good Vienna Symphony Orchestra, attentively and skilfully led by Estonian conductor Olari Elts.

This recording can in many ways be regarded as Hemsing’s masterpiece – and she has passed this exam with flying colors.


Eldbjørg Hemsing prominently featured in May 2018 issue of CLASSICAL MUSIC magazine (UK)

Violinist Jack Liebeck curates this strings edition of Classical Music encompassing his many artistic passions, from music education and photography through to practical advice for performers on maintaining healthy technique and taking instruments on tour. Professors Brian Cox, Robert Winston and Brian Foster explore the relationship between science and music; the benefits of hand therapy for common musicians’ injuries; CITES and travelling with instruments; the art of photographing performers; and what happens when students exercise their rights as consumers in higher education?

Plus, violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing turns up the Romantic heat in Norway; Joanna MacGregor celebrates the 70th anniversary of Dartington International Summer School; Orchestra Manager of the Year Sue Mallet; percussionist and conductor Thomas Søndergård; the role of a recording producer; Gallicantus tackle Orlande de Lassus’s sibylline prophecies; and osteopathy for musicians.

> More details in the digital and print version of CLASSICAL MUSIC


“…an outstanding artist with a warm tone, accurate and precise playing… Eldbjørg Hemsing gives the second movement, the Scherzo, a bewitching and hypnotic interpretation, unforgettable. The other three movements, in the pure style of the Russian musician, place this perfectly controlled version at the level of the greatest recordings. The Vienna Symphony, conducted by the rigorous and experienced Estonian Olari Elts (born in 1971), shares the outstanding merits and contributes to making this recording a subject of legitimate lust and curiosity.”

Jean-Luc Caron | ResMusica | 1 May 2018

Three decades separate the Borgström and Shostakovich concertos for violin and orchestra, representatives of two irreconcilable, if not contradictory, worlds admirably defended on the BIS label.

Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing (born 1990), an outstanding artist with a warm tone, accurate and precise playing, has a very honorable career. Her subtle understanding of music is regularly emphasized. This recording, if necessary, furnishes us with a new proof.

The concerto for violin in G major by his compatriot Hjalmar Borgström (1864-1925), a contemporary of Carl Nielsen, returns to the light. He deserves it amply. The fame of this pupil from Leipzig (where he traveled in 1887), who was an ardent defender of German orchestral music and program music, was eclipsed by the eruption of the new modernity emerging around the First World War. His lack of enthusiasm for Norwegian musical nationalism and its icon Edvard Grieg surely contributed to his marginalization. However, the Kristiania Concerto, which was premiered in 1914, was well received because of its rich and abundant melodic writing, passionate, lyrical, rhapsodic, and some splendidly orchestrated passages. In the Adagio there are a few repetitive steps that are strikingly reminiscent of a section of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto (1941)!

Shostakovich’s Concerto for Violin No. 1 in A minor (1948, revised in 1955), written for David Oistrakh and valiantly defended by him (and recorded twice), transports us to another world, fascinating, exuberant and dark, alternately marked by harshness, caricatural dancing and insistent hammering, a concealed confession of the true state of mind of a rebellious and wounded creator. Eldbjørg Hemsing gives the second movement, the Scherzo, a bewitching and hypnotic interpretation, unforgettable. The other three movements, in the pure style of the Russian musician, place this perfectly controlled version at the level of the greatest recordings (David Oistrach, Maxime Shostakovich, EMI, 1972, Lydia Mordkovich, Neeme Jarvi, Chandos, 1989, Yefim Bronfman, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sony, 2003).

The Vienna Symphony, conducted by the rigorous and experienced Estonian Olari Elts (born in 1971), shares the outstanding merits and contributes to making this recording a subject of legitimate lust and curiosity.


Credits: Photography by Nikolaj Lund

Violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing: ‘in the moments when magic happens, you think, that’s why we do this’

On a Norwegian rediscovery, communication and twentysomething enterprise

by David Nice | | 28 April 2018

In a classical recording industry seemingly obsessed with marketing beautiful young female violinists, but very often presenting them in repertoire to which most of them seem to have little individual to add, how do you make your mark? Norwegian Eldbjørg Hemsing came up with a bright idea typical of a thoughtful approach in which the music always comes first: to twin a 1914 concerto she genuinely admires by a compatriot very few people will know, Hjalmar Borgstrøm (1864-1925), with what is perhaps the ultimate 20th century challenge to violinists, Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto.

Is the Borgstrøm concerto a neglected masterpiece? No. Is it worth hearing? Absolutely, not only for its authenticity and sincerity of utterance, but also because Hemsing uses it to showcase the lyrical soul of the violin (it’s rich in melodies, some more distinctive than others). Graham Rickson expands in this week’s classical CDs roundup. I admired the new BIS disc enough to make the trip to Bodø above the Arctic Circle in Norway to hear a live performance, not least because I was interested to see how it withstood the “live” test in this much-redeveloped town’s jewel, the concert hall designed in conjunction with the library on the harbour by London-based practice DRDH (architects Daniel Rosbottom and David Howarth).

It held the attention throughout, not least because Hemsing was as much the guiding force behind the work as Eivind Gullberg Jensen, conducting the combined NOSO (North Norwegian Opera and Symphony Orchestra) and Arctic Philharmonic (the performance pictured below by Synne M Tommersberg for Stormen Konserthus). Hemsing was vivacious company at supper afterwards, and the next morning we sat down to talk not only about the work but also about her focused philosophy of music-making.

DAVID NICE Can we start where everybody will, with the debut disc and this very clever idea of twinning a concerto which most of us don’t know with the Shostakovich First Violin Concerto, which we do. Was that your idea or in conjunction with Robert von Bahr of BIS?

ELDBJØRG HEMSING No that was my idea, actually, and first I really wanted to record the Shostakovich, which is a piece I’ve had inside me since I was young, and I was studying with Boris Kushnir, who knew David Oistrakh [the dedicatee of the concerto], had the direct link, and was brought up in this whole environment, this political difficulty and the pain and the sorrow and the distress, and I felt fairly safe just knowing that there had been this contact, also that I played it quite a lot, I thought, OK, what do I play Shostakovich with? And I really wanted the biggest contrast possible, not only in having something unknown but also something that would give the biggest change in sound. For me Shostakovich, to put it simply, is really dark and heavy and you’re pushed as far as you can go as a human being.

And the audience is too…

Yes, it’s really that you are on the edge of your seat, hopefully, and Borgstrøm to me was the complete opposite, there were the beautiful, lyrical Nordic sounds, and I thought, that can be an interesting pairing.

It’s very daunting to be in a market with so many great recordings of the Shostakovich. You say it was the link back with the Oistrakh – did you know any of his recordings of the concerto?

Of course. By the way, this was actually recorded some time ago, and already I’m thinking, did I really do it like that?

You do it differently now?

I do, definitely. But that’s a whole part of why I waited so long for the recording. Because I was a bit afraid of this idea, that when you do something in a four-day recording sequence, that’s put on CD for ever, because music develops all the time, and that was a little bit limited to that time, OK, that’s how it sounded then, and maybe later it will sound different.

Then you can do the Second Concerto, which is astonishing.

It’s beautiful, so dark, too, but in a different way.

The Borgstrøm – my impression was that it’s a wonderful gift for a violinist, and it is your lyricism that carries it. It’s full of great ideas but it could sound a bit loose, you could think, where is this going? You’ve lived with it for quite some time. Do you feel that you’ve become more bound to it the more you’ve played it, and that there’s something deep underneath?

I think so, and there’ something about the piece that from the first moment I opened the score really spoke to me. It is as you say especially in the first movement quite fragmented, so it is a challenge which I think is quite fun to make sense of it, that it leads somewhere, that it has a long line hopefully, because it is very broken down, and the second movement luckily is more like an aria –

The way it opens up towards the end with the pizzicato accompaniment is a “wow’” moment, because you get a lot of breadth…

Exactly. It reminds me of something, I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but it’s a really beautiful moment, I think, and then the third movement is more like a folk dance, but it’s very hard to play, very up and down. It is definitely the challenge to try to keep the orchestra involved, not necessarily to make all one line, but to make it cohesive, and it’s fairly long – 35 to 36 minutes.

And the first movement feels big. That fantastic cadenza makes you really sit up, it’s a big event. Is it all written out?

Yes, and it’s quite a funny cadenza, because everything else is virtuosic, but not to that extent, and suddenly comes this up and down, here and there moment, but Borgstrøm obviously knew how the violin works, because it’s quite well written, actually.

You say you hear Norwegian intonations, we hear a few but to me it’s much more the lingua franca of late romanticism. What strikes you as particularly Norwegian?

There is a particular moment in the first movement when after a few of the runs I have a few trills and then I go on to the A string – it’s just very pure, not many layers, it’s only with the orchestral strings, then the wind come in shortly afterwards, it’s something about the chords and the purity, it’s not overly romantic, which I think is also the Nordic sound in a way, that it’s quite pure.

The orchestration some would call plain, but I think it’s very candid and one feels it comes from somewhere, it’s not “I’m writing a virtuoso concerto,” there’s real feeling. Yet he likes playing with what at the time would have been fairly forward-looking harmonies.

That’s true. He was quite an interesting composer, I think, and it was unfortunately for him just a case of bad timing. He really fell between two chairs, as we say.

Do you think he didn’t seem nationalistic enough to the Norwegians?

I think it’s a mix of different things. It’s a bit like you said because we had the union with Denmark and Sweden altogether for 500 years, at that point everyone was searching for national identity, for what is Norwegian, it was really a big search, and Grieg of course came in there, went round the country gathering folk tunes for his inspiration, and even to this day people identify that with what is Norwegian. Borgstrøm was more focused on Germanic and romantic ideals, and this is the school he wrote in, he spent at least 16 years in Berlin and Leipzig, his development took place there. Also when he wrote the concerto, that was 1914 and there were already new sounds around, it was just a bit old-fashioned in a way. With the two world wars, especially in Norway, it was not the most popular thing to continue with the old German ideas. I think it was a mix of all those things that kept him away from the centre.

It’s very refreshing to come back to a violin concerto that is entirely grateful to the player, because you must find this with a lot of new works, you’ve worked with Tan Dun quite a bit, but many contemporary composers work against the idea that the violin sings…

And I really hope they will come back to that, because I think it’s the purpose of the violin, it has to sing, it’s like a soprano, I really love playing something where you can find the right colours in the sounds, and if it’s too much effect then I feel there’s not really that much you can do with it as a performer.

It often seems to be the idea to make every sound but the legato.

Which is a bit weird, isn’t it? I think so.

I agree. But I think that time has probably passed, you’ve got people like John Adams writing fantastic works.

That’s true. No, I think the lyricism and the melodies have to be there, and I hope people will start writing like that again. Which may be a rather dangerous thing to say, but something more in that direction would be so refreshing it that point.

You may want to say something about Tan Dun, but do other contemporary composers stand out for you for writing gratefully for the violin, that you can think of?

There are many great ones, for sure, I haven’t worked so much on contemporary music other than with Tan Dun and some new Norwegian pieces, I have done a few of those. What I really love about Tan Dun is how rewarding it is to work with a living composer, who takes part in the whole process, and you can actually ask, what do you think of this piece, what is your inspiration, what character do you want at this point? Tan Dun also plays the violin himself so he knows how to write for it, and it’s really inspiring, and fun, too.

With Borgstrøm, you get a sense of his personality, and we were talking a bit last night about how this very dark music almost takes over the finale before the jolly melody comes back. Do you sense the melancholy figure underneath the freshness?

I think when you play the concerto and look at the picture of Borgstrøm, it’s two very conflicting images. Because he seems to have been very conservative and strict, he was also a music critic towards the end of his life, and famous for having a really sharp pen, he didn’t have any inhibitions about saying exactly what he meant, then you have this concerto which is so innocent and somehow a bit naive, it’s fun and playful and it’s bizarre to see that this piece came out of that picture.

As a critic, was he against certain modern tendencies?

Yes, he said that what he really loved and thought people should be more focused on, is programme music. And the late romantic era was his cup of tea.

But I suppose these composers who lived through times of great change had to be true to their roots, or what they heard when they were developing.

Exactly. And that’s him, that’s how he was.

You got to know Borgstrøm’s music through an enthusiast?

That was a family friend, the conductor and bassoonist Terje Boye Hansen. He has been very passionate about Norwegian music and especially about Borgstrøm as a really good composer who deserves to be heard, so he gave me a pile of Borgstrøm’s music, and I took it home to my village, about three years ago, and the Violin Concerto leapt out at me. He told me it had only been performed twice, with a 50 year gap in between. It was a strange and fantastic discovery, and especially now that I’m able to show people. I had pretty much similar reactions both when I was recording with the Vienna Symphony and also with this orchestra, from the first rehearsal – in Vienna we had two days on the Shostakovich, as you know it’s extremely demanding physically, so to come in on the third day and be asked, what is this Borgstrøm? Is it modern, what is it? I said, you won’t know until you actually start playing and they were sitting relaxed and casual, and the minute we started playing the whole atmosphere changed, everyone just had this moment of discovery all together, which was really fantastic. And to be able to see that is really worthwhile, when people become aware of great music.

The conductor was there alongside you last night, but you also seemed to be leading in a sense, they were taking as much from you as from him.

It is a very intertwined work in certain parts, and they overlap a bit and then take over…

Quite subtly…

I think it’s very cleverly orchestrated, actually, and also not to have to fight as a violinist to be heard, that sometimes happened. But I find it’s really well balanced. And most concertos should ideally feel like chamber music.

All music should – it was Abbado’s dictum, that everyone should listen to each other. But this is quite rare in a concerto partnership, because the soloists are jetting around and there isn’t a lot of time to work together. And I don’t know if you find this, but for me there are not that many conductors who are very soloist-sensitive.

No, definitely. And I think what is the most disturbing thing I know is when there is someone who is overly active…

Who tries to impose…

What I rely on is the sound, because that’s what matters, but it’s disturbing in the eyesight to see someone who is over-active, and that stresses me. But I thought Eivind did a really fantastic job last night, and he’s also very easy and just does what he wants to do.

The orchestra sounded like it was inscaping – there was no forcing.

That’s good.

What struck me is that you too have this wonderful inwardness, and you can go from ppp to fff in a couple of seconds, but the audience has to come in to hear you – there’s no forcing out but rather bringing in. Do you have a philosophy about that?

Actually I do, and one of the most important things is to make people really listen. There’s always noise around in daily life, and I think it’s extremely important to try at least to create these moments when magic can happen, and I personally like to listen in a concert to someone who has you on the edge of your seat, when you think, what’s happening, what’s going on, and you need these moments of something different. Those are the moments when you think, that’s why we do this.

The older I get the more I think it’s entirely about communication. You can be a wonderful musician but if you don’t give out, it’s pointless. You could see the music in you when you weren’t playing, and that doesn’t happen a lot with soloists. There was never a moment when one lost concentration, and when I listened to the CD I thought there might be, but it’s a matter of approach.

And I think now that I’ve played it more it is definitely one of those pieces which is better to play live, because it is very interactive, and if it gets too square then it will lose people. Because the piece is a bit fragmented and goes somewhere or takes off…

Which is one of its charms. You were playing in public at a young age. Have you found that the ideals of communication have come more over time, or with certain teachers? Have you learned more about that?

I think from quite a young age it was always important to show what a joy music can be. It’s quite simplistic when you’re young, but there’s so much fun and you want to show that. But I must say that the person who taught me most about that was Boris Kushnir – I studied with him for years, but he told me so much about how the importance of what you have to communicate comes through and even if you feel it and think it, it has to come through the violin, you have to carry the sound, to have this voice as nerve, something that makes people listen, and also to make the colours as if you were speaking to someone.

Oistrakh always said about the first movement of the Shostakovich First Violin Concerto that it’s like a soliloquy in Hamlet – you are the great actor, the monologuist, and people have to be listening to every word. The Norwegian side of it – there’s been a remarkable upsurge of superb players. Is it partly to do with the Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo?

I think so. I went to that school for 11 years. And what they do so well is that they have this crazy environment of just friendship and musical freedom, which I personally think is a great thing in Norway, because we don’t usually have these long traditions like Austria or Germany. It’s quite free in that you can try out different styles and play as you like, there’s no “this is how it should be”.

That’s the essence of good teaching, isn’t it, to bring out the player’s personality rather than impose?

Oh yes, yes.

But there is also the folk tradition. Did you grow up with that?

Yes, I grew up playing the Hardanger fiddle. I still play it, I make sure I have several projects a year, because it’s important to keep the style. It’s equally important to the classical violin here. Especially the valley that I’m from, Valdres, each valley or place has its own tradition. So with the tonality and the rhythms, I grew up with that and it’s a huge part of my heritage.

Have you given encores where you’ve changed to the Hardanger fiddle?

Sometimes, I will make sure I bring it our more often. But a little challenge with it is that it’s quite tricky to tune. You should take at least 10 minutes to warm it up. And you have to have one you really trust, because gut strings move around quite a lot. But it’s a beautiful instrument.

Do you have one that is special for you?

No, at home I have quite a few of them, my mum and sister also play them. They’re beautiful and well decorated.

So do you and your sister play duos together?

We used to. Nowadays we tend to play in a festival together. We both do artistic work for it. She’s a great violinist, she lives in Valdres.

You’ve led chamber orchestras as a leader-conductor?

Not so much now, but when I was young I was the concert-master of a chamber orchestra, and we always played without a conductor, and without scores also. It’s really good training, because then you have a much greater understanding of what is happening rather than just playing your part, and you see what’s happening too.

This is a great move now – the Aurora Orchestra too, and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra do it a lot. Was that your idea?

No, it was from the school, that they wanted us to learn in such a way. I love it with chamber orchestras, when they have this core of really great players who just love to play together.

I was impressed with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra – but they need money to do it, because it costs to take your time.

And this is something I always find a bit confusing in London especially, how musicians are having to rush from one project to another, I have friends there who say, sometimes we don’t even have time to rehearse everything before the concert. What is the point of playing if you don’t prepare for it?

London orchestras are famous for being brilliant sightreaders.

It’s impressive that they can pick up a new score and play it immediately. It’s a very different mentality, though.

Festivals are a good place to develop, and your generation is much more enterprising in gathering together friends and working over a week or two, developing work in the community and so on.

I think many people in my generation and even the generation above have been a lot more aware of how much more you can do yourself, not only in terms of audiences but also your own platform, because there are so many opportunities to do that on social media. It’s like one part has gone out and another has come in. Some people don’t even have agents any more, they have their own YouTube channels. But also now because there have been a lot of chamber music series that have closed down. I also noticed it for myself, that I play probably most of the time with orchestras and very few recitals.

Why is that? Lack of money?

Mostly, yes, because the audiences are there, it’s more like giving a different platform. The reason why we wanted to start a festival in my home village of Aurdal, it’s small, there are 700 people living there, and the whole community has always been very supportive and in the last few years especially, I’ve been travelling a lot and living in Berlin, and I wanted to give something back.

Does it happen in the summer?

No, actually, it’s a winter festival. Because this area is also about skiing. So we wanted to combine that with music and nature. One of the concerts was up in a mountain church, and you can have a guided ski trip before you come to the church, then you hang your skis up on the wall, get a coffee and a cinnamon bun perhaps and then go in and listen to the music for one hour, and then head back on skis. This year we had 30 international artists coming, a great group of people. We did Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht [for string sextet], we left the quartets to the regular team [pictured below: Hemsing and colleagues after a concert earlier this year].

Does that feed into your work generally?

Definitely. And there’s so much buried repertoire I wish I had more time for, and just getting some friends together and playing the quartet repertoire would be good, because it’s such a huge part of music history. Being in a quartet takes a lot of time and commitment, but just to know the repertoire…

This idea of leader-conducting, does that interest you as something to develop further?

I would love to do that, and it was interesting yesterday when someone asked Eivind, does the orchestra need a conductor? And in theory with the top-grade orchestras, they could play perfectly on their own, if they have a really good concert-master and they all function together, but the conductor or leader should give the musical input and shaping. And I love that part, actually, just to have the full picture. I’d love to do that. Have to look into it.

Are there any concertos you really want to champion in the next few years?

Definitely. I don’t have a next project like the Borgstrøm, because that was quite special, but I would love to also play more things that haven’t had the spotlight on them, if a work is really good quality, it’s just a question of having the right feeling for it, that also requires that the piece has something in it. But I’d really love to do the Elgar Concerto.


Credits: Photography by Nikolaj Lund

Classical CDs Weekly: Borgström

“Wonderfully played […], Eldbjørg Hemsing’s dynamism and rich, warm tone exactly what the concerto needs. She’s really impressive.”

Graham Rickson | | 28 April 2018

Hjalmar Borgström sounds like the name of a BBC Four gumshoe, a melancholy detective solving crimes in downtown Tromsø. He was actually a Norwegian composer (1864-1925) who, like Grieg, studied in Germany, remaining there for 15 years. Grieg quickly assimilated his technique with native folk music, later expressing dismay at the younger Borgström’s lack of interest in making his music sound specifically Norwegian. His G major Violin Concerto was premiered in 1914. It’s an ambitious, 35-minute work, brimming with ideas, but you can understand why it’s fallen by the wayside. It’s much more German than Nordic in style. Nothing wrong with that, except that we’re talking conservative late 19th century Germany rather than Strauss. There are flashes of brilliance: the soloist enters within seconds after a flurry of timpani, and the lyrical asides are gorgeous. All very attractive (what a superb close the work has!), but nothing especially distinctive. Wonderfully played though, Eldbjørg Hemsing’s dynamism and rich, warm tone exactly what the concerto needs.

Unexpectedly, Hemsing couples it with Shostakovich’s brooding Concerto No. 1. She’s really impressive, sustaining the argument in the chilly Nocturne and suitably snarky in the scherzo. There’s good orchestral support too from Olari Elts and the Wiener Symphoniker, low winds, tuba and percussion making plenty of impact. Hemsing is at her best in the Passacaglia, the temperature rising inexorably to boiling point. The last movement’s adrenalin rush is joyous. Excellent sound, too – an enjoyable disc.


Musik aus tiefster Geigerseele

The wonderful Violin Concerto in G major op. 14 from 1914 is a real hit, and you can be thankful to the Swedish label BIS for letting the work now appear at its best. The solo part is played by the fabulous young Norwegian Eldbjørg Hemsing: she impresses with a brilliant technique, her tone is bright and soft – and the grandeur of a free violinist soul is enthroned above everything. The 27-year-old artist, of whom there is still a great deal to hear, brings the work, which one can hear wonderfully carefree, so to speak, back into the repertoire. The Wiener Symphoniker, under the direction of Olari Elts, assists masterfully. This SACD is rounded off by a no less impressive performance of the Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor by Dmitri Shostakovich, which captures the edges and abysses of the music.

Wolfram Goetz | Rheinische Post | 5 Mar 2018:

Die einen kamen aus dem hohen Norden nach Deutschland, um hier tief in die Tradition der klassischen Musik einzudringen und die letzten Weihen zu empfangen. Dann kehrten sie zurück, kümmerten sich um die authentische Musik ihrer Heimat und um die Art, wie sie selbst als Komponisten in dieser nationalmusikalischen Thematik eine eigene und unverwechselbare Stimme fanden. Für Hjalmar Borgstrøm war das nicht der richtige Plan. Der 1864 in Oslo geborene Komponist ging 1887, als 23-Jähriger, nach Leipzig, aber er dachte nicht daran, sich die zentraleuropäischen Errungenschaften alsbald wieder abzuschminken. Er war infiziert von der Macht der Programmmusik, er genoss das volle Programm von Johannes Brahms, Franz Liszt und Richard Wagner und stand einem norwegischen Idiom fern (wie es etwa, selbstverständlich auf wundervollem Niveau, bei Edvard Grieg der Fall gewesen war).

Und als Borgstrøm zurück war in Oslo, da fiel der Erfolg seiner Musik nur matt aus: Man sehnte sich zumal nach dem Ende des Ersten Weltkriegs nach Esprit, nicht nach Erdenschwere. Norwegen schaute nach Frankreich, und Borgstrøm musste sein Geld als Musikkritiker verdienen. In dieser Profession war er allerdings hoch angesehen, er galt als Instanz. Dabei ist das wundervolle Violinkonzert G-Dur op. 14 aus dem Jahr 1914 ein echter Knüller, und man kann dem schwedischen Label BIS dankbar sein, dass er das Werk jetzt in Bestbesetzung hat aufnehmen lassen.

Den Solopart spielt die fabelhafte junge norwegische Eldbjørg Hemsing: Sie prunkt mit einer glänzenden Technik, ihr Ton ist leuchtend, hat Schmelz – und über allem thront die Grandezza einer freien Geigerseele. Die 27-jährige Künstlerin, von der man noch sehr viel hören wird, holt das Werk, das man wunderbar unbeschwert hören kann, sozusagen zurück ins Repertoire. Dabei helfen die Wiener Symphoniker unter Leitung von Olari Elts meisterlich mit.

Abgerundet wird diese SACD durch eine nicht minder beeindruckende, die Kanten und Abgründe der Musik einfangende Wiedergabe des Violinkonzerts Nr. 1 a-Moll von Dmitri Schostakowitsch.


…with her supreme violinistic ease, sprightly personality and wonderfully clear and pure lyrical tone (2nd movement), the violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing transforms this repertoire rarity into a worthwhile rediscovery or new discovery. Hemsing’s mastery of the entire Shostakovich spectrum, from gloomy bitterness to grotesquely-virtuosic agility, is then demonstrated in her collaboration with the highly committed Wiener Symphoniker.

Rondo | Guido Fischer | 3 Mar 2018:

Der Name Hjalmar Borgström war bis vor kurzem noch dieser typische Fall von „Kenne ich nicht“. Auf dem Cover der Solo-Debüt-CD der aufstrebenden norwegischen Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing steht er immerhin über dem von Dmitri Schostakowitsch. Was sofort die Vermutung nährt, dass es sich bei dem No-Name um einen skandinavischen Zeitgenossen des Russen handeln könnte – wenn nicht vielleicht gar um einen wahrscheinlich zu unrecht nie so richtig zum Zug gekommenen Neue Musik-Komponisten. Was die Lebenslinien von Borgström und Schostakowitsch angeht, gab es immerhin Berührungspunkte. Als der Norweger 1925 im Alter von gerade 61 Jahren verstarb, war der russische Kollege mit seinen 19 Jahren schon auf dem Karrieresprung. Ein Mann der zu dieser Zeit bereits mächtig an den Grundfesten rüttelnden Moderne war Borgström aber so gar nicht. Zu diesem Schluss bringt einen sein dreisätziges Violinkonzert G-Dur op. 25, das Hemsing zusammen mit dem 1. Violinkonzert von Schostakowitsch aufgenommen hat.

Das 1914 anlässlich der 100-Jahr-Feier der norwegischen Verfassung entstandene Konzert ist pure Hoch- bis Spätromantik, die ihre Wurzeln nicht etwa in der nordischen Volksmusik hat, sondern in der Tradition Mendelssohns, Schumanns und Brahms‘. Der Grund: Borgström hatte ab 1887 während seines Studiums das Musikleben in Leipzig in vollen Zügen genossen. Dementsprechend begegnet man in seinem Violinkonzert vielen alten Bekannten, zahlreichen Einflüssen und geläufigen Trivialitäten. Doch überraschender Weise kommt dabei keine Sekunde Langeweile auf! Nicht nur, weil sich Borgström hier als fantasievoller Handwerker entpuppt, der die musikalisch scheinbar aus der Zeit gefallenen Ingredienzien äußerst reizvoll recycelt. Auch die Geigerin Eldbjørg Hemsing kann mit ihrer geigerischen Souveränität, ihrem anspringenden Temperament und einem wunderbar klaren und schlackenfreien Kantilenenton (2. Satz) diese Repertoire-Rarität in eine lohnenswerte Wieder- bzw. Neuentdeckung verwandeln. Dass Hemsing aber eben auch das gesamte Schostakowitsch-Spektrum von düsterer Bitternis bis grotesk-virtuoser Gelenkigkeit grandios beherrscht, stellt sie anschließend gemeinsam mit den höchst engagierten Wiener Symphonikern unter Beweis.


Eldbjørg Hemsing: Der verschollene Norweger

“…jointly with Wiener Symphoniker and Conductor Olari Elts, Eldbjørg Hemsing presents an interpretation which is convincing, rich of colors and personal. With consistently brilliant sound and flexible expression, Eldbjørg Hemsing makes this album absolutely worth listening to.”

Crescendo | Sina Kleinedler | 20 February 2018

Zwei Entdeckungen auf einem Album: Die norwegische Violinistin Eldbjørg Hemsing und das Violinkonzert ihres Landsmannes Hjalmar Borgström (1864–1925). Borgström war zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts als Kritiker und Komponist bekannt. In Vergessenheit geriet seine Musik höchstwahrscheinlich dadurch, dass er sich weigerte, eine typisch skandinavische Klangsprache zu adaptieren – wie Grieg es getan hatte. Dennoch zog das 1914 geschriebenes Violinkonzert Hemsing sofort in seinen Bann, auch weil dessen Klangsprache sie an ihre Heimat erinnerte. Im Kontrast zu Borgströms romantischem Werk steht Dmitri Shostakovichs erstes Violinkonzert. Seine Klangsprache ist weniger pastoral, eher dramatisch und schmerzerfüllt, doch auch hier schafft Hemsing es gemeinsam mit den Wiener Symphonikern und Olari Elts eine überzeugende, farbenreiche und persönliche Interpretation zu präsentieren. Mit durchweg brillierendem Klang und flexiblem Ausdruck macht Eldbjørg Hemsing dieses Album absolut hörenswert.



“… a fabulous discovery … [Hemsing] offers a star performance, technically steady as a mountain goat, bold and assertive where required and sweetly filled like spun sugar in the slow movement… the interpretation of Shostakovich’s first violin concerto is more than superb… this recording is strongly recommended.​”​

Klassiskmusik | Martin Anderson | Oversatt fra engelsk av Mona Levin | 14 February 2018

Forskjellige lands evne til å overse store deler av sin egen kunstarv opphører aldri å overraske – og det gjelder ikke bare Norge. Nesten hvert eneste land med en musikktradisjon utenfor mainstream lukker øynene, eller heller ørene, for den. Jeg kunne sette opp lange lister med franske komponister som ikke blir spilt i Frankrike, skotske komponister som forblir uspilt i Skottland, belgiske komponister som er ukjente i Belgia, spanske …. Du skjønner tegningen.

Det faktum at Norge bruker lang tid på å (gjen)oppdage viktige norske komponister, er altså hverken nytt eller uvanlig. Den mest oversette norske fiolinkonserten er den i d-moll av Catharinus Elling (1858–1942) som ble utgitt i 1918; Arve Tellefsens innspilling fra 1987 avdekket et verk fullt på høyde med det romantiske standardrepertoaret innen fiolinkonserter – Bruch g-moll, Dvořák, Glazunov, Tsjaikovskij osv – og allikevel er det forbløffende nok ikke foretatt noen annen innspilling i løpet av de mellomliggende tre tiår. Tellefsens pionerinnsats, som finnes på YouTube, viser med all mulig tydelighet hvor viktig minneverdige melodier er for at et verk som en fiolinkonsert skal oppnå suksess (lytt etter «Don’t cry for me, Argentina» – Elling var der først!).

Hjalmar Borgstrøms (1864-1925) fiolinkonsert i G-dur fra 1914 er ikke like minneverdig som Ellings (den har atmosfære fremfor sterke melodier), og med sine 36 minutter er den for lang for sitt materiale, men den er en fabelaktig oppdagelse uansett. Den innleder med et varsomt kallerop fra paukene, en dristig, søkende påstand fra solofiolinen besvares av innforståtte treblåsere, og slik folder den 16 minutter lange førstesatsen seg som en rapsodi i fri form, mer som en tankegang i utvikling en i noen tydelig musikalsk form. Den er ofte svært vakker i sin dagdrømming, sporadisk satt opp mot heroisk orkesterkomponering som sterkt antyder friluft – skjønt noe mer generelt nordisk friluft enn spesifikt norsk. Den langsomme Adagio-satsen begynner med en rørende koral-aktig figur i strykere og horn, som nå og da vender tilbake. Paradoksalt, til tross for fravær av hva tyskerne kaller «ørekrypere» i det melodiske materialet, har musikken uansett ekte personlighet. Finalen slår inn med en fengende (endelig!) dans, som viser seg å være hovedtemaet i en rondo, skjønt Borgstrøm vandrer ofte off piste, og denne satsen går i mål etter mer enn 11 minutter. Men selv om musikken ikke har tatt den retteste veien mellom A og B, er utsikten langs ruten aldri mindre enn herlig – og på slutten synes verket bare å bli borte i krattet og forsvinne i noen meloditråder. Hvis Borgstrøms konsert ikke skulle slå an, er det iallfall ikke Eldbjørg Hemsings skyld: hun byr på stjernespill, teknisk stø som en fjellgeit, dristig og påståelig der det kreves, og sødmefylt som spunnet sukker i den langsomme satsen. Den estiske dirigenten Olari Elts og wienersymfonikerne gir formfull, livlig orkesterstøtte.

Deres tolkning av Sjostakovitsj’ første konsert (et pussig verk å sette sammen med Borgstrøm) er greit mer enn fremragende – den mangler noe av det desperate bittet, den ville lidenskapen og tragiske uavvendeligheten som (for eksempel) de som uroppførte den, David Ojstrakh og Jevgenij Mravinskij, fylte den med fra midten på 1950-tallet av. Noe av grunnen er at Hemsing ikke graver dypt nok ned i strengene, slik at solostemmen mangler tyngde. Klarheten i denne innspillingen ligger selvsagt milelangt fra bokseklangen den gang, og hvem ville vel kjøpe denne platen for Sjostakovitj? Jeg ville også foretrukket større engasjement i musikken i Thomas Blocks CD-hefte: han avspiser den dypt bevegende Passacaglia i 3. sats i Sjostakovitsj med tretten ord. Når det gjelder Borgstrøm, anbefales denne innspillingen på det sterkeste.

The Violin Princess of Norway

She takes her concert public by storm all over the world with her 265-year old violin. The lauded musician Eldbjørg Hemsing from Valdres often expresses the sounds of the raw and beautiful Norwegian nature.

Eldbjørg Hemsing brings the sound of Norway to the world

“Eldbjørg is famous in China. We call her ‘The Princess of Norway’.”

The bold words belong to Tan Dun, who is among the world’s leading composers. The Chinese has collaborated with the Norwegian violinist for years and has even dedicated a specially written musical work to her.

Eldbjørg Hemsing started playing the violin when she was a four-year-old growing up in a picturesque village in Valdres in Eastern Norway. Now, people sit quiet and listen every time Eldbjørg lets the bow hit the strings on her G. B. Guadagnini from 1754.

236 years separate Eldbjørg and her musical tool, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a more close-knit duo.

She plays all over the world, in cities like Shanghai, Hong Kong, Valencia, Frankfurt, Koblenz, Leipzig, Berlin, Cologne, Abu Dhabi, Oslo – and in her home town of Aurdal. In March 2018, she released a record with music written by Norwegian composer Hjalmar Borgstrøm.

“When I hear Borgstrøm’s compositions, I think of fjords and mountains and the feeling of moving through nature.”

What sounds did you grow up with in Valdres?
“I remember that the silence intensified all sounds, like the trickling of the water in a mountain stream, the summer breeze through the valley, or the gust of the wind in the tree branches. My mother was a music educationalist and my father worked as a mountain supervisor, so I grew up in a harmonious mixture of music and nature. I often went with my father to work in the mountains to check out the danger of an avalanche or measure fish stocks and water depths. I learned things like building a campfire for preparing meals”, Eldbjørg says.

Valdres is known for traditional folk music that is often mixed with new genres, and it was important to Eldbjørg’s mother that rehearsing should be fun. She could even get 15 minutes of rehearsal in before the children’s television programme started in the evenings.

And now you have played on the rare instrument you have on loan from a foundation for nearly ten years?
“The violin is very personal to me. The sound coming out of its body feels like my own voice. It has a heartfelt depth and warmth, and a wide array of colours. The first Hardanger fiddles are said to be from the 1600s. It’s incredible to think about how much my instrument has been through.”

Growing up, Eldbjørg took time off from the school in Valdres every Friday to travel about three hours to Oslo and the Barratt Due Institute of Music. Her first trip abroad went to the Czech Republic when she was eight. Later, she took lessons in the USA, and from then on concerts all over the world have filled up her calendar.

In March 2018, Eldbjørg released her debut album, including her discovery of the forgotten Violin Concerto in G major signed by Norwegian composer Hjalmar Borgstrøm (1864–1925), who was inspired by German Romanticism. She wanted to share her own enthusiasm about the work with her audience.

You draw a connection between Borgstrøm’s work and Norwegian nature experiences?
“Yes, I perceive his music as a very physical piece – complex and craftsmanlike. When I hear Borgstrøm’s compositions, I think of fjords and mountains and the feeling of moving through nature. The tones can resemble a smell or bring out memories of other encounters with nature.”

Chefs, like the one at Maaemo in Oslo, also say that they serve memories from Norwegian nature?
“Yes, and that is what is so strong about music – it can call forth a personal, but very distinct feeling.”

What is the most enjoyable thing about being a violinist?
“To resurrect a several hundred years old violin, and to breathe new life into old compositions so that both new and traditional audiences get to appreciate how great they are. I am not that interested in interpreting and renewing historical pieces of music, but rather in emphasizing their original strengths.”

Was classical music the rock ’n’ roll of that time?
“You might say that, and classical music is just as cool and relevant still. My line of work has much in common with elite sports. When I perform, I have one chance to deliver my absolute best. I set off with maximum tempo and concentration and don’t stop until I’m finished.”

In 2013, Eldbjørg and her sister Ragnhild started a yearly chamber music festival in their home town of Aurdal in Valdres. The sisters invite top-level musicians, many of whom have become their good friends. And even though the Hemsing Festival has grown bigger every year – in 2018, about 30 international artists performed for 12,000 people, and the festival was broadcasted on national television – the sisters want to keep the intimate feeling the acclaimed musicians get at this stunning place in Eastern Norway.

“International artist friends praise the clear light and clean air in Valdres. They say that it sharpens their senses. They get to taste local food like moose and wild fish, and we take them on skiing trips and other activities,” Eldbjørg says.

How much money is your violin from 1754 worth?
“I honestly don’t know, and that is fine with me. If I’d known, I would probably get the jitters.”

How do you preserve such an old instrument?
“It has to be looked after and cared for, because the wood is still alive even though it’s so old. The case has a humidifier and a hygrometer, and I go to a ‘violin doctor’ twice a year.”

Do you keep the violin as hand luggage when you fly, or do you check it?
“Always as hand luggage. No exceptions. I’d never let something that personal out of my sight.”

Are you ever longing back to Valdres?
“I know that I can always take a break there and find peace of mind. But it is important to emphasize that even though you come from a small and beautiful place, you can still travel and work wherever you want in the world.”

Article from


Eldbjørg Hemsing står foran sitt store, internasjonale gjennombrudd. Med seg på reisen har hun en norsk fiolinkonsert som har vært glemt i hundre år.

Publisert 05.02.2018 | Ingvild Amdal Myklebust

Hovedscenen på Nationaltheatret i Oslo har aldri vært større enn den maidagen i 1996. På klakkende bunadsko inntar hun flomlyset sammen med storesøster Ragnhild på åtte. Bak seg aner hun konturene av det tunge sceneteppet og av moren som viser dem riktig neieteknikk. Foran dem venter et bekmørkt folkehav. Hun vet at kongefamilien sitter der ute. Og Wenche Foss som hun møtte i stad. Snart er de framme ved scenekanten. Da skal de løfte opp felene til haka og spille Briskjehauga slik de pleier. Bare en meter igjen nå.

> Weblink to Full Article


“Forte” is the new feature film from David Donnelly(“Maestro“) on three strong, utmost remarkable and ouststanding women who are achieving unlikely success in classical music: Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing, Argentinian composer and conductor Lucía Caruso and Russian-born violinist Tatiana Berman from the United States.

Story: Forte is the international story of three women who are challenging industry norms by making their own rules in a musical genre steeped in tradition. A young Norwegian soloist champions a rare, self-discovered composition and risks a promising career to bring it to life. A small-town girl, born and raised in the Russian Arctic, gives up an executive position at a top artist management corporation to create her own international maverick agency. An Argentinian composer gets the opportunity of a lifetime. And a cultural entrepreneur and mother of three struggles to balance her family and career. The one thing these bold, game-changing individuals have in common is: strength.

Direction/Production: Forte is written and directed by David Donnelly, founder of Culture Monster and director of the acclaimed hit documentary Maestro. It is produced by David Donnelly and Anastasia Boudanoque, founder of Primavera Consulting. Executive Producer is Roland Göhde of the Göhde Foundation.

Filming Locations: Sintra, Portugal; Cincinnati, Ohio; Paris, France; London, England; New York, New York; Rhinecliff, NY; Mendoza, Argentina; Aurdal/Oslo, Norway; Berlin, Germany; Moscow, Russia

> Forte website
> Forte on Facebook

The first official trailer of “Forte” is out now:


Eldbjørg Hemsing with Welcome Note and Music Performance at Women in Global Health – Germany Launch Event

Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing was invited to perform and to give a welcome speech at the launch event of the Women in Global Health – Germany initiative at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development on 12th January 2018.

Among the 100 high-level participants, 93 of them leading women in global health from ministries, politics, academia & science, private sector, civil society and NGOs, have been the initiative founders Professor Ilona Kickbusch and Dr Sabine Ludwig, as well, as State Secretary Lutz Stroppe, German Federal Ministry of Health, and the Royal Norwegian Ambassador H.E. Petter Ølberg.

In her impressive welcome note Eldbjørg Hemsing highlighted the fascination from discoveries of scientists, revealing significantly positive impacts of music on development of children, brain health and brain function, psychiatric conditions and stress and the vast knowledge science has generated throughout the centuries, leading to knowledge about the positive impacts of music and the significant change which can be made particularly with those members of our society who are in severe health conditions and at greatest risk. Eldbjørg Hemsing closed her speech by mentioning that it should be the mission of any artist to continuously strive for creating positive impact through sharing their greatest passion – music, and contribute not only to the individuals but to the society at greater.


Eldbjørg Hemsing appointed as CJD Panorama Ambassador

Internationally upstriving violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing has been invited to become the first Ambassador for the highly remarkable CJD Panorama project. Officially, Eldbjørg Hemsing has started to take this new role starting at January 12, 2018, underlining her impressive commitment for engaging in educational areas for youngest children. The charitable Göhde Foundation was supporting this development based on its contacts and cooperation with CJD.

CJD Panorama is a social educational project in which children learn a symphonic instrument and build experience by playing together in an orchestra in a community which strengthen the young individuals. For children with migration background or coming from a difficult social background, CJD Panorama creates pathways to build up on their potentials and possibilities: By learning an instrument within an orchestra-like formation, the child expands its horizon of experience, leading to building up character and personality. >More about the CJD Panorama Project

The CJD is one of Germany’s largest social and educational organisations. Every year, it gives 155,000 young people and adults guidance and opportunities for the future. 9,500 full-time employees and numerous volunteers at over 150 locations provide help, support and education/training. This work is based on the Christian conception of what it means to be human, with the vision: “Let no one fall by the wayside!” >More about CJD


Eldbjørg Hemsing on NRK Klassisk: “My Favorite Music”

Eldbjørg Hemsing in “My Favorite Music” on Norwegian governmental broadcasting station NRK takes us from traditional music in Valdres through classics like Bach and Beethoven up to the collaboration with Chinese composer and Academy Award winner Tan Dun and to a new release of the Violin Concertos by Borgström and Shostakovich.

Eldbjørg Hemsing shares stories that shed light on the music with program director Stein Eide.

The 1h54min radio feature in Norwegian language can be listened to at following weblink:

> Eldbjørg Hemsing – NRK Klassisk “My favourite music”


Eldbjørg Hemsing named 2018 ‘Artist in Residence’ at Stormen Konserthus

Violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing is the ‘2018 Artist in Residence’ at Stormen Konserthus Bodø Norway, where she will perform in concert and recital on several occasions throughout the year. The iconic concert hall, which is situated in Bodø in the far North of Norway, was unveiled in 2014 and has been praised for both its world-class acoustics and initiative in presenting musical excellence. In her first appearance at Stormen Eldbjørg Hemsing will perform Massenet’s Thaïs: Méditation at the New Year’s Gala Concert (5 January 2018), together with the Nordnorsk Opera og Symfoniorkester – Arctic Philharmonic and conductor Henrik Schaefer. She returns in spring to perform Hjalmar Borgström’s Violin Concerto in G major, op. 25 (9 March) with the Nordnorsk Opera og Symfoniorkester – Arctic Philharmonic and Eva Ollikainen – Conductor, with an additional performance at KulturHuset i Tromsø. Also featured in the Residency are performances of Dvořák ́s Mazurek and Halvorsen’s Norwegian Dances for Violin and Orchestra at the NOSO ́s outdoor concert at Nordland Musikkfestuke, whilst her final appearance will be a specially programmed recital with the acclaimed Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski. “I am honoured to be appointed Stormen’s ‘2018 Artist in Residence” commented Eldbjørg Hemsing. “I can’t wait to get up to the North again where I have such fond memories of previous performances and where the wild and powerful nature gives a different dimension of musical inspiration. I am particularly proud to be performing Borgström’s violin concerto which is a piece that I have become passionate about and which deserves much more attention than it currently receives. He is a Norwegian composer who was famous at the beginning of the 20th century but whose name has completely dropped from programmes both at home and abroad.”

About Stormen Konserthus Bodø / Stormen Concert Hall Bodø

Stormen Konserthus Bodø / Stormen Concert Hall Bodø’s world-class acoustics ensure optimal conditions for classical masterpieces as well as the performances of pop/rock shows, theatre, dance and conferences.The large hall seats 900 people and offers some of the worlds best acoustics for classical music. Variable acoustic panels and a full size flytower and orchestra pit makes this hall equally suitable for opera, ballet, pop, jazz, rock and theatre. Our Steinway grand piano was carefully selected by Leif Ove Andsnes. The small hall seats 240, the chamber hall around 80. The foyers are well suitable for concerts and receptions, and legendary club venue Sinus (460 capacity) has the perfect atmosphere for jazz and rock. “We are very proud to appoint Eldbjørg Hemsing as the ‘2018 Artist in Residence’. She has truly established herself as a top international artist and we look forward to the variety of her virtuoso performances at our concert hall.” Rolf-Cato Raade, director Stormen.


“Moments of ethereal beauty as the violin’s melody intertwined with those of the woodwinds” – Reviewed at National Concert Hall, Dublin on 3 November 2017

“Dvořák’s Violin Concerto in A minor is at times an elusive concerto to pull off: true to violin concertos of this era, it is not short on virtuosic bravura passages yet its subtle, restless character is a much harder selling point. This was the focus of the soloist, Norwegian rising star Eldbjørg Hemsing as she eloquently meditated on the more wistful writing of the first movement. At times, as high up on the G string in the recapitulation of the opening Allegro, she overindulged in vibrato which obscured the tender lyricism but there were moments of ethereal beauty as the violin’s melody intertwined with those of the woodwinds. The octaves and double stops glowed with passion while the scales and arpeggio were executed with laser-like precision. Her luminous tone added lustre to the ruminative lyricism of the second movement while the NSO responded with a warm and sensitive accompaniment. It was in the mercurial finale that musician and music struck the most rewarding balance. The Slavic folk tune glistened with meticulous light-hearted good cheer, with sharp rhythmic delineations from the orchestra. Capturing the exquisite, ephemeral soundscape, Hemsing expertly handled the shifting cross rhythms and the fiendish octaves, bringing this concerto to an energetic and satisfying close.” > Video Excerpt from Concert of Eldbjørg Hemsing with RTE Symphony Orchestra under Miguel Harth-Bedoya


Nordiske Violinkoncerter

Skandinaviske violinister graver i disse år i egen baghave og finder alternativer til de kendte violinkoncerter af Tjajkovskij og Mendelssohn. På den måde er noele romantiske violinkoncerter dukket op i både Denmark, Norge og Sverige, der ikke er til at sta for.

En overraskelse er også violinkoncerten af nordmanden Hjalmar Borgstrøm (1864-1925). Han var en ægte senromanti­ ker, der elskede Wagner og komponerede store orkesterværker. Hans Violinkoncert blev skrevet i 1914, lige inden den gamle verden gik under. Et stykke nordisk romantik, beslægtet med Griegs norske toner, Peterson-Bergers sommerlyrik og Sibelius’ store vidder. Borgstrøm havde en overlegen kompositionsteknik, og det giver hans Violinkoncert en glamourøs karakter. Den måler sig med andre senro­ mantiske koncerter og har potentiale til at smelte hjerter. Og med det iiber-skan- dinaviske komponistnavn ‘Borgstrøm’ fortæller overskriften alle, at her kommer den nordiske lyd!

Koncerten blev indspillet første gang i 2010, men nu kommer Borgstrøms Violinkoncert længere ud, når den norske virtuos Eldbjørg Hemsingtil maj udgiver den på det nordiske plademærke BIS, indspillet sammen med Wiener Symfo­nikerne. »At jeg overhovedet blev klar over, at koncerten fandtes, skyldes dirigenten Terje Boye Hansen«, fortæller Eldbjørg Hemsing.

»Han er en stor forkæmper for musik, som af forskellige grunde er blevet glemt, og gav mig en hel bunke noder, blandt andet denne violinkoncert, jeg aldrig havde hørt om før. Det var vældig spændende. Jeg begyndte at spille lidt af den og fandt ud af, at musikken er utrolig fin, melodisk og godt skrevet for violinen. Man hører tydeligt det norske og det nordiske, samtidig med at den har et internationalt præg. Stakkels Borgstrøm var lidt uheldig med timingen, og hans violinkoncert var kun blevet spillet to gange nogensinde i Norge. Så jeg tænkte, hallo, mange burde da spille det værk, når nu det er så fint. Der er jo ikke ret mange norske violinkoncerter, der nyder anerkendelse«.

Hvordan fik du lov til at indspille en ukendt nordisk violinkoncert på dit debutalbum?

»Det var mit privilegium at vælge selv! Jeg havde vældig lyst til at indspille Sjostakovitjs Violinkoncert nr. 1, som jeg holder meget af. Men det er så sort og så tungt og emotionelt krævende, at jeg havde lyst til at kombinere den med noget helt anderledes. Noget nordisk og lyst i tonesproget. Borgstrøms violinkon­cert er fra den helt anden ende. Det er en interessant kombination«.

Det er vel en satsning at bruge kræfter på at indstudere sådan et ukendt stykke?

»Jo, men det er faktisk det bedste ud­ gangspunkt, for så er der ingen referen­ cepunkter. Jeg kan gøre akkurat, som jeg vil og skal ikke tage hensyn til, hvordan andre har spillet den. Borgstrøms violin­ koncert har mange kvaliteter, man kan arbejde med. Det er en rigtig skat, og jeg er vældig glad for at få muligheden til at give Borgstrøm revanche«, siger Eldbjørg Hemsing, som i år har opført violinkoncerten et par gange og til næste år spiller den tre gange til, blandt andet med dirigenten Paavo Järvi.


Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing and “das junge orchester NRW” (djoNRW) under Ingo Ernst Reihl – review from concert at the Historic City Hall Wuppertal on 8 October 2017

WZ | Christian Oscar Gazsi Laki | 9 Oct 2017: “…it’s different with the violin concerto no. 4 of Henri Vieuxtemps, the jewel of the evening. This virtuosic sparkling work was performed by no one less than Norwegian Eldbjørg Hemsing. By fortunate situation Reihl succeeded in winning this phenomenal young violinist. She did not only impress with her impeccable technical perfection, which however is not exhausting itself in cool virtuosity, but also by her unrestrained joy for melodic expression. The highly ambitious passages are flying both, light-footed as well as energy-loaded. One looks and is in amazement. She charms with the sound from her Guadagnini from 1754 heart-melting cantilenas, yet without being at anytime overdrawn. The orchestra was a powerful companion, as it succeeded also gentle shimmering passages, thanks to the lyric sensitivity of the orchestra musicians.”


Eldbjørg Hemsing meets das junge orchester NRW

WDR 3 “Tonart” | ARD German-public broadcasting institutions | 6 October 2017

On the occasion of the concert of Eldbjørg Hemsing, performing Violin Concerto No. 1 D minor, Op. 31 from Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881) with das junge orchester NRW under Ingo Ernst Reihl at Historic City Hall Wuppertal on 8th October 2017, the internationally upstriving Norwegian artist was interviewed and featured by German broadcasting station WDR 3 in “Tonart”.

Audio stream (7min6sec):