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Borgström / Shostakovich: Violin Concertos - Hemsing / Elts

Borgström / Shostakovich: Violin Concertos - Hemsing / Elts

BIS  BIS-2366

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Hjalmar Borgström: Violin Concerto in G major, Op. 25
Dmitri Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor

Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin)
Wiener Symphoniker
Olari Elts (conductor)


Eldbjørg Hemsing has been a household name in her native Norway since childhood and made her solo debut with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 11. During and after her studies in Vienna, she has absorbed repertoire ranging from Beethoven to Tan Dun, a composer she has collaborated with on several projects in both Europe and Asia. The present disc marks Eldbjørg Hemsing’s first appearance on BIS, and is also her début CD. For the occasion she has chosen to highlight an all but forgotten work by a countryman, Hjalmar Borgström. Like Grieg in the preceding generation, and indeed like many Nordic composers in the late nineteenth century, Borgström went to Germany to study.

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, and the highly tuneful and expressive work was well received. It did not become established in the repertoire, however, and remained practically unknown for nearly a century. It is combined here with a work that is rather more central to the violin repertoire, Dmitri Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto. This was composed at a difficult time for the composer, whose music was denounced as ‘formalistic’ and ‘anti-democratic’ in the infamous so-called Zhdanov decree of 1948. As a result of the post-Stalin thaw the work could finally be premiered in 1955, and with David Oistrakh as its advocate it became instantly successful. Eldbjørg Hemsing is supported in this and in Borgström’sconcerto by the eminent Wiener Symphoniker conducted by Olari Elts.

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PCM recording

Recorded in September 2015 at the MuTh Concert Hall, Vienna, Austria, 24/96

Recording produced and sound engineer: Georg Burdicek

Assistant engineer: Etienne Decreuse

Equipment: DPA, Schoeps, Neumann, AKG and Sennheiser microphones; DirectOut andiamo.mc microphone preamplifiers and high-resolution A/D converters; SADiE digital audio workstation; Studer Vista 9 mixing console; Studer and PSI loudspeakers

Post-production: Editing and mixing: Georg Burdicek at the tonzauber-Studio, Wiener Konzerthaus

Executive producer: Robert von Bahr
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Comment by William Hecht - May 13, 2018 (1 of 1)

Since I'd never encountered the piece before I can only say that the performance of the Borgstrom concerto seems absolutely beautiful and makes a strong case for a virtually unknown, very traditional romantic work. I only regret that it wasn't paired with something else off the beaten track like the Kvandal concerto. It's not that there's anything wrong with the Shostakovich performance, in fact I think it's quite powerful and convincing, it's just that it's already well represented in the catalog and I always look forward to BIS' ongoing exploration of new or neglected repertoire. That reservation aside I'll be eagerly awaiting anything further from Eldbjorg Hemsing.