Eldbjørg Hemsing and Simon Trpceski – Grieg: Violin Sonatas with Energy and Beuaty
Eldbjørg Hemsing is releasing a new album of Edvard Grieg’s violin sonatas. The album follows the acclaimed recordings of concertos by Dvořák and Shostakovich, by Tan Dun and Josef Suk. The Norwegian violinist is joined by Simon Trpčeski at the piano. Grieg’s violin sonatas mark a decisive phase in the composer’s artistic development. He completed the F major Sonata at the age of 22, after completing his studies at the Leipzig conservatory and it still bears the stamp of German romanticism. Two years later, in 1867, Grieg created Sonata No. 2 with a goal of a national culture, as part of the movement for an independent Norway. The Violin Sonata in C minor was composed 20 years after Sonata No. 2 and the last piece of chamber music that he completed. At this time, Grieg was an internationally respected composer, pianist and conductor and the sonata reflects this new stage in his life. Grieg himself described the composition as having a ‘wider horizon’. The last selection is Hemsing’s own composition, “Homecoming.” Grieg: Violin Sonatas – Hemsing: Homecoming is a powerful program performed by two musicians that understand and listen to the music.
“Violin Sonata No. 2 in G Major, Op. 13: I. Lento doloroso – Allegro vivace” is a stirring example of Hemsing’s power and lyricism on the violin. Her entrances around Trpčeski’s accompanying figures are rousing. The power of the duet comes from both players listening intently to each other and breathing with the music. Johannes Brahms was so moved by the “cheerful-sad Norwegian” Andante movement that he ‘borrowed’ Grieg’s musical ideas for his own Second Violin Sonata, Op. 100 in A Major. The flowing climb to the singing upper register figures are so lyrically performed by Hemsing it is breathtaking. Her balanced tone follows her across all registers and phrasing, whether digging in or creating a ‘breathy’ sound, her tone is always warm, and pitch centered.
“Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 45: III. Allegro animato” is a playful journey between Trpčeski and Hemsing. Both maintain energy while never rushing the phrasing or destroying the lyrical nature of Grieg’s melodies. The crisp pizzicato figures dance-off Hemsing’s violin, only to be answered by her broad vibrated tones in the lyrical passages. The focus of the interaction between the passing of the melody between the violin and piano is outstanding. The pushing of the beat to the finale is authentic and makes for a fitting climax.
Hemsing’s violin playing is exhibited by her wide-ranging repertoire and warm, lyrical tone. Since her 2018 debut disc on BIS, she has been stunning audiences and listeners alike with her power and fluidity on the violin. The chemistry between Hemsing and Trpčeski is enjoyable throughout the program. The recording is excellent, with everything being in balance and accurate to the characteristics of the instruments. Grieg: Violin Sonatas – Hemsing: Homecoming is a beautiful album from start to finish.
Grieg: Violin Sonatas - Hemsing: Homecoming
March 6, 2020