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

ELDBJØRG HEMSING IN BR-KLASSIK KLICKKLACK

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.

DEBUT CD REVIEW IN KLASSIK HEUTE

“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.

ELDBJØRG HEMSING IN PRESTO CLASSICAL

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 IN CLASSICAL MUSIC MAGAZINE

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

ELDBJØRG HEMSING NEW CJD AMBASSADOR

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