Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius, alongside Grieg the two giants in Nordic classical music, were both born in 1865. Both also received their first musical training on the violin, earning valuable insights when it came to writing for the instrument. Their respective violin concertos were composed some six years apart – Sibelius’ in 1904-05 and Nielsen’s in 1911 – and belong to the most performed works of either composer. They are nevertheless as different from each other as are the &&&artistic temperaments of their makers. While retaining the traditional three-movement concerto form, Sibelius composed something closer to a Late-Romantic orchestral tone poem giving the orchestra unusual prominence. Nielsen on the other hand opted for an unconventional form, reminiscent of the Baroque concerto grosso: the spiky, neoclassical work is nominally in two movements, but with each movement having a slow and a fast section.
These works are here performed by Johan Dalene, the Swedish-Norwegian winner of the 2019 Nielsen Competition. The present disc is the 21 year old violinist’s third release on BIS, following a recording of the Tchaikovsky Concerto described as ‘one of the finest violin débuts of the last decade’ in BBC Music Magazine, and an all-Nordic violin-and-piano recital awarded distinctions such as Diapason d’or and Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice. Dalene is given the expert support of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor John Storgårds, incidentally a violin soloist in his own right.