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Grieg: Violin Sonatas

Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin), Simon Trpčeski (piano) (BIS)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Grieg • Hemsing
Grieg: Violin Sonata No.1 in F major; Violin Sonata No. 2 in G major; Violin Sonata No. 3 in C minor; Eldbjørg Hemsing: Homecoming
Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin), Simon Trpčeski (piano)
BIS BIS-2456   72:30 mins

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You wait some time for Grieg violin sonatas on disc, and then six come along more or less at once – which is to say three from the married duo of Elena Urioste and Tom Poster (on Orchid), then the same three again from Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing and top Macedonian pianist Simon Trpčeski. I’d like to hear a third set with the fullest con anima tone at the big climaxes, but these recordings are complementary enough to sit side by side. Personally I’d go for just a shade more emotional warmth in Urioste’s playing, but Hemsing can be a touch more sophisticated, and her elegant taking-flight is signalled beautifully just after the opening piano chords of Op. 8 – a ‘Spring’ Sonata if ever there was one. She also has just a bit of ornamented edge in the imitation of Hardanger fiddling at the heart of that work, and a touch more majestic lyricism in the largesse of Op. 13. Though the piano sound very occasionally overpowers the violinist, Trpčeski twinkles and scintillates, but so does Poster – a seriously underrated artist. The finales are still relatively weak spots in the three works, but there’s no lack of conviction or finesse here either.

Urioste and Poster punctuated the sonatas with arrangements of two great spring songs; Hemsing makes her own, unaccompanied homage to the folksong her great-great grandfather in the Valdres region of Norway sang to Grieg, who made significant use of it in his only large-scale work for solo piano, the Op. 24 Ballade.

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David Nice