Vladimir Ashkenazy conducts Irmina Trynkos in a performance of Borenstein’s Violin Concerto

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COMPOSERS: Borenstein
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Borenstein
WORKS: Violin Concerto; The Big Bang and Creation of the Universe; If you will it, it is no dream
PERFORMER: Irmina Trynkos (violin); Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra/Vladimir Ashkenazy


Born in Tel Aviv and educated in Paris, the composer Nimrod Borenstein originally trained as a violinist. It seems appropriate, then, that the most substantial work here, at nearly half-an-hour in length, is the Violin Concerto of 2013. There are moments when the ghosts of Prokofiev (the Second Concerto, especially), Khachaturian and Walton pass fleetingly over the music’s swirling, colourful textures, yet the overriding sensation here is of an exuberantly inventive composer with a symphonic instinct exhilarating in the concerto medium. This spectacular performance confirms violinist Irmina Trynkos as a phenomenal talent. Whether in the scintillating virtuosity of the outer movements or the heartfelt cantabile of the Adagio, she plays with a charismatic incandescence and intensity reminiscent of Isaac Stern’s golden period of the late 1950s and early ’60s. The orchestral playing and engineering is of bracing impact and captivating allure.

The Big Bang and Creation of the Universe(completed in 2009 and premiered, like the Violin Concerto, by the Oxford Philharmonic) is cast in three movements – ‘Light’, ‘Peace’ and ‘Adam and Eve’. Borenstein writes in an unflashy tonal language that somehow manages to draw upon traditional sources and yet sounds urgently spontaneous. If you will it, it is no dream(2012) encapsulates Borenstein’s high-compression sound-world in which melodic and rhythmic ideas create a multi-layered frisson of hyper-activity.


Listen to an excerpt from this recording here.