In March 2018 Eldbjørg Hemsing releases her debut CD on the acclaimed Swedish label BIS, featuring violin concertos by Hjalmar Borgström and Dmitri Shostakovich, recorded with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Olari Elts.
Introducing the album Eldbjørg wrote: ”A few years ago, I was introduced to the music of Hjalmar Borgström, a name I was not previously familiar with and I was surprised to learn that he had been famous as both a composer and critic in Norway at the beginning of the 20th century. Opening the score of his first violin concerto for the first time I was immediately intrigued. This concerto, written in 1914, is incredibly beautiful, full of Norwegian Nationalist sentiment so typical of its time but also worthy of international attention. It reminds me of where I come from – the rugged landscape of Valdres and Jotunheimen, where the surrounding mountains rise dramatically over the valleys – and the music makes me yearn for my roots. After Borgström’s death in 1925 the concerto was completely forgotten and so today I am on something of a mission to help do my part in bringing this composer’s music back to life.
In contrast to Borgström’s work, I grew up loving Shostakovich’s first violin concerto and was completely hooked on it from an early age. Studying the work with Professor Boris Kushnir, who himself was the student of the concerto’s dedicatee, David Oistrakh, has given me a privileged insight into the music and allowed me to learn something of the Russian spirit with both its unqiue melancholy and humour. The concerto is a massive, emotional masterpiece where there are no limits to how far you are stretched within yourself in expression, pain, sorrow and hope.