ANDERS NILSSON (b.1954): Violin Concerto (Västerås Sinfonietta; Fredrik Burstedt), YLVA SKOG (b.1963): Violin Concerto No. 1 (Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra; Anna-Maria Helsing).
Catalogue Number: 05S009
Label: db Productions
Reference: dBCD 179
Description: Two substantial, tonal, neo-romantic virtuoso vehicles, by teacher and former student, that make ideal disc-mates. The Nilsson is more conventionally neo-romantic. The composer began it after the death of his mother in 2010, and while it is by no means a funereal or angry work, its persistent tinge of melancholy, sense of nostalgia and striving toward static moments of repose seem to point to some degree of elegiac intent. The first movement begins with a restrained, sad introduction, which gives way to the busy, discursive manner of the bulk of the movement. Traces of Sibelius and earlier Romantic violin concerti are evident. The beginning of the slow movement is graceful and lyrical, but it is soon interrupted by a massive orchestral climax that seems to have wandered in from the Alpine Symphony. Thereafter, the movement consists of attempts to reassert the tranquility of the opening as shock-waves of agitation continually assail the music. The climax recurs, heightening the tension, which gradually subsides into an extraordinary intricate cadenza, accompanied by the tympani. This leads into the finale, acquiring a rhythmic pulse which begins the movement. Soon, lyrical folk-like material takes over, and the piece ends in increasingly optimistic mood, with decorative fireworks from the soloist. Skog's concerto is more extrovert in mood, outgoing and effervescent. The first movement begins with a kind of post-minimalist propulsiveness, to which syncopated rhythms add a bouncy swing. The work's main theme is then explored in a variety of moods; seductive, ominous and glissando-infested, lyrical, and finally as a swaying Latin dance. After an ethereal introduction, the slow movement develops into a sultry slow groove, with the violin in scordatura tuning. The finale is energetic, with oddly Celtic-sounding folk-dance associations. Cecilia Ziliacus (violin).