08 Mar 2022

Nielsen & Sibelius Violin Concertos

Third album out now!

After winning First Prize at the 2019 Carl Nielsen Competition in Denmark at the age of 18, Johan Dalene’s international career took flight swiftly. Three years later, the Swedish / Norwegian violinist has established himself as one of the most interesting violinists of his generation, and he now returns to the music of Carl Nielsen, as the central work to his third release on BIS Records. Pairing the Danish composer’s 1911 concerto with his more famous Finnish contemporary Jean Sibelius, Johan Dalene joined forces with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and John Storgårds.

Johan Dalene says: "Nielsen and Sibelius were born in the same year, 1865. One would think that their violin concertos are reminiscent of each other, but even though they were composed only 6 years apart, they have completely different tonal languages and structure. Both composers were violinists themselves and well acquainted with the instrument. You feel it clearly and I love both concertos but for different reasons - Sibelius for his late romantic style and his ability to describe both the Finnish 'Sisu' and vast Finnish forests and Nielsen with his neo-classical tone so full of surprises and unexpected harmonic twists."
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"Nielsen struggled with writing his violin concerto, and the process was neither quick nor easy. His goal was to create music with substance which would provide a challenge for the soloist, as well as presenting the violin in the best possible light. He succeeded in creating a masterpiece with infinite richness of detail. There is an enormous wealth of detail here and every time I return to his music I find something new."
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­Recording exclusively for BIS, Johan released his first album in 2019 with a recording of the Tchaikovsky and Barber Violin Concertos with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra. Gramophone described Johan as a "musician of special sensibilities" and the BBC Music Magazine named the album "one of finest violin debuts of the last decade". Of his second disc - a recital of Nordic music with pianist Christian Ihle Hadland - France’s Classica wrote "Despite being just twenty years old, the Swedish violinist gives the impression of having already had a long career" and Diapason commented "His secret? An astonishing mastery of fire." The album was subsequently awarded a Diapason d’Or de l’année.

"This was an incredibly varied and poised performance, unafraid to take the dynamic down to the smallest pianissimo and betraying not the slightest tremor when he played in the highest registers in moments of captivating stillness."
­The Strad, Carl Nielsen Competition 2019
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