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Stained Glass / Johan Dalene; Christian Ihle Hadland

Stained Glass / Johan Dalene; Christian Ihle Hadland

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This recital brings together two established classics from the 20th century with lesser-known works from the repertoire for violin and piano. Alongside Ravel’s Sonata, a work that reveals the influence of jazz on the French composer, and Prokofiev’s wartime Sonata, Op. 94a, an idiomatic arrangement of its original version for flute, we find compositions by Arvo Pärt, Lili Boulanger and Grazyna Bacewicz, which, at times meditative, at times lyrical, at times folk-inspired, testify to the richness of this repertoire. These works are here performed by Johan Dalene, the Swedish-Norwegian winner of the 2019 Nielsen Competition. The present disc is violinist’s fourth release on BIS, following a recording of the Nielsen and Sibelius Concertos named Editor’s Choice by Gramophone and awarded the 2023 Swedish Grammis Award for Best Classical, the Tchaikovsky Concerto described as ‘one of the finest violin débuts of the last decade’ in BBC Music Magazine, and ‘Nordic Rhapsody’, a violin and-piano recital that was awarded distinctions such as Diapason d’or and Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice. As with that release, Dalene is given here the expert support of Christian Ihle Hadland who has also appeared on other much-lauded recordings, most recently one dedicated to Saint-Saëns’ violin sonatas.

REVIEW:

The young violinist Johan Dalene was named Gramo­phone’s Young Artist of the Year in 2022 and has performed with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Czech Philhar­monic, and San Francisco Symphony. He’s also made his mark in Halls Wigmore and Carnegie, and on this brilliantly assembled collection of works by Arvo Part (Fratres), Maurice Ravel (Sonata in G major for violin and piano), Lili Boulanger (Nocturne), Sergei Prokofiev (Sonata No.2 in D major for violin and piano), and four short works by Grazyna Bacewicz.

The collection’s common thread is a pen­chant for piquant harmonies, atmosphere, and mysticism. Bacewicz’s early “Witraz” (Stained-Glass Window), which she com­posed in 1932 at the age of 23, is unforget­table. If you can begin to imagine magical flashes of light and color diffused through a stained-glass window, dancing across the room as they metamorphosize into sound, you’ll get a sense of how special this miniature sounds. Dalene’s Strad whispers, flashes, darts, and whirls as Hadland shines beside him through light and shadow.

Thanks to the iconic ECM New Series recording by Gidon Kremer and Keith Jarrett, Part’s early mystical masterpiece achieved fame just a few years after it was completed. Where Kremer begins with a whisper, Dalene is far more forthright, his tone irresistibly fresh and gleaming, and the recording benefits from superior engineer­ing. The touching poetry of Boulanger’s subtle miniature stands in sharp contrast to Prokofiev’s fabulous scherzo and circuslike finale. Ravel, too, revels in character, humor, amiability, and spice. The finale brings to mind someone chasing a mosquito around the room with a rolled-up copy of Stereophile in hand.

-- Stereophile

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: BIS
    • UPC/Barcode: 7318599927305
    • Item Number: BIS-2730