Minnesota Orchestra opens 2017-18 with new Anders Hillborg violin concerto

Posted on: September 21, 2017

“Osmo Vänskä offered his own sensible, nicely balanced program to kick off the Minnesota Orchestra’s 115th season: four varied, short, mostly familiar pieces surrounding the U.S. premiere of a brand-new violin concerto,” writes Michael Anthony in Saturday’s (9/16) Star Tribune (Minneapolis). Commissioned with three other orchestras, the concerto “was a work of rare mystery and beauty. It’s the kind of music that when it stops—and it does so rather abruptly—you want it to keep going. The composer, 63-year-old Anders Hillborg, who attended the performance, is probably the leading light in Swedish music today. Renée Fleming sang his song cycle ‘The Strand Settings’ at Orchestra Hall in 2014. Looking ahead to November, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will give the U.S. premiere of Hillborg’s ‘Bach Materia,’ a work for solo violin and strings…. In this 25-minute, single-movement concerto evokes the ‘mystical minimalism’ of recent decades by composers such as Arvo Pärt and John Tavener. The music floats…. Time seems to stop…. Canadian violinist James Ehnes was the adroit—really, quite brilliant—soloist.… The other works—by Stravinsky, Berlioz, Ravel and John Adams—received committed, polished performances…. Vänskä’s reading of [‘Pavane for a Dead Princess’], full of subtleties, made it seem fresh and new.”

Posted September 21, 2017