Telegraph, Saturday September 18, 2004.
Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Serenade in G minor. Sinding: Violin Concerto No 1; Romance in D.
Henning Kraggerud (violin), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, cond Bjarte Engset
Naxos 8.557266, £4.99
Henning Kraggerud, in his early thirties, is one of the brightest young stars in the violin firmament, and his recording of concertos by Sibelius and Sinding attests to his mature artistry. His interpretation of the Sibelius, echoed by Bjarte Engset’s conducting of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, is a full-bodied Romantic one. As a team, they powerfully act out the musical dramas of the two outer movements, with Kraggerud’s rich and pliable violin timber as the cheif protagonist, within a context of bold orchestral colours. This is not the chilly landscape that some performersevoke, but it is one that has consistency of thought, suggesting vastness of expanse and awe-inspiring strenght of musical ideas. Kraggerud is as compelling in the mellow lyricism of the slow movement as he is in the taxing virtuosity elsewhere. The finale has a thrilling drive.
The main companion piece here is the Violin Concerto No 1 by Christian Sinding, a fellow Norwegian countryman of Kraggerud’s who is best known for the once popular piano miniature Rustle of Spring. The concerto starts with a theme hinting that Sinding must have heard the finale of the concerto by Brahms, but it is a good, muscular piece that fully merits resurrection in a performance as fine as this one is.