Following his 2001 disc of works by Arne Nordheim, Norwegian violinist Peter Herresthal and BIS have collaborated on the project ’A String of Releases’ – recordings of contemporary violin concertos, in several cases written especially for Herresthal. Featured composers so far have been Olav Anton Thommessen, Henrik Hellstenius and Ørjan Matre – all from Norway – as well as Thomas Adès and Per Nørgård. Utterly fearless in his approach to these complex works, Herresthal has received recognition for his recordings, earning a Spellemannprisen (the ‘Norwegian Grammy’) as well as being shortlisted for a Gramophone Award.
The present, amply-filled addition to Herresthal’s ‘string’ features the composers Rolf Wallin (b. 1957) and Eivind Buene (b. 1973). Wallin – one of Scandinavia’s leading composers – has for Herresthal made a version of Under City Skin, his 2009 concerto for viola and ensemble. The work is a poetic and sonic journey through an imaginary cityscape, with the solo violin and the string orchestra playing off and with a pre-recorded soundtrack. Buene’s Violin Concerto was also conceived with Herresthal in mind. With suggestive individual titles – Falling Angels, Sound Asleep and Among Voices – its three movements are each scored for a different combination of chamber orchestral forces. They can be played separately, but together they form a haunting triptych of melancholy and memory. Supporting Herresthal in the concertos are the conductor Øyvind Bjorå and musicians from the Arctic Philharmonic, in two different configurations: as a chamber orchestra and a sinfonietta. Bjorå and the Sinfonietta also perform Wallin’s Appearances and Buene’s Miniatures, for 15 and 16 musicians respectively.