YR is the debut of an artist with a dynamite personality that is audible in every stroke of the bow. Combining traditional Hardanger fiddle playing and a classical approach at this level is done by few others that Ragnhild Hemsing (1988).
Grieg in the continental tradition
You hear it from the first note: Ragnhild is not playing a Norwegian pastiche by the icon Grieg! When given the right care to the traditional remembrances in the music – the way Grieg intended – the result is a big virtuosic violin sonata in the romantic continental tradition.
The tunes of the old masters
With the traditional Hardanger fiddle in hand, Hemsing proves to possess the undisturbable calmness and finesse so special to the music tradition in Valdres. The two ‘lydarlåtter’ on the recording are pieces developed not as dance music but as listening music. The Six Village Songs from Lom of Sparre Olsen are also based on traditional tunes, but set out for violin and piano accompaniment by the composer.
Past and present meet in the title track
In his mesmerising piece for solo violin YR – a word that denotes both giddiness and a drizzling kind of rain – Lasse Thoresen lets traditional archaic building blocks come together as a contemporary way of expression. Here the exceptional qualities of Ragnhild’s background comes to the fore, indeed the composer has stated that “Ragnhild plays incredibly, fabulously well!” Together with folk dancer Hallgrim Hansegård she has developed the piece into a stunning stage performance, which is also included on the release as a video.