Anders Hillborg’s Violin Concerto No. 2 – written for Lisa Batiashvili – was premiered in October 2016 by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra under Sakari Oramo. The Gewandhaus Orchester Leipzig and Alan Gilbert gave the German premiere a week later, with performances by the concerto’s other co-commissioners, the Minnesota and Seoul Philharmonic orchestras, to follow in 2017.
‘Hillborg’s score is so fresh and skilfully constructed… virtuosic – unbelievably exciting. It progresses with a directly speaking, timeless, beauty.’
Leipziger Volkszeitung (Peter Korfmacher), 31 October 2016
‘25 years ago, when Hillborg grappled with his first Violin Concerto, the largest challenge posed by the genre was that it seemed too bourgeois and tradition weight. His solution was a concerto that would redefine the relationship between the individual and the collective, and that would allow the music’s main thread to freely wander between soloist and orchestra… In the second concerto, Hillborg turns things around almost totally. Certainly, short passages of classical question-answer technique are included, but the orchestral accompaniment is mostly so remarkably easy, that all light is now directed to the soloist. The format sets, perhaps, higher demands on the soloist than has been customary in many contemporary concertos. The quality must be top-notch, and the soloist has to shine. But obviously Batiashvili does that: the purity is crystal clear and the intelligence razor-sharp… One can just hope for a performance in Finland in a near future.'
Hufvudstadsbladet (Wilhelm Kvist), 21 October 2016
‘It’s easy to forget that Hillborg has passed 60 years. As long as one can remember there’s been an air of Rock’n Roll surrounding him… The new concerto starts with the warped movements that are typical of Hillborg and then open up to a broad minor chord when the soloist enters. There are more explicitly tonal chords to come, including some in the bright major… Batiashvili is just as dazzling as one could imagine in a part that is partly incredibly difficult, partly built on meditations suited for her singing but firm sound.’
Svenska Dagbladet (Erik Wallrup), 21 October 2016
‘Clamorous glissandi, strange mists of sound, extended harmonic shifts… 24 minutes of tight, coherent music. Batiashvili is absolutely phenomenal… She is completely one with the music. As are the Philharmonic.’
Expressen (Gunilla Brodrej), 21 October 2016