New Riisager album released

Knudåge Riisager's highly personal contribution to the concerto genre, the Violin Concerto, is now released in a recording by Aarhus Symphony Orchestra.

Cover art by Denise Burt

Knudåge Riisager holds a special place in Danish music, enriching it with an extra dimension of spirituality and pithiness.

Now the famous ballet music ‘Etudes’ has been recorded by Riisager-experts Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and conductor Andreas Delfs, together with Riisager's ‘Violin Concerto’, with soloist Ian van Rensburg. The record is released at Dacapo Records 15 January.

In the booklet of the album, Claus Røllum-Larsen writes:

"With the Violin Concerto Riisager made a highly personal contribution to the concerto genre. From the outset, its disposition broke with ‘common practice’, since it falls into two movements: a contemplative first movement and an action-packed second movement. In the former, the violin more or less stands outside the orchestra, with which it attempts to make contact. Only in brief passages can one can speak of a truly realized interplay. The contrast between soloist and orchestra comes to expression among other ways in brusque comments on the playing of the violin from the brasses.

The second movement has two subjects, one highly capricious and one more singable. It has features from the sonata movement form, but – typically for Riisager – in a relatively free version. An important aspect of the Violin Concerto is the exquisite orchestral treatment. Here Riisager uses instruments with great contrasting effects, for example, the celesta with its bright bell-like tone and the bass clarinet with its low ‘raw’ tones."

The 'Violin Concerto' was premiered at a Thursday Concert in 1951 with Nicolai Malko as the conductor and Wandy Tworek as soloist.

Read more about the release at Dacapo Records.