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Press release date: July 2020




Debut CD on Rubicon Classics
Release 30 October 2020

Arthur Benjamin Sonata (Elegy, Waltz and Toccata)
Peder Barratt-Due Duo ‘Correspondances
Henri Vieuxtemps Elégie Op. 30
Eugène Ysaÿe Caprice d’apres l’Etude en forme de Valse de Saint-Saëns Op. 52
Georges Enesco Conzertstück
Paul Hindemith Sonata Op. 11 No. 4

Young Norwegian violist Eivind Ringstad brings a richly varied repertoire of standards, transcriptions and a new work to showcase the versatility of his instrument on this debut recital CD on Rubicon Classics, supported by his 2018 BBT Fellowship. His partner is German pianist David Meier with whom he has regularly performed over the last decade.

The title work was commissioned for Eivind from young Norwegian composer Peder Barratt-Due by The Royal Philharmonic Society and BBC New Generation Artists and premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2018. Inspired by Baudelaire’s poem Correspondances, from the volume of poetry Les Fleurs du mal, the composer explores how the idea of profound communion with nature and surrender of the psyche to the world around us can bring closer connectivity of the senses within ourselves, as well as with others. These notions work well in the realm of music, especially chamber music, where sensitivity, response and interpretation between players is so essential. Ringstad is captivated by the composition, “the virtuosic capacities of both instruments are set free in swift and furious passages and the ability of the musicians to correspond is pushed to the limit.

Another element of close correspondence and harmony is Ringstad’s personal passion for his viola. Typically characterised as a lyrical instrument with a dark and deep sound, he believes the viola has more to offer and also excels in the higher register with radiant, soft and shimmering sounds, as exemplified in the repertoire chosen for this album. This is especially true of his own instrument, the G.B Guadagnini “ex-Vieuxtemps” 1768 (Parma). Ringstad says of his viola, “it inspires me whatever repertoire I work with and there are no boundaries to what I can explore. I find it particularly fascinating to play Vieuxtemps’ music and I like to imagine that he has written his viola pieces inspired by the sound of this instrument.” For this recording he has chosen Elégie Op. 30, full of drama and passion and noted for its expressive contrasts and the bravura style of the coda.

Among Hindemith’s prolific output for the viola, Sonata Op. 11 No. 4 stands out as especially popular and weaves impressionistic schemes together with Romantic and Neo-classical styles as well as folk themes. Benjamin’s Sonata, on the other hand, is relatively unknown. Written for legendary violist William Primrose, it is a mostly lyrical, elegiac work, with a contrasting toccata that prefigures the famous Jamaican Rumba for which Benjamin is so well known.

Ringstad considers Ysaÿe´s Caprice d’apres l’Etude en forme de Valse de Saint-Saëns (originally written for violin and piano) an ideal piece to demonstrate the expressive range and power of a viola and has commissioned this new transcription from Norwegian violinist and arranger Nils Thore Røsth. The work is filled with lyrical melodies in waltz style and powerful demonic moments that command thrilling virtuosity.

Enesco’s Conzertstück, could hardly be omitted from this showcase as it has become a mainstay of the violist’s repertoire with its various technical challenges, singing phrases for each individual string, graceful double-stops and dazzling passages. It is a dramatic concert piece in rhapsodic form combining French impressionist and Romanian folk elements.

The release of Correspondances will be celebrated in Oslo on 17 November at a special event in the old Christiania Savings Bank, which is now a building for cultural events in the city centre.

Eivind Ringstad viola

  • Born 1994 and started to play violin aged five, moving onto viola aged 14
  • Studied at Barratt Due Music Institute in Oslo with Soon-Mi Chung
  • Prizes and Awards include 1st prize Eurovision Young Musicians 2012, Arve Tellefsen musician prize 2013,
    Statoil (Equinor) prize 2014, Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship 2016 and entry to the BBC New Generation
    Artists Scheme 2016-2018
  • Orchestras with which he appears as soloist include Oslo, Bergen and Copenhagen Philharmonic
    orchestras, Trondheim and Kristiansand Symphony orchestras, Dala and London Sinfoniettas, Vienna and
    Norwegian Radio orchestras, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra
    and most of the BBC orchestras in the UK
  • Chamber music collaborators include Leif Ove Andsnes, Janine Jansen, Anthony Marwood, Henning
    Kraggerud, Beatrice Rana and Steven Isserlis
  • Artistic Director of Norsjø Chamber music festival in Telemark, Norway with co-directors pianist Øyvind
    Sundsvalen and composer Martin Ødegaard
  • His own transcriptions for viola include virtuoso compositions, as well as famous short pieces by
    composers such as Grieg, Ysaÿe, Elgar and Ole Bull
  • Commissions include Peder Barratt-Due’s ‘Correspondances’ premeired in 2018 at the Edinburgh
    International Festival
  • Recordings include Walton’s viola concerto and Sinding suite arranged for viola and Orchestra, with Oslo
    Philharmonic/Joshua Weilerstein, Arvid Engegård (Lawo Classics 2017) and his debut recital
    Correspondances’ (Rubicon Classics 2020)
  • Plays the G. Guadagnini “ex-Vieuxtemps” viola dating from 1768, kindly on loan from Dextra Musica

Photo of Eivind Ringstad: Terese Samuelsen

David Meier piano

Peder Barrat-Due composer

Supported by Borletti-Buitoni Trust