Tchaikovsky and Nielsen Violin Concertos. The Norwegian violinist talks to Sarah Kirkup about her third recording for EMI Classics

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"Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang’s third EMI Classics recording (out now) features the Tchaikovsky and Nielsen Violin Concertos. She talks to Gramophone deputy editor Sarah Kirkup.

Q: Why pair the Tchaikovsky with the Nielsen?

A: To me, they complement each other, rather like the Elgar and Dvořák Cello Concertos. Sixty years ago, the Elgar seemed quite exotic, and now everybody loves it. The Nielsen is the Danish version of the Elgar. People are still not used to his way of writing – he’s not easy to get along with straight away, and he has a very special, relaxed sense of structure (there is one but it’s not very concrete). Also, his music is not just strange but tricky to play. This sort of music requires 120 per cent effort, but it’s so rewarding when you dig into it. Everyone should play this work!

Q: Technically, how does the Nielsen compare to the Tchaikovsky?

A: For sure it’s very challenging – in fact, it’s rather more awkward than the Tchaikovsky. But what they both have in common is that the technical aspect is only a consideration because the composers’ musical ambitions are so high. The composers never just show technique for its own sake – there’s always a reason behind it.