Strictly speaking, the classical concert business as it presents itself in the 21st century is primarily a capitalist economic enterprise in which demand determines supply. This leads to a production, if not an overproduction, of young artists worldwide, who are regularly dumped in training centers before they reach artistic maturity, if they are lucky, in order to produce even more newcomers with a short expiration date in line with demand. The mass production of classical music performers means that the surface sheen of their products is enhanced by the increasing technical perfection of their performances. This is at least true for instrumentalists who often outperform instrumentalists of earlier generations in terms of technology, but are regularly far inferior to them in terms of the musical content of their performances. The driving force behind this situation is the countless competitions that sort out young artists with less nerves of steel and possibly musical talent, and prefer marketable technical skills to musical values. Since jurors are increasingly being recruited from artists trained according to these criteria, this situation is unlikely to change any time soon. In addition, the young generation of classical music listeners, due to a lack of alternatives, considers musical idleness reduced to technical brilliance to be just as normal as by bakeries and bakers alike badly baked pretzels are today regarded as tasty, even though they have nothing to do with real pretzel enjoyment.
Miraculously, in all this misery there are exceptional talents like the Swedish violinist Johan Dalene, who is not yet twenty years old and who has had a child prodigy career like in a picture book: he took up the violin for the first time at the age of four and gave his first concert three years later. In the following innumerable competitions, he showed the competition where the real hammer lies. And apparently the competitions did not harm him, as he gained a sovereignty that allows him to devote himself entirely to the musical content. This is impressively demonstrated by the TV recording of the final concert of the Carl Nielsen Competition 2019, which he won first, and which can be watched and listened to on his website and in better technical quality on www.medici-tv (free of charge). Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto was performed, which is also the subject of his current album Tchaikovsky & Barber, together with another orchestra and conductor. The TV recording additionally conveys in a visually impressive way what the album is only able to represent acoustically: an artist who is fully mature in spite of all his youth, for whom technically top-class playing is a matter of course, which serves to transport musical content convincingly and to tell it in a new way. This also applies to the album's Barber Concerto, where the violinist's extremely elegant playing makes one speechless.
In the case of Daniel Blendulf, the term "exceptional artist", which today is term that has been almost ridden to death, does indeed apply, if one understands by it a perfect artist who, according to the understanding passed on, is not only able to shine technically, but primarily conveys music that touches the soul.
Johan Dalene, violin
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra
Daniel Blendulf, conductor