Whether it’s the performance of a beloved sonata in an intimate recital or a pulse-quickening concerto with full orchestra, a great violinist in full flight is thrilling. Legendary superstars and exciting newcomers are all on stage in some of the most exciting violin concerts of the year.
The Paris audience attending the 1923 premiere of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 were expecting a work driven by the same furious energy as his ballet scores. Instead, they were surprised by a beautiful concerto with a lyrical quality and a particularly rhapsodic opening solo. The 1805 audience at the first public performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 was stunned when they were presented with this truly revolutionary work. They encountered the most powerful symphony ever written. Beethoven’s mighty “Eroica” changed the face of symphonic music and heralded the age of Romanticism.
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra Mariss Jansons, Chief Conductor Frank Peter Zimmermann, Violin
Many of Bach’s most eloquent statements were made at the organ keyboard, where he would improvise on Lutheran chorale tunes and spin complex webs of counterpoint. Bach was also a master of instrumental music, and his violin concertos are melodically rich and highly virtuosic works. Les Violons du Roy explores the best of both these worlds in a program that features concertos and striking new arrangements of the Leipzig master’s keyboard works.
Les Violons du Roy Bernard Labadie, Founding Conductor Isabelle Faust, Violin
Three Leipzig Chorale Preludes (transcr. Bernard Labadie) ·· Fantasia on Komm, Heiliger Geist, BWV 651 ·· Trio on Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland, BWV 660 ·· Trio on Herr Jesu Christ, dich zu uns wend, BWV 655
Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582 (arr. Bernard Labadie)
Violin Concerto in E Major
Violin Concerto in A Minor
Contrapunctus XIV from The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 (completed by Bernard Labadie, after Davitt Moroney)
Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 is an elegant work with an abundance of beautiful melodies that also shows a fascination with all things Turkish, including a section where cellos and basses slap the wooden side of their bows on the strings to create an exotic percussive sound. Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 has its own share of melodic splendor, particularly in the fourth-movement Adagietto—the gorgeous love letter he wrote to his wife, featuring strings and harp. The symphony is also dramatic with a powerful opening Funeral March and roof-raising jubilant finale.
The MET Orchestra Gianandrea Noseda, Conductor James Ehnes, Violin