10/08/2008

Sibelius Violin Concerto in D Minor: Powerful & Deep

I first heard this piece (watched it on YouTube, actually) when it was performed by the Korean violinist Kyung Sun Lee with the Kangnam Orchestra. The piece is really forceful & you can't help but be swept away by the strong deep tones & the soloist's passionate playing. 

Taken from Wiki:

Written by Jean Sibelius, the concerto was dedicated to the noted violinist Franz von Vecsey. The initial version of the concerto premiered in 1903 in Helsinki. Sibelius conducted the performance and Victor Novacek was the soloist. The premiere performance was a disaster.

Sibelius withheld this version from publication and made substantial revisions. He deleted much material he felt did not work. The new version premiered in 1905 in Berlin with Richard Strauss conducting and Karl Halir as solois.

The initial version was noticeably more demanding on the advanced skills of the soloist and was revived in the early 1990s on the BIS record label by violinist Leonidas Kavakos, with the permission of Sibelius' heirs. The revised version still requires a considerably high level of technical facility on the part of the soloist.


2 points that I find interesting about this music:

  • The melody is strong & commanding. The soloist has to show amazing skill & mastery of the instrument to relay the depth of the tune. Nothing light about this piece, we're talking smooth, rich music that insists to be heard.
  • The accompaniment is centered heavily on the lower sounding instruments, like the cello, the double basses & particularly the bassoons. Woodwinds add a warm ethereal feeling to the piece, definitely a plus point.
I think of dark stormy nights when I hear this piece, I've tried to play bits of it but, oh well, I suck :p

Definitely one of the best works from Sibelius, a great orchestral piece that demands respect & appreciation :)

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