Recorded on 12/04/2010, uploaded on 01/12/2012
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Suffering and conflicted from his failed marriage, Tchaikovsky took to a nomadic life in 1877. His exodus took him first to Clarens, a resort on Lake Geneva in Switzerland, where he planned to rest and recuperate. He was joined in Clarens by his composition pupil, Iosif Kotek, who had been in Berlin studying violin with Joseph Joachim. The two performed pieces for violin and piano together to pass the time away, eventually lifting Tchaikovsky out of his depression. One of these pieces was Édouard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole. Tchaikovsky highly praised the work, calling attention to its freshness and beautiful melodies. Quickly the creative fire returned to the composer and in just eleven days he had sketched the entirety of a concerto for violin. Within a month of beginning the work, it was finished (including the composition of a new middle movement) and orchestrated. As Tchaikovsky was not a violinist himself, Kotek was immensely helpful to him in crafting the solo violin part.
Tchaikovsky intended the concerto to be premiered by the famed Leopold Auer, to whom he also dedicated the piece. Yet like Nikolai Rubinstein before him with the First Piano Concerto, Auer refused to perform the Violin Concerto. Though Auer was fond of Tchaikovsky’s music, his feelings were not the same towards the new piece. Tchaikovsky was hurt by Auer’s rejection, though was spared the brutal rebuttal Rubinstein had previously given him, and furthermore was forced to postpone the intended March 1879 premiere until a new soloist was found. Auer, inevitably, reconciled himself to work and championed it. The task of premiering the concerto eventually fell to Adolph Brodsky who premiered the concerto in Vienna on December 4, 1881. The performance, however, was ill-prepared and overall received harsh criticism. Eduard Hanslick, one of the most influential critics in Vienna, called it “long and pretentious” and “music…which stinks to the ear.” On the other hand, he also stated that it was “not without genius.”
Considered one of the most difficult concerti written for the instrument, the Violin Concerto abounds in the tuneful melodies one expects of Tchaikovsky. The original second movement was considered weak by both Kotek and Tchaikovsky’s brother, Anatoly, and was replaced by the beautiful Canzonetta that now occupies that central position in the work. Tchaikovsky, however, did not totally discard the original slow movement and it resurfaced shortly thereafter as the first piece of the composer’s Souvenir d’un lieu cher for violin and piano. The Canzonetta proceeds without break into the finale, an energetic Trepak. Joseph DuBose
Finale: Allegro Vivacissimo played by Emanuel Salvador (violin), Jose Ferreira Lobo (conductor), Orquestra do Norte. Recorded live at Igreja Matriz de Penafiel on the 4/12/2010.For more info, please visit www.emanuelsalvador.com or myspace.com/emanuelsalvador
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