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On This Day… October 19

When talking about the world of violin concertos, there are two that dominate. Tchaikovsky’s concerto in D major is incredible, but just as important is the subject of today’s post. Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in d minor, premiered on this day in 1905.

This work is the only concerto that Sibelius wrote – though he did write a number of smaller scale works for solo instrument and orchestra. The concerto features an extended cadenza in the first movement acts as the development, while the third movement has been described as a “polonaise for polar bears.” The writing is highly virtuosic, but these passages also alternate with melodic phrases. Conceived symphonically, all sections of the orchestra have equal voice.

This work was first premiered in 1903, however it was a disaster. Sibelius revised the work, deleting much of the material he felt did not work. He premiered the revised work in 1905 with Richard Strauss conducting and Karl Hair as soloist. Heifetz did much to promote this work with his 1959 recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Today we have violinist David Oistrakh with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra.. I Hope you enjoy.

What’s your favourite recording of the Sibelius concerto? What’s your favourite violin concerto? Let me know in the comments, or write your own blog post linking back here, and I’ll add a link to your post below.

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