Friday, May 6, 2016

Brahms' Violin Concerto & Double Concerto

Of course, I intend everyone to understand that I hold all the work of Brahms in very high regard. If you are a composer you can imagine how this music makes me feel: I never tire of hearing it. But it's like the very best chocolate or the very best of anything in life. There's a season for it and sometimes too much of it spoils your appetite for lesser things. But while we're at it, we're going to make sure all our readers know this music too. There's nothing else quite like it!

The violin concerto, written in 1878 when Brahms was 45, is quite simply the best one there ever was. Beethoven's is certainly great, but this is of surpassing beauty of another magnitude. It has real steel and emotional depth. I grew up listening to Jascha Heifitz and René-Charles "Zino" Francescatti play it. It would have seemed hard to find a violinist that could cut it, but I did. He plays a rarely heard (maybe his own) first movement cadenza too. Brahms would actually have approved!

Published on May 9, 2015, from a concert of the Verbier Festival, Switzerland – July, 2012

Maxim Vengerov, Violin
Jaap van Zweden, Conductor
Verbier Festival Orchestra

Brahms also wrote another concerto for violin and cello. This also ranks right up there with his other masterpieces and it was the last piece he wrote for orchestra when he was 54. I'd heard all the great violin and cello duos do this, could there be a modern rendition of this work that gets it? Well, what do you know ...

Published on Jun 26, 2014

Renaud Capuçon, violin
Gautier Capuçon, cello
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Myung-Whun Chung, conductor
From the London Proms 2011


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