After acclaimed recordings of the great Romantic violin concertos by Brahms, Bruch and Tchaikovsky, Vadim Gluzman takes on the work that in the beginning of the 19th century mapped out a new course for the genre: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61. With this work, Beethoven rejected the idea of a virtuoso display piece with a largely irrelevant orchestral accompaniment. Instead he presented a symphonic reinterpretation of the concerto principle, with soloist and orchestra becoming equal partners in a texture that is interwoven on many levels. Largely forgotten for several decades after the first performance in 1806, it is now considered one of the greatest violin concertos.
However innovative Beethoven was in his opus 61, he nevertheless remained true to the tradition of allowing the soloist several cadenzas. Over the years, a number of composers and great violin virtuosos have proposed their own cadenzas for the concerto, with Alfred Schnittke being one of the more unexpected names. For this recording, Gluzman has chosen to perform Schnittke’s cadenzas, as a link to the second work on the disc: the composer’s Concerto No. 3 for violin and chamber orchestra. To Schnittke, the relationship between soloist and orchestra is quite different from that demonstrated in Beethoven’s score: ‘It seems to me that this relationship is never harmonically equitable and balanced… The soloist and orchestra are in fact adversaries.’ However they may be labelled, James Gaffigan and the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester nevertheless provide unstinting support to Gluzman in both scores.
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