Tuesday, October 13, 2015

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2015

QUOTE:
"Music gives us a language that cuts across the disciplines, helps us to
  see connections and brings a more coherent meaning to our world."
AUTHOR: Ernest Boyer
MEANING OF THE QUOTE:
"Music incorporates all the elements
   of life into one medium."



COMPOSER:
ANTONIN DVORAK
VIOLIN CONCERTO
IN A MINOR, OP. 53
James Tissot: Hush! The Concert, 1875
The woman in the picture is widely accepted to be Wilma Norman-Neruda
VIOLIN CONCERTO
IN A MINOR, OP. 53
Complete
Isaac Stern, Violin
Eugene Ormandy, Conductor
Philadelphia Orchestra, 1965
I. Allegro ma non troppo
II. Adagio ma non troppo
III. Finale: Allegro giocoso ma non troppo
Thomas Eakins: The Violinist
VIOLIN CONCERTO
IN A MINOR, OP. 53
I. Allegro ma non troppo
With Violin Notation
VIOLIN CONCERTO
IN A MINOR, OP. 53
II. Adagio ma non troppo
With Violin Notation
VIOLIN CONCERTO
IN A MINOR, OP. 53
III. Finale: Allegro giocoso ma non troppo
With Violin Notation
Stan Bigda: Concerto Finale
The Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53
(B.108), is a concerto for violin and orch-
estra composed by Antonín Dvorak in
1879 (between July 5 and mid-September)
and revised twice, in 1880 and then again
two years later in 1882.
Frantisek Ondricek
played the premiere on October 14, 1883
[and also gave the Vienna premiere
on December 2, 1883 (in the
same concert at which the Brahms
Third Symphony was played for the
first time) and the London premiere]
with the National Theatre Orchestra
conducted by Moric Anger.
Considered one of the
masterpieces of Dvorak's so-
called Slavic period, it was written
in close proximity to his first series of
Slavonic Dances (Op. 46),
8 SLAVONIC DANCES OP. 46
Zoltán Kocsis, Conductor
St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
0:00 No. 1 in B major (Odzemek)
4:30 No. 2 in E minor (Dumka)
9:30 No. 3 in A-flat major (Polka)
13:40 No. 4 in F major (Sousedská)
20:45 No. 5 in A major (Skočná)
24:19 No. 6 in D major (Sousedská)
29:51 No. 7 in C minor (Skočná)
33:25 No. 8 in G minor (Furiant)
CZECH SUITE IN D MAJOR OP. 39
Lukas Pohunek, Conductor
Academic Chamber Soloists Prague
I. Preludium (Pastorale)
II. Polka
III. Sousedská (Minuetto)
IV. Romance (Romanza)
V. Finale (Furiant)
the Slavonic Rhapsodies,
3 SLAVONIC RHAPSODIES, OP. 45, B. 86,
SLAVONIC RHAPSODY, OP. 45, No. 2
Zdenek Kosler, Conductor
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
and Symphony No. 6 in D Major,
SYMPHONY NO. 6
IN D MAJOR, OP 60
Sian Edwards, Conductor
Berliner Philharmonie
MOVEMENT I: 00:34
MOVEMENT II: 12:46
MOVEMENT III: 23:30
TRIO: 26:45
MOVEMENT IV: 31:34
with which it shares its compelling folkloric
melodies and overall positive expression.
The piece is one of Dvorak's most popular
and most frequently performed works (during
the rest of the nineteenth century the con-
certo was as popular as Beethoven's
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
VIOLIN CONCERTO
IN D MAJOR, OP. 61
Itzhak Perlman, Violin
Daniel Barenboim, Conductor
I. Allegro ma non troppo: 00:00
II. Larghetto: 24:37
III. Rondo. Allegro: 33:33
and even more so than Brahms')
JOHANNES BRAHMS
VIOLIN CONCERTO
IN D MAJOR, OP. 77
Itzhak Perlman, Violin
Carlo Maria Giulini, Conductor
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1986
I. Allegro non troppo (Cadenza by Joachim)
II. Adagio 24:41
III. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace 34:52
and is today an essential part
of the international violin repertoire.

John Singer Sargent:  Lady Speyer (Leonora von Stosch)

COMPOSITION HISTORY AND
THEJOACHIM EXPERIENCE
Dvorak wrote the first version of his violin concerto
during the summer of 1879 in the Czech country-
side at the estate of Prince Alain de Rohan,
in Sychrov Castle,
invited by his friend, Alois Göbl,
who had been the
secretary to the Prince.
During this time his reputation
was fast acquiring its international
dimension. Along with a large admiring
public, Dvorak now found himself in the
company of such luminaries as Brahms
Renowned critic, Eduard Hanslick (left)
and Brahms (right) were members of the
committee in Vienna who helped in the
selection of awarding government
grants to struggling artists.
(who had done so much to help the young
Dvorak's career being on the committee
that awarded Dvorak his first grant
and recommending him to his own pub-
lisher, Simrock) and his violinist friend,
Brahms (left) and Joachim (right)
in 1855
one of the most distinguished violinists
of his day, the Austro- Hungarian,
Joseph Joachim (1831-1907).
After hearing Joseph Joachim play Brahms'
Violin Concerto on New Year's Day in 1879
conducted by Brahms himself,
Brahms as Conductor
Dvorak was inspired 6 months later to start
composing his own violin concerto which he
hoped Joachim would premiere and to whom,
as an inscription on a July 1879 sketch for
the Violin Concerto indicates, he intended to
dedicate this violin concerto to. The title page
bore the dedication:
"I dedicate this work to the great Maestro Jos. Joachim,
with the deepest respect, Ant. Dvorak."
Although Joachim was well acquainted with
Dvorak's music style, being introduced to
Dvorak's music by Brahms, the two met for
the first time when he visited Berlin
"Old" Berlin
at the end of the same month (on July
29, 1879) to hear Joachim's quartet
play two of his works: the A Major
String Sextet, Opus 48,
SEXTET IN A MAJOR, OP. 48
I. Allegro. Moderato
II. Dumka. Poco allegretto
III. Furiant. Presto
IV. Finale. Tema con variazioni.
Allegretto grazioso, quasi andantino
and the E-Flat String Quartet, Opus 51,
STRING QUARTET NO. 10
IN E-FLAT, OP. 51
("SLAVONIC QUARTET")
both of which were performed at Joachim's house.
Villa Joachim in Berlin
Joseph Joachim’s villa, built in 1871-72 to designs by Richard Lucæ,
was in Tiergarten, with a main façade standing back from the street and fronting
the corner of Beethovenstrasse and In den Zelten
(Joachim had organized a gala evening
in Dvorak's honor.) While there, Dvorak
took the opportunity to consult Joachim
about his violin concerto in progress (just
as Brahms had done in the past; Brahms
was principally a pianist) for which the
first version (dated on the score:
July 5-13) would be completed
later that summer.
Giancarlo Vitali, 1929 
The initial sketch of the original version
essentially treated the same themes as
in the final version, but its formal arrange-
ment differed considerably. Joachim recom-
mended certain changes which Dvorak work-
ed into the emerging score during August and
September and, in November, he sent the
concerto to Joachim with an an accompanying
letter expressing the wish that Joachim state
his "avowed opinion" on the concerto. Joachim
apologized for the fact that he was temporarily
engaged, but he promised Dvorak that he
would take a look at the work "con amore" as
soon as possible. (In January 1880 Dvorak
reported that Joachim had promised to play
the concerto as soon as it was published.)
Dvorak awaited his comments and was able to
hear the verdict from him in person when he
visited Joachim in Berlin in late March
and early April 1880.
It is well known that never hesitated to "correct"
concertos that younger composers submitted
for his approval. From Max Bruch's
Violin Concerto in G Minor
MAX BRUCH
VIOLIN CONCERTO NO. 1
IN G MINOR
Janine Jansen, Violin
Michael Schønvandt, Conductor
Radio Kamer Filharmonie
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxZbVwrGOrc
I. Allegro moderato
II. Adagio
III. Allegro energico
in 1865, he graduated to Brahms'
Violin Concerto in D Major in 1878
(ANOTHER VERSION)
JOHANNES BRAHMS
VIOLIN CONCERTO
IN D MAJOR
Hilary Hahn, Violin
Paavo Jarvi, Conductor
Frankford Radio Symphony Orchestra
which he worked on with Brahms' very
closely. But Joachim didn't just revise
solo parts; he suggested changes in
musical structure and orchestration
that Bruch obsequiously obeyed, with
the upshot that his (and Brahms') pieces
were introduced to the world by
the great Joachim.
It was to be expected that Dvorak would
not get awaywith anything short of a com-
plete, measure-by-measure examination of his
score, which, in fact, is what occurred and
resulted in the verdict that Joachim recom-
mended the concerto needed a thorough re-
vision. Dvorak, analmost compulsive reviser
of his own works, undertook these "sugges-
tions" meticulously, completely rewriting the
concerto, (his first set of changes), a task he
undertook between the 4th of April and the
25th of May. The composer even wrote
to his publisher Simrock,
Fritz Simrock
on May 9, 1880, that he had reworked the
entire score, "without missing a single bar."
Dvorak sent this "new arrangement," as he
noted in the score, to Joachim for inspection
once again. This time he had to wait more than
two years for a reply. In August 1882 Joachim
finally responded. Dvorak received a letter
from the violinist in which he explained in de-
tail his standpoint on the current version of the
concerto proposing further partial changes (like
the need to lighten the density of the orchestral
setting) and he made numerous emendations to
the solo part to ensure greater facility of per-
formance. To this he stated:
"Some passages...were too difficult to perform."

He also chided Dvorak, who himself was both
a violinist and a violist (having played principal
viola at the Provisional Theatre
from 1862 to 1871 under the
conductor Bedrich Smetana
in 1866), for
"not having played in some time."
Claiming to be editing only the solo part,
Joachim (a strict classicist) intimated
(though never saying anything outright)
that he was skeptical about Dvorak's a-
brupt truncation of the first movement's
orchestral tutti, the shortened recapitu-
lation and that it led directly to the slow
second movement, and the persistent
repetition found in the third movement.
But, despite his criticism, Joachim re-
peatedly expressed his admiration for
the concerto to Dvorak saying he
"was pleased by the many true beauties of your work, which
it will be a pleasure for me to perform,"
however doubting in the next breath that
"in its present shape [it is] ripe for the public, especially because
of its orchestral accompaniment, which is still rather heavy."
Presumably, if he hadn't liked the work,
he wouldn't have gone to the trouble
of making corrections.
G. Grenville Manton:
Portrait Study
(Lady Playing a Violin)
Despite everything, Dvorak
welcomed and took under consideration
Joachim's technical suggestions. While
it is not possible to assess the full extent
of these revisions since Dvorak destroyed
the original material, it is clear from a letter
that the changes were very far reaching
touching every aspect of the concerto's
musical fabric and organization.
At Joachim's invitation, with a represent-
ative (Robert Keller) of the composer's
Berlin-based publisher, Fritz Simrock, in
attendence (who had his own criticisms
to add), he travelled to Berlin in September
so that they could play through the work
together. Clearly expressing a sense of re-
lief, the composer wrote about this
to his publisher Simrock:
"I played the violin concerto with Joachim twice. He liked it very much,
and Mr Keller, who was present as well, was delighted with it.
I was very glad that the matter has finally been sorted out. The issue
of revision lay at Joachim's door for a full two years!! He very kindly
revised the violin part himself; I just have to change something in
the Finale and refine the instrumentation in a number of places. I
must return to Berlin at the beginning of November; everything will
certainly be ready by then and Joachim will organize
an orchestral rehearsal at the Academy."
(The "Academy" referred to was a student
orchestra at Joachim's Hochschule fur
Musiknin Berlin for which Joachim was
the founder and director.)
George Frederic Watts:
The Violinist, 1875
Although the protracted
negotiations with Joachim had
finally come to an end, in the follow-
ing December Dvorak was made aware
that further alterations to the score, before
its publication, were still required by the pub-
lisher Simrock, specifically Robert Keller
(Simrock's much valued music adviser).
One requirement was for Dvorak to shorten
the length of the third movement; a sugges-
tion that he accepted making two large cuts
in the Finale. Keller also proposed that the
first two movements not follow on attacca
(directing a performer to go without pause
to the next section), a technique he criticized
to be irregular even though the composer
Max Bruch had earlier done something similar
in his popular Concerto in G Minor,
completed in 1865-66.
Ilya Repin:
Portrait of Violinist

Cecilia Hansen
He wanted the composer to write a new ending
for the first movement rather than letting it lead
straight into the slow movement. However on
this point Dvorak refused to make this change
and insisted on keeping it. He said,
"...the first two movements can—or must—remain as they are."
Dvorak wrote Simrock on December 16, 1882:
"You know that I esteem this man and can appreciate him, but this
time he went too far. The first movement would be too short and can-
not be complete in itself: it would be necessary to add a third part and
to this — sincerely speaking — I am not inclined. Therefore: first and
second movement without any changes, some cuts in the third move-
ment where the main motif in A major appears."
Dvorak's judgment was also supported
by violinist Pablo de Sarasate
Pablo de Sarasate
and even Simrock himself who,
in the end, had this version of the
work published in 1883, four years
after its completion.
Eduardo León Garrido:
A Musical Afternoon 
Looking back, Dvorak was
artistically correct in his assess-
ment as the 13-bar Quasi moderato
transition passage connecting the first
movement (Allegro ma non troppo in
common time) and second movement
(Adagio ma non troppo in triple meter)
is considered by many to be one of the
loveliest moments in the concerto.
Thomas Cooper Gotch:
Mrs Fielden,
Violinist, 1912
It is interesting to reflect that the conservative
Joachim may have been in agreement with Keller
(perhaps Dvorak's free, more imaginative ap-
proach to musical form, especially with respect to
Dvorak's bold experimentation in the first move-
ment, made him uncomfortable) since, other than
his play-through in Berlin, Joachim does not seem
to have ever performed the concerto in public
(though he almost did so in London in 1884).
Never-the-less, his name remained at the head of
the score as its dedicatee. Instead the premiere, as
stated previously, given on October 14, 1883 in
Prague, was performed by Dvorak's friend, the
twenty-three-year-old, Prague-born violinist,
František Ondříček.

George Bellows: The Violinist Leila Kalman
ANALYSIS
The Violin Concerto, while still holding onto
the traditional Germanic classical concerto
form for its basic structure or outline (three
movements of which the two outer movements
are written in a faster tempo, and the middle
one is slow and lyrical: fast-slow-fast) has dis-
tinct harmonic characteristics and is infused
with traditional Czech melodies with the con-
certo's effectiveness depending on the immed-
iate appeal of the thematic material.

Dvorak stepped slightly outside the traditional
mould in this concerto like, as previously stated,
his idea of linking the first and second move-
ments together without interruption. He
dispensed with any long orchestral
introduction [as Mendelssohn's
had done 35 years earlier in his Op. 64
violin concerto (1844),
FELIX MENDELSSOHN
VIOLIN CONCERTO
IN E MINOR, OP. 64
Arthur Grumiaux, Violin
Manuel Rosenthal, Conductor
Orchestre National de la RTF

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isE_z9GJP0Q
which broke with classical formal tradition by
delaying the opening orchestral tutti and having
the soloist take center stage at the onset of the
work, and as Bruch had done with his violin
concerto as well] and abbreviated the first-move-
ment reprise (and also the somewhat ambiguous
expression of sonata form in the first move-
ment). The piece also does not contain the
traditional virtuoso solo cadenza.
Carl Schweninger Jr: Das Konzert
VIOLIN CONCERTO
IN A MINOR, OP. 53
(MOVEMENT I)
Josef Suk, Violin
video
MOVEMENT I.
Dvorak wastes no time in alerting us to
the fact that he will adhere to no pre-
scribed formal scheme in his first move-
ment, by dispensing entirely with an orch-
estral exposition. Instead, the first move-
ment begins boldly with a forceful unison
"forte" statement, with a suggestion of
triple-time furiant rhythm, consisting of
just a few chords given by the orchestra
(before even five measures have gone by).
This serves to introduce the solo violin
which answers with a pensive and bitter-
sweet lyrical melody filled with longing
which never stops playing for very long.
The warmly melodic theme then gives
way to a cadenza-like figuration
before the orchestra reenters.
Its main theme, first presented in a some-
what declamatory style, is later repeated
more smoothly with the musical instruction
"espressivo" added. The exchanges be-
tween orchestra and solo transition into the
flowing second theme, giving the suggestion
of a Brahmsian character. The lyrical sec-
ond theme is rather brief, as is the develop-
ment (in which snippets of the introductory
orchestral fanfare are played softly by solo
woodwinds accompanied by virtuoso pas-
sages of the solo violin). A cadential flourish
leads into the main section of the movement,
where the solo part is replete with virtuosic
passages in runs and double stops.The re-
capitulation of this main theme is interrupted
by the transition of the solo violin giving a
gentle echo of the opening theme. This pas-
sage. which serves to close the movement,
provides a beautiful bridge that flows
directly into the second movement.
violin
VIOLIN CONCERTO
IN A MINOR, OP. 53
(MOVEMENT II)
Josef Suk, Violin
MOVEMENT II.
The transition is a miniature cadenza; an
exquisitely crafted link, which leads into
the grandiose second, slow movement
which is reminiscent of Brahms. Captivat-
ing melodic lines, with plaintive but heart-
felt melodies, are interrupted by an unex-
pected stormy minor-key central episode
evoking the image of the countryside; a
direct anticipation of the slow movement
of the cello concerto composed sixteen
years later. This section has an exception-
ally long melody composed of several
phrases with each of these taken up separ-
ately in the course of the movement. A
more dramatic minor-mode episode occurs
twice in this Adagio, played the first time by
the solo violin and the second time by the
orchestra; it is one of the rare passages
where the soloist can take a brief rest. At
the end of the movement, recalling the
opening theme, the solo violin engages in
a haunting dialogue, embellishing serenely
above, with a pair of horns providing
a beautiful farewell.
The length of the second movement is sup-
ported not only by Dvorak’s ability to create
long-breathed arcs of melody, but also by his
skill in juxtaposing areas of contrasting key
and character as the movement proceeds.
selection
VIOLIN CONCERTO
IN A MINOR, OP. 53
(MOVEMENT III)
Josef Suk, Violin
video
MOVEMENT III.
The finale, a joyous dance written in a
hybrid sonatina-rondo form, has elaborate
melodies (arranged into four subsection
episodes) inspired by Czech folk dances.
The music, quoting Michael Steinberg is,
"unabashedly Czech." The melodies are
similar to the music celebrating the com-
poser's national heritage in his "Slavonic
Dances Op, 46/1-8" (composed a year be-
fore he undertook the violin concerto) and
in his "Czech Suite." The cross-rhythms of
the furiant in A major (Allegro giocoso, ma
non troppo, 3/8 time), with its ambivalence
between triple and duple meter, is clearly
recognizable in the most frequently recur-
ring main theme which Dvorak is particu-
larly inventive in his presentations of; each
time the dance returns in a different mood
or color, once even imitating, (using open
fifths) played by violins and cellos with
oboes, the drone of Czech bagpipes.
Contrasting episodes include a waltz follow-
ed by another Czech folk song, the more
melancholic dumka, stressing two-against-
three cross-rhythms, particularly via the trip-
lets of the horns heard against the steady
2/4 of the dumka theme. This wistful and re-
flective dumka interlude melody, in D minor
(Dvořák asks the timpanist to retune his E
to D), later returns briefly in a more brilliant
instrumentation preparing for the exuberant
coda in which the solo part is filled with bril-
liant virtuosic writing and the lively music
dances to a fiery, exhilarating finish with a
sudden accelerando and four brilliantly
boisterous chords.
selection
John Gulich: A Violin Concerto, 1898

Emma Irlam Briggs: The Violinist

LINKS
http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/ashvin/files/hro-program-notes-2013-2014.pdf?m=1441434493
https://m.kennedy-center.org/home/program/2412
http://www.allmusic.com/composition/violin-concerto-in-a-minor-b-96-b-108-op-53-mc0002657650
https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Violin_Concerto_(Dvo%C5%99%C3%A1k)
http://imslp.org/wiki/Violin_Concerto,_Op.53_(Dvo%C5%99%C3%A1k,_Anton%C3%ADn)
http://www.linnrecords.com/recording-dvorak-violin-concerto-in-a-minor--op--53-sacd.aspx
David Bles: The Violin Player
http://www.antonin-dvorak.cz/en/concerto-for-violin
http://www.kcet.org/shows/opencall/web-extras/the-colburn-
orchestra-plays-dvorak---concerto-in-a-minor-for-violin-orchestra.html
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dw.asp?dc=W16207_202412
http://bso.http.internapcdn.net/bso/images/program_notes/dvorak_violinconcerto.pdf
http://nyphil.org/~/media/pdfs/program-notes/1314/Dvorak-Violin%20Concerto.pdf

Kees van Dongen, La Violoniste, 1920
Joseph Rodefer DeCamp: The Violinist