Thirteen concerts in the Proms this summer will feature over fifteen violin concertos, something for all violin enthusiasts to look forward to.
July 21 will see Austrian violinist Thomas Zehetmair take on Brahms’ legendary D major violin concerto.
The honorary doctorate holder of the Music Academy of Weimar has always won rave reviews, and this Prom will be one of the highlights.
Leila Josefowicz, whose recordings have won the Diapason d’Or, will perform Shostakovich’s first violin concerto on July 26. Considering she has already recorded this work with the same orchestra and conductor in January this year, this performance should be excellent. Concluding the violin concertos in July will be Tasmin Little, who plays Glazunov’s devilishly tricky A minor violin concerto. She needs no introduction, and whether she plays her 1757 Guadagnini or the Stradivarius on loan to her, this is one performance violin lovers would not want to miss.
Following an eleven day break, Dutch violinist Janine Jansen performs Mozart’s Fifth violin concerto, hopefully on the 1727 Stradivarius on loan to her, on August 12. Considering that this particular concerto is not on her repertoire list on her personal website, the performance should be rather interesting. The next day, August 13, will feature Maxim Vengerov playing (and conducting) Mozart’s first and fourth violin concertos, and the Sinfornia Concertante with violist Lawrence Power. It’s quite an excellent way to celebrate Mozart’s 250th birthday.
Musical America Instrumentalist of the Year 2005 Christian Tetzlaff performs Beethoven’s D major concerto, a work which may easily turn into an exercise in arpeggios and octaves if the performer is not proficient enough. That, however, is something I am sure will not happen at this performance. Vadim Repin, in what could possibly be the highlight of the Proms, performs the Sibelius Violin Concerto in D minor on August 19. Valery Gergiev is conducting the orchestra for this concert, and a Russian interpretation of the Finnish violin concerto could be very interesting.
But we are not finished with August yet. August 25 features one of my favourite violinists, Znaider, playing the Mendelssohn E minor violin concerto. Missing this concert will mean missing out on the gorgeous sound the 1704 ex-Liebig Stradivarius makes. Legendary violinist Gil Shaham plays Stravinsky’s rarely performed violin concerto on August 26. The opening violin chord in the solo violin part of the concerto is known to be infamously difficult, but shouldn’t be a problem for the Fiddler of the Opera at all.
The last four violin concerto performances happen in Sept, with German violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann performing Symanowski’s first on September 2. He plays on a violin that once belonged to Kriesler, so don’t miss out on this piece of historical interest.
1988 Paganini Violin Competition winner Leonidas Kavakos performs Mozart’s third violin concerto on September 4. This famous Greek violinist has an annual festival in his name in Athens, and plays on a Stradivarius violin. There really is no excuse to miss this concert. The legendary Red Violin violinist Joshua Bell, who brought many tears and smiles to his audiences, will perform Bruch’s most famous first violin concerto in G minor on September 7. This Grammy award winner, and Indiana’s living legend’ is probably the best violinist in the world (at least in my opinion), so get your tickets fast, if they are not sold out already.
Finally the Last Night of the Proms will feature Russian Viktoria Mullova performing Prokofiev’s second violin concerto.
In all, violin concerto enthusiasts have tons to look forward to this Proms season.