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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Sibelius

Leonidas Kavakos – Sibelius Violin Concerto: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

I had the privilege of seeing Leonidas Kavakos, Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax perform an all-Brahms concert at Tanglewood earlier this month.  While I have been seeing Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax perform for over two decades this was only the second time I had seen Leonidas Kavakos in concert.  Last year, my wife and I were treated to him playing the Bartok Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under the direction of Mariss Jansons at the Kennedy Center.  We both instantly fell in love with his playing.

This week's clip his him performing the Sibelius Violin Concerto in Tokyo with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra under the direction of Valery Gergiev.  His phrasing is just stunning.

Oh, and by the way, Gergiev is conducting with a toothpick.  No, seriously.




David Oistrakh - Sibelius Violin Concerto: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

The Sibelius Violin Concerto is one of the most intense concertos ever written for the violin.  I personally love how it wastes absolutely no time whatsoever getting down to business.  The soloist is thrust into incredibly technical passages in the first two minutes of the piece! I'm not sure I've ever heard it performed better than by David Oistrakh. Some consider Oistrakh to be the greatest violinist of all time and I don't see how you could have that conversation and not at the very least include him in it.  His playing speaks for itself.

This is a studio recording from 1959 with Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra and it is magical.


Hilary Hahn: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Last week, my wife and I had the privilege of seeing Hilary Hahn perform the Korngold Violin Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kennedy Center here in Washington.  What a stunning performance she gave! The orchestra, particularly Carol Jantsch, sounded great on Bruckner 7 but I felt that Hilary Hahn stole the show with her performance of the concerto on the first half. Her combination of lyricism and technical wizardry is an awesome combination.  This performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto, one of my favorite concertos, is her as a very young professional. Both her passionate lyricism and impressive technique are on clear display here. This clip features the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Lorin Maazel.

The shots of her playing the cadenzas with the violin section gazing on from behind her with astonishment are just great.  They knew that in spite of her age, they were in the midst of greatness.  Hilary Hahn is an amazing talent that every musician should try at all costs to see perform live.  She is special (and the orchestra sounds amazing as well!)