This is the second time I’ve featured the music of the Austrian-American composer, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, on this blog. The first, which you can read here, presented songs from two of his operas in unforgettable performances by Anne Sophie von Otter and Renée Fleming. Today’s post features one of his major works, the Violin Concerto in D major, which was composed in 1945 and premiered in 1947 by Jascha Heifetz.
I was introduced to this concerto – and this performance – via Classic Arts Showcase. I was immediately struck by its romantic character, melodic richness, and imaginative orchestration, which is highlighted in this video by some fine editing and camera work.
Classic Arts Showcase, also known as the ARTS channel, offers television programming of the performing arts 24 hours a day throughout the United States. If you’re not familiar with CAS, you should visit http://www.classicartsshowcase.org/, where U.S. residents can easily find out if it’s available in their area, and where lovers of the performing arts anywhere in the world can watch the same programming on their computer.
In this video, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Hugh Wolff, and the soloist is the Greek-born violinist Leonidas Kavakos. In 2006 I was fortunate to hear Kavakos with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in a stunning rendition of Bartok’s Violin Concerto No. 2, a performance I described at the time as “perfect”. This performance of Korngold’s concerto is no less compelling. If you love the violin, and have an opportunity to hear Kavakos in person, you should seize it with both hands.