Glazunov Played by Shaham

Alexander Glazunov Violin Concerto

It has been a long time since I heard this piece and it really drew my attention when I heard it over my radio this week (11/2009). What wonderful, sad melodies, filled with much emotion, and beautifully played…

Alexander Glazunov was born on the 10th of August 1865, and he died on 21 March 1936. He wrote this violin concerto in 1904, and Jascha Heifetz performed it quite frequently while he was giving concerts. The cadenza of the concerto is so challenging for the violin soloist that you may find it hard to believe how it is actually played.

Gil Shaham and Mikhail Pletnev are giants in their musical fields. And their collaboration in this recording produces terrific results. Pletnev’s background as a pianist and conductor in Russia undoubtedly exposed him to this music somewhere during his educational background. Shaham, of course, is a legendary violin soloist, and performs concerts around the world. Pletnev brings his energetic elegance as the conductor of the Russian National Orchestra; and Shaham’s virtuosity is clearly a prerequisite to play the solo part with musical ease, fine phrasing, and technical finesse.

The Kabalevsky violin concerto accompanies the Glazunov on this CD. To make this disc even richer, the artists included two of Tchaikovsky’s shorter compositions. These selections are:

1. Souvenir d’un lieu cher, for violin orchestra, Op. 42
2. Valse-scherzo, for violin & orchestra in C major, Op. 34

All 4 selections produce an enjoyable experience of wonderful Russian music.

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