recording of Beethoven and Brahms on March 12. In the video below, Gil demonstrates nearly a dozen places where the two concertos mirror one another, playing on a c.1719 Strad from Rare Violins In Consortium Artists and Benefactors Collaborative.You don't need to read any history to sense the connection between the Beethoven and Brahms violins concertos -- it's right there in the music. This idea led to a wonderful conversation with violinist Gil Shaham, who releases his new
Even while simply sitting at his desk chair and playing without accompaniment, Gil's playing can still take one's breath away, eh?
The history of this connection - between Beethoven, Joachim and Brahms - is actually quite interesting. When Gil talks about why he decided to record both the Beethoven and Brahms violins concertos together on one album, he points to one historical moment: March 11, 1848, the fateful day when Johannes Brahms, just 14 years old, watched Joseph Joachim perform the Beethoven Violin Concerto at a concert in Hamburg. "Apparently, this concert changed his life," Shaham said, citing the historical research by Styra Avins, who wrote the program notes for his new album and who also wrote the 1998 book Johannes Brahms: Life and Letters.
Fast-forward to the 44-year-old Brahms, who had just started composing his own violin concerto. He turned, of course, to Joachim, who was by then a close friend. They talked about technical considerations, playability, etc., and Joachim wrote a cadenza which is still used today by violinists, including Gil in this recording. Brahms dedicated the work to Joachim -- who actually opened the premiere performance concert by playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto!
For his new recording, Shaham performs with NYC-based orchestra The Knights, conducted by Eric Jacobsen. it's also Gil's first-ever commercial recording of the Beethoven. During the next month we plan a little CD giveaway, so be sure to check in with Violinist.com about that, and we'll also have another chat with Gil, together with Eric Jacobsen.
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