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Tagged with 'violin concerto'

Work of the Week – Toshio Hosokawa: Prayer

With Toshio Hosokawa’s new violin concerto Prayer, the composer reflects on the passing of modern events and their overall influence on the life of the soul. The piece is dedicated to world renowned soloist Daishin Kashimoto who will perform it for the first time on 02 March 2023 with the Berliner Philharmoniker under the baton of Paavo Järvi at the Philharmonie Berlin.

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Work of the Week – Ludger Vollmer: Concerto for violin, lower strings, wind and percussion

Music to cope with loneliness: In his Concerto for violin, lower strings, wind and percussion Ludger Vollmer gives us an insight into his feelings on onerous lack of freedom. This piece was written for the violinist Gernot Süßmut. He and the Staatskapelle Weimar are going to perform the premiere with Dominik Beykirch as the conductor on the 13th of November in the Weimarhalle.

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Toru Takemitsu

Water and mist: Nostalgia by Toru Takemitsu combines themes of loss of home and longing with these blurred images of nature. The violin concerto will be staged for the first time in Slovakia on the 8th of September under the musical direction of Daniel Raiskin. Performed by the Slovenská Filharmónia with violinist Daishin Kashimoto, this concert is in collaboration with the Japanese embassy.


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Elbphilharmonie Hamburg: Online Premire of Toshio Hosokawa's new Violin Concerto

Genesis – creation is the title of Toshio Hosokawa's new Violin Concerto which he wrote for violinist Veronika Eberle. As part of the International Music Festival Hamburg, the world premiere will take place on 19 May 2021, 8 pm local time (6 pm UTC), after the date had to be postponed multiple times. It will be live streamed on the YouTube channel of the Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg, Kent Nagano is conducting.

"Veronika Eberle gave birth to a baby last November. I composed the piece as a present for
her and her baby. In the concerto, the soloist represents a human being, while the orchestra is imagined as nature and the universe surrounding him. At the beginning, the orchestra repeats wave motions suggestive of amniotic fluid, then the melodic line of the violin solo (= life) is generated from the inside of ‘cradle’, and is developing while imitating melodies inside the orchestra, then becomes independent of it, conflicts with it, however, finally finds a harmony inside the orchestra and dissolves into it." Toshio Hosokawa

Toshio Hosokawa
Violin Concerto
Genesis · 18’
19 May 2021 | Hamburg (D)
Veronika Eberle, violin
Philharmonic State Orchestera Hamburg
Kent Nagano, conductor

Commissioned by Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra (SOČR) and Grafenegg Festival


World Premiere of an early Violin Concerto by Hans Werner Henze

On 4 February 2021, 21:05 GMT Konzertmusik for violin and small chamber orchestra by Hans Werner Henze will receive it's world premiere. After several attempts to perform the work had to be cancelled in 2020, the Bavarian Radio will broadcast a studio recording with Peter Tilling and the Ensemble risonanze erranti. This will officially mark the world premiere of the composition.

Konzertmusik is the earliest work composed by Hans Werner Henze and published by Schott: the concerto for violin and small chamber orchestra, written when he was only 17. It was not until the end of World War II that he was able to devote himself intensively to composition: a short time later, he was signed by Schott. The composition reveals its inspiration from Paul Hindemith. In its chamber music structure, a series of instruments from the ensemble including flute, trumpet and the first player of violin I repeatedly take on small solo passages and accompany the solo violin in groups of two or three. In the finale however, a ‘genuine’ virtuoso violin concerto unfolds in miniature.

Porträt Hans Werner Henze: © Schott Music / Hans Kenner

Work of the Week – Christian Jost: Concerto noir redux

2020 is the 200th anniversary of the Berlin Konzerthaus, a concert hall that started life as a theatre. In celebration of this anniversary as part of Musikfest Berlin, Christian Tetzlaff will perform the world premiere of a new violin concerto by Christian Jost on 6 September. The concerto, entitled Concerto noir redux, will be accompanied by Konzerthausorchester Berlin and conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. 

Concerto noir redux was originally intended to bear the same title as his opera Journey of Hope - Voyage of Despair. However, after the cancellation of the original premiere in March 2020, Jost chose instead to make changes to the music in response to recent events.

Christian Jost – Concerto noir redux: music from the lockdown

The result was not only a smaller orchestra, necessitated by social distancing, but a work that expresses a darker character and soundworld. Concerto noir redux is now one of two versions of the work Concerto noir, each with the same solo part.

Usually, I compose with a clear idea of the musical structure and of the sounds, and therefore of the course of the resulting work. But this time it was different. There was an initial thought for the opening in which the solo violin gradually separates from unison with the first violins. From this starting point the work should virtually compose itself. The resulting single-movement concerto with a single tempo (quarter = 76 espressivo) is driven by rhythmic ‘cells’. I completed the composition more or less simultaneously with the end of the lockdown, and since this had given rise to a work with predominantly dark shades of colour and sound, I considered Concerto noir to be a perfect title. Christian Jost

Photos: Adobe Stock / lakkot, Joe Quiao

Work of the Week: Heinz Holliger – Concerto "Hommage à Louis Soutter"

On 5 November Heinz Holliger will conduct the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música for the Portuguese premiere of his violin concerto "Hommage à Louis Soutter" with the work’s dedicatee, violinist Thomas Zehetmair, as soloist.

Like other concertos by Holliger, such as Siebengesang and Turm-Musik, Hommage à Louis Soutter is inspired by the life of an artist. As a painter, Louis Soutter’s art was shaped by mental illness and an obsessive creative urge. He spent the last 20 years of his life in a care home where he produced most of his artworks, often painting with his fingers and sometimes with his whole body. In his youth, Soutter was also a gifted violinist and performed with the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande, and Holliger composed the concerto in honour of the orchestra’s 75th anniversary.

Holliger’s Hommage a Louis Soutter – ‘Paint Truth. The Truth is terrifying.’ (Hermann Hesse)

The concerto is divided into four movements – Mourning, Obsession, Shadows, and Epilogue – which are played continuously without breaks. The first movement contains musical quotations from the third violin sonata of composer/violinist Eugène Ysaÿe, who was Soutter’s violin teacher for many years. The elegiac and sombre tone of the first movement gradually descends into madness for the second movement (‘Obsession’) as stirring rhythms are developed in the music. In ‘Shadows’, Holliger evokes a sense of alienation, a dislocation from one’s former experience of life in an eerie third movement that builds to a climax before the music collapses in on itself.

The concerto’s final movement ‘Epilogue’ was added much later and captures the resigned atmosphere of Soutter’s painting ‘Before the Massacre’. Like Soutter’s black and crooked figures, the music is in agony. The violin plays tormented chords over gloomy sonorities from the orchestra to create an overwhelming sense of despair.
For me, being different is something natural in life. I don’t look for sickness in a person; I am looking for people who do not have limits to their imagination, who can break through, into either the world of insanity or a hereafter. Such people have finer antennas than others; they have a more direct access to their subconscious minds. – Heinz Holliger

On 1 November, Casa da Música will also present Holliger’s large scale work Scardanelli-Zyklus based on texts of Friedrich Hölderlin, a poet who was also affected by mental illness in the last years of his life. Prior to the national premiere of Hommage à Louis Soutter on 5 November, Holliger’s solo works will be performed in different locations throughout the venue in preparation for the evening’s performance.