Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hilary Hahn: Glazunov Violin Concerto

Hilary Hahn performs with the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne from Alexander Glazunov's Violin Concerto in A minor, opus 82.  Glazunov completed the work in 1904, dedicating it to violinist Leopold Auer. With Glazunov at the podium and Auer as violinist, the first performance was held at a Russian Musical Society concert in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 15, 1905.


The Kennedy Center in Washington in its programme notes writes about this piece, providing historical context:
The year of the Violin Concerto's premiere, 1905, was a significant one in Russian history. The students at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where both Glazunov and his mentor Rimsky-Korsakov were members of the faculty, staged large-scale protests over the Tsarist government's handling of the abortive January revolution, and both Glazunov and Rimsky supported them, to the extent of taking part in the concerts they organized and even creating symbolic pieces for those events. Rimsky left the institution; Glazunov agreed to become its director, but on his own terms, and for the remainder of his life he was more conspicuously active as a pedagogue and conductor than as a composer. He conducted the first convert given in St. Petersburg after the Revolution that did succeed, in 1917, and he became perhaps the single most significant factor in ensuring the continuity of the great Russian musical tradition from the age of Borodin and Tchaikovsky to that of his own onetime protégés Prokofiev and Shostakovich.