Sunday, December 13, 2015

Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1: Gil Shaham

Gil Shaham and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Myung-Whun Chung conducting, perform Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, opus. 26, at the Maison de la radio Auditorium in Paris, France. Wikipedia writes about this concerto:
The concerto was first completed in 1866 and the first performance was given on 24 April 1866 by Otto von Königslow with Bruch himself conducting. The concerto was then considerably revised with help from celebrated violinist Joseph Joachim and completed in its present form in 1867. The premiere of the revised concerto was given by Joachim in Bremen on 5 January 1868 with Karl Martin Rheinthaler conducting.
Bruch [1838–1920] was a German Romantic composer who wrote more than 200 works, including three violin concertos. None of his other works, however, achieved the recognition of achievement as this popular violin concerto does. It was played so much by violinists in Bruch’s lifetime that he tired of hearing it. Bruch’s other works merit attention, notably his “Kol Nidrei.”

Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1971; he moved with his parents, both scientists, to Israel when he was two. Their parents had by then changed their family name from Bronstein to Shaham in accordance to the custom of the time to take on Hebrew names. (Bronstein means brown stone in Yiddish, while Shaham is Hebrew for a brown stone common to Israel.)

The family would return to the U.S., to New York City, where Gil’s father, Jacob Shaham, a well-known astrophysicist, joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1984; and his mother, Meira Shaham, worked as a medical geneticist. By then, Gil was already a student at The Julliard School and destined for international fame. He had already played with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta conducting, two years earlier.

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