Jean Sibelius - Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47
Witold Lutosławski - Livre pour orchestre
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Romeo and Juliet – Fantasy overture for orchestra
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Jean Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D minor is the most frequently performed and recorded concert of the 20th century. The work was completed in 1904 and still featured late Romanticism, exposing the virtuoso possibilities of a solo instrument. Uneasy and mysterious in nature, it easily evokes associations with the harsh Scandinavian landscape.
The Fantasy overture ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Pyotr Tchaikovsky is also saturated with strong Romantic emotions. Many creators have reached for Shakespeare's famous tragedy about the lovers from Verona, in both opera and ballet as well as in program compositions. The theme of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was suggested to the 29-year-old Tchaikovsky by composer and conductor Mily Balakirev, also a mentor to many younger Russian composers. The work on 'Romeo and Juliet' was preceded by the composition 'Fatum', which Tchaikovsky dedicated to Balakirev. He thanked Tchaikovsky for the dedication, while pointing out numerous errors to the composer and sending back a series of critical remarks about the work. Tchaikovsky accepted the critique with humility and quickly took up the proposals from Balakirev, to whom he again dedicated the reworked piece. Balakirev still had his reservations and Tchaikovsky reworked the composition once again, leaving three versions of the piece that have survived.
‘Livre pour orchester’ by Witold Lutosławski to a certain extent also refers to literature, but in comparison with his previous Romantic compositions here we have an extremely different emotionality. The title literally means "Book for orchestra", and refers to the old ideas of combining a collection of miniatures for one instrument into one volume, for example "Livres pour clavesin" by François Couperin and "Orgelbüchlein" by Bach. The composition date from 1968, from the aleatoric period in Lutosławski's work.
Apart from the last one, the piece was divided into conducted Chapitres (Chapters) and Intermèdes (Intermedia), which, like the last Chapter, are played by musicians independently (ad libitum).
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