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A Concerto Like No Other

A Concerto Like No Other

Premieres are not necessarily auspicious events. That certainly seemed to be the case for the debut of Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor — the composer’s only concerto.

The piece, which Sibelius conducted in 1904 in Helsinki, was so technically difficult for the soloist that the first performance was considered a disaster. As a result of the poor opening, Sibelius, a violinist of considerable skill himself, revisited the piece and made significant revisions. The new version, which is now the standard version, premiered in 1905 under composer Richard Strauss and the Berlin Court Orchestra. Sibelius did not attend.

Interestingly enough, the world did not experience the original piece again until the early 1990s, when Sibelius' heirs allowed for one live performance and one recording. Many believe the standard version, which is more widely played today, is better. For this version, Sibelius tightened the overall structure and reduced the duration by several minutes. Violist William Hagen will be tackling this version with us at the Oct. 22 concert.

Sibelius

Jean Sibelius

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Musical Insights

Free Pre-Concert Preview Series!

Enhance your concert experience with a sneak preview — Composers come alive and their passions take center stage when ESO General Manager David Ellis and ESO Maestro Lawrence Eckerling take you on an insider’s tour of the history and highlights behind the music.

Meet our soloist, William Hagen, at Musical Insights. He and our Maestro Lawrence Eckerling and David Ellis will explore the October concert program in depth.

The Merion
Friday, October 20 at 1:30 pm,
The Merion Crystal Ballroom at
1611 Chicago Avenue at Davis Street, Evanston.
FREE and open to the public.

Light refreshments will be served and casual tours of newly renovated apartments will be available after the program.