James Gaffigan conductor
Viktoria Mullova violin
Sibelius Violin Concerto
Dvořák Symphony No.8
About the performance
Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova captured international attention when she won the Sibelius and Tchaikovsky competitions in the early 1980s. Within three years she featured in a dramatic defection to Finland.
One of her signature works, the Sibelius’ concerto is symphonic in scope but also a virtuoso soloist’s dream. The vast breadth of the opening movement is mirrored in the still beauty of the melancholy, slow movement. The soloist throws in every trick in the book in the dazzling finale: double stops and octaves, harmonics and breath-taking passage-work building to a dramatic conclusion to this king of violin concertos.
Dvořák’s G major symphony is his most rustic and idyllic, written in the seclusion of the beautiful Bohemian countryside, with his beloved folk roots at its heart. The profusion of ideas and effects in this cheerful work is totally disarming. Enchanting melodies tumble forth like bird-song along with stamping country dances, a slow movement that alludes to Beethoven’s Eroica, elegant waltzes and unalloyed joy in the brilliant finale, launched by a bracing trumpet fanfare.
Janáček’s Jealousy began life as the overture to his late opera Jenůfa. A powerful, compact piece, it shares some of the opera’s explosive mood and underlying tension.