Prokofiev: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Album cover art for upc 608917273625
Catalog: CC 72736
Format: SACD


During the summer of 1917, whilst the first World War was raging, Sergei Prokofiev found inspiration for his first Violin Concerto, Op. 19, during walks through the fields. This concerto’s premiere in Paris did not take place until 1923. The Parisians found it “harmless” and “old-fashioned.” Despite putting all violinistic techniques to the test, the work indeed features a distinctly lyrical character. Even if Prokofiev resisted reproaches made against the style of this work, he nonetheless paid heed to them: in the works written immediately after this concerto, he adopted a markedly more modern pace. Unlike the first concerto, the second one was not written in the idyll of nature, but during Prokofiev’s nomadic phase in 1935 between Paris, Voronezh, Baku and Madrid, where it was premiered: “I wanted something completely different from the first one, in terms of both content and form.” Whereas many listeners are reminded of spring-like feelings in the first concerto, Prokofiev strikes a more nostalgic, sometimes even romantic, note. The writing is often reduced, homophonic, preferring chamber scorings to full textures. Rudolf Koelman is a brilliant interpreter of these masterworks. His solo career began in 1999, when he left his post as First Concertmaster of the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam.

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