19 Jun 2021

SIBELIUS: Violin Concerto in D minor

From Music Alive, 8:00 pm on 19 June 2021

'When I am performing, I often compare myself to an artist with a vast palette of colours. The Sibelius really challenges me to think about what kind of painting I am creating for the audience.' ~ April Ju

Finalists concerto competition April Ju (Christchurch), Hyein Kim (Auckland) and Catherine Kwak (Auckland)

April Ju Photo: Supplied

Sibelius wrote only this one Violin Concerto. He would have loved to première it himself – if only his performance technique had kept up with his compositional genius.

The initial encouragement for Sibelius to write this concerto came from his friend Willy Burmester. But a scheduling error prevented him from taking part in the première, and another violinist was called in to play the solo part – but without enough preparation. The première was a fiasco. After that, the composer prepared a new, tighter version that trimmed away some of the excessively showy solo writing of the original. Richard Strauss conducted the première of the revised version.

Despite the early enthusiasm of  a few violinists for this revised concerto, it was slow to catch on with audiences – and it wasn’t until Jascha Heifetz took up the work and recorded it in the 1930s, that it became the popular addition to the repertoire that it is today.

  • National Concerto Competition - finally!
  • Recorded at the National Concerto Competition on 19 June 2021 in James Hay Theatre, Christchurch by RNZ Concert

    Producer/sound engineer: Darryl Stack