Our music for this week is the Sibelius violin concerto, performed by the Russian virtuoso Victor Tretyakov.
Since winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1966, Tretyakov has performed with nearly every single major orchestra in the world. His flawless technique and powerful sound have captivated audiences around the globe. He is now a professor of violin at Eastman Conservatory in Rochester, NY, and the Moscow State Conservatory, where his students have included legendary violinists such as Evgeny Bushkov and Ilya Kaler.
Tretyakov’s talent serves the Sibelius concerto well. As one of the premier concerti in the violin repertoire, the Sibelius concerto is regularly performed by violinists everywhere. The opening line of the concerto, where a haunting violin solo emerges from an ethereal orchestral texture, is among the best-known moments in all of music. Those of you familiar with the violin repertoire will note that the cadenza (the interlude in which the soloist embellishes the themes of the piece with extra virtuosity) is in the middle of the first movement, as it is in the Mendelssohn concerto, rather than at the end, as it is in most other concerti. The third movement is full of fireworks, but the second movement is the high point of the concerto. The violin soars over the orchestra with deep, soulful lines that Sibelius drew from one of his favorite Finnish folk songs. It is unforgettable.