Magazine article Strings

Revisiting a Classic

Magazine article Strings

Revisiting a Classic

Article excerpt

I am preparing Alexander Glazunov's Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82, for a concert with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and music director Dirk Meyer. I first studied this piece when I was quite young, probably around 15 or 16. It was a required piece for a competition at the precollege program I was enrolled in. Honestly, I remember quickly falling out of love with this piece while learning it because it had become a purely academic and competitive experience-quite a shame since this is such a beautifully structured and luscious work. It took me several years before I could return to it without the association.

Glazunov's concerto has a unique structure- no pauses between the movements or cadenza. This serves the piece well, as it's almost stream of consciousness in a way, switching back and forth between traditional melodies and motives with many folk-like Russian elements. In some ways, it's a "traditional" violin concerto, but very possibly it's meant as something less serious-more improvisatory and searching within the context of the Russian national idiom, with which Glazunov was very familiar.

I remember first hearing this piece when I must have been around nine. It was so "cool" for me-very different from the German classical composers I was used to at the time. It must have been something to do with the lack of traditional form and improvisatory nature of the musical line.

I'm very passionate about this material. Now that I've been able to shed the "clinical" approach with which I first learned this piece, I have gone back to being captivated by the music itself, much like I was when I first heard the piece. …

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