Playing a Violin Concerto

I am not a violinist. I've seen the violin played. I've even held one and scraped the bow across the strings, but I'm not a violinist in any stretch of the imagination. So, when I took to writing a violin concerto I leaned on a couple of good friends who play the instrument extremely well. IMHO composers have to do this in order to make the music truly organic for the instrument.

That said, I had my first positive review of the first movement yesterday. Considering Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major a 10 in terms of difficulty, my own composition comes in at 7, which is right where I'd hoped it would be - tough but not impossible (not that Tchaikovsky's is impossible). My first movement cadenza has a number of double stops, only one is potentially an extreme challenge and that mostly due to the speed of the music. It's all possible, which is a good sign, and yet fairly difficult.

As for performing the Tchaikovsky, the Silicon Valley Symphony has young Maestro Michael Gibson (12 years old) playing the solo violin part in their "Prodigy & Pops" concert November 15th. I've heard Nicola Benedetti and Tasmin Little both perform this piece live and to think of a 12-year-old playing it just seems amazing. Michael has a promising career ahead of him.

Judith lngolfsson recently released a recording with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. David Kim, renowned violinist and concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra will be performing it this weekend, with the Long Island Philharmonic.

Also in the Long Island Philharmonic concert will be Billy Joel's "Elegy: The Great Peconic," a short orchestral work composed as a tribute to the baymen of Peconic Bay as they struggled with declining oyster and clam yields. The piece was written 10 years ago and is English neo-romantic in style.

I was amazed to find Hilary Hahn, one of my favorite violinists, has yet to record Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. Odd, considering she's played concertos by Beethoven, Schoenberg, Sibelius, Pagannini, Spohr, Elgar, Bach, Shostakovich, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Barber and Meyer. However, it is part of her current tour. Maybe I need to write and ask if she'll consider mine....


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