Radoslaw Szulc serves as Artistic Director of the Kammerorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and of his own Camerata Europeana in Stuttgart. Szulc is accepted amongst Europe's leading concertmasters and is now making his mark as a conductor of quality. In 2011, Szulc recorded Mozart’s Piano Concertos for Deutsche Grammophon, directing the Kammerorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks with soloist Hélène Grimaud. The disc reached the No.1 position on the United States iTunes classical chart.
This evening the violin solo will be performed by Julian Rachlin. Born in Lithuania in 1974, Rachlin immigrated to Vienna in 1978. He studied violin with Boris Kuschnir at the Vienna Conservatory, and with Pinchas Zukerman. His unique instrument was made by Antonio Stradivari in Cremona in 1704 and is known affectionately as the "Ex-Liebig" as it once belonged to an important violin collection owned by Herr Liebig of Vienna during the late 1800's. The 313 year old Stradivari is on loan to him courtesy of the Dkfm.
Dmitri Shostakovich completed his First Violin Concerto in 1948, but had locked it away until after Stalin's death in 1953, releasing it once the timing was more favourable. The concerto was dedicated to the Russian violinist David Oistrakh, who performed the premiere on October 29, 1955 with the Leningrad Philharmonic. As with his Soviet contemporaries, Shostakovich’s career was frequently sidetracked by the demands of the Soviet state for music that glorified Russia and the Soviet political system. The First Violin Concerto is a technically demanding piece written in four movements. Oistrakh noted that it "does not fall easily into one's hands" and its first and third movements call for a clever amount interpretive and logistical dexterity.
Pyotr Tchaikovsky began composing his First Symphony in March 1866 and completed it in December the same year, later revising it for publication in 1874. Nikolai Rubinstein conducted the first full performance on February 15, 1868, in Moscow at a Royal Musical Society concert. Rubinstein, the pianist/conductor who invited Tchaikovsky to Moscow in 1866 to teach harmony at the age of 25, mentored the young composer both socially and artistically. After the success of the Overture in F in March 1866, he had advised Tchaikovsky to create a full-length symphony which he would conduct. Even so, Tchaikovsky felt he could not write a symphony that would please Rubinstein, who steadfastly adhered to the rules of sonata form that Haydn and Mozart had invented. Thus he found himself forced to adapt the sonata form and symphonic structure to accommodate music that would stay true to his own strengths as a composer.
In 1868, while conceptualising the piece, he met with the nationalist group of young Russian composers headed by Rimsky‐Korsakov and was stirred by their enthusiasm. Though he never identified himself with out‐and‐out nationalism, Tchaikovsky’s First Symphony has become one of the most important achievements in the symphonic story in the 19th century. The piece established a new type of symphony which was Tchaikovsky's own and was strictly Russian in style.
Tchaikovsky named his First Symphony "Winter Dreams,” and in the printed edition of the score he went as far as to bestow titles on two of the symphony's four movements as well, calling the first "Dreams of a Winter Journey" and the second "Desolate Land, Land of Mists." The symphony, however, is not overtly programmatic and the titles were intended merely as "mood descriptions." Tchaikovsky’s music is extremely tuneful, luxurious and colourful, filled with the emotional intensity that pleases audiences in a way few other composers have been able. In 1883, he wrote to Madame von Meck, with regards to his affection for his "Winter Dreams” Symphony, “Although it is in many ways very immature… fundamentally it has more substance and is better than many of my other more mature works.”
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator