15 Essential Violin Concertos

Thursday, September 02, 2010

On Saturday, Sept. 4 through Monday, Sept. 6, WQXR kicks off our month-long ViolinFest by featuring 15 violin concertos that we consider essential. Tune in throughout Labor Day weekend to hear these pillars of the violin repertoire. Here we've included a suggested recording of each of the concertos. Tell us about your favorite violin concerto, your favorite recordings, and what we're missing.

The List:

Bach Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1041
    Suggested: Hilary Hahn / Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra 

Bach Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, BWV 1043
    Suggested: Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern / New York Philharmonic

Barber Violin Concerto
    Suggested: James Ehnes / Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Beethoven Violin Concerto, Op. 61
    Suggested: Renaud Capucon / Rotterdam Philharmonic

Brahms Violin Concerto, Op. 77
    Suggested: Anne Sophie Mutter / Vienna Philharmonic

Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 26
    Suggested: Gil Shaham / Philharmonia Orchestra

Glazunov Violin Concerto
    Suggested: Leila Josefowicz / Montreal Sym Orchestra

Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Op. 64
    Suggested: Itzhak Perlman / London Symphony Orchestra

Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3, K. 216
    Suggested: Thomas Zehetmair / Philharmonia Orchestra

Mozart Violin Concerto No. 4, K. 218
    Suggested: Christian Tetzlaff / Deutsche Kammerphilarmonie

Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1 in D
    Suggested: Kyung Wha Chung / London Symphony Orchestra

Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor
    Suggested: David Oistrakh / Philharmonia Orchestra

Sibelius Violin Concerto, Op. 47
    Suggested: Vadim Repin / London Symphony Orchestra

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Op. 35
    Suggested: Maxim Vengerov / Berlin Philharmonic

Vieuxtemps Violin Concerto No. 5
    Suggested: Sarah Chang / Philharmonia Orchestra

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Comments [14]

birdale from NYC

Ida Haendel. Yes!! I almost mentioned her. Thanks Boonton for the Goldmark tip.

Sep. 06 2010 09:26 PM
Henry Stoll - 18yo from Boonton, NJ

In terms of popularity, this is a good list. I'll admit though, the Mozart #4 isn't as common as the list makes it out to be. Also Wieniawski #2, Dvorak, Saint-Saens #3, and Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole deserve at least some mention. Maybe only including one concerto by each composer would more fully round out the list?

Not that I'm making a case for it (I admit that it's FAR from the main-stream violin concertos) but the Goldmark violin concerto CERTAINLY deserves a listen!

Also, in terms of last generation's performers, will we hear any Ivry Gitlis (great Tchaikovsky recording), Ida Haendel, or Fritz Kreisler? I'm not sure if people read these things, but I'd be interested to know :)

Sep. 06 2010 03:35 PM
Steve from Bronx

Kudos for omitting The Four Seasons, which are great works, but deserve an occasional rest. You could have done the same for the Mendelssohn. But how could you leave out the wonderful Dvorák (a better choice for Slavic representation than Tchaikovsky), and is there anything more exciting than the opening of the Bartók #2? His first ain't bad either.

Sep. 06 2010 11:08 AM
miryam from japan

i wish you'd add a recording by ginette neveu.

Sep. 06 2010 09:52 AM

Specific playlists which give prior knowledge are no longer legal except in cases of "grandfathered" stations, whihc WQXR was prior to the WNYC move, in which this facility was given up..

Sep. 05 2010 03:55 PM
mira barelli

How are you supposed to know WHEN the various pieces are being played?

Sep. 05 2010 02:55 PM
Jeffery Triggs from Madison, NJ

You should have included one of Ernst Von Dohnányi's two beautiful concerti in this list, and I would make a case also for the Schumann concerto!

Sep. 05 2010 02:54 PM
Birdale from NYC

Nice list (would have been upset had you left out Barber), but we would include the Korngold. Mozart 3 & 4, but not 5? Both Prokofiev's - not just 2? Thanks for the beatiful and exciting Glazunov - had no idea. We miss Francescatti, Szeryng, Grumiaux especially, and other great old guys.

Sep. 05 2010 11:27 AM
Mema from Miami, Florida

How could you leave Bartok's Violin Concerto off the list? For shame!

Sep. 05 2010 11:04 AM
Joe Bratcher from New York

Love the list. It's always such a hard thing to do. I would say I miss the Saint Saëns 3rd, though.

Sep. 04 2010 05:37 PM
Michael Meltzer

Didn't somebody named Vivaldi compose a violin concerto cycle called, "The Seasons?"

Sep. 04 2010 04:43 PM

Where's Paganini?

Sep. 04 2010 03:43 PM
Sidney Goldman from Baldwin, New York 11510

I want to thank WQXR for this series of 15 Essential Violin Concertoes. So far I have missed those which were played when it was started.

Although my hearing is not the same when I was very familiar with these concertoes (I have lots more which will be played, and by other soloists), at least the newer listeners will greatly enjoy hearing your selections which you included in this collection.

Sep. 04 2010 12:05 PM
Michael Meltzer

Menuhin, Grumiaux, Midori, Szigeti- all have made history, those are serious omissions. Omitting Heifitz and Kreisler can perhaps be excused given the acoustical quality of their old recordings.
There are several on your list, who while estimable, have not yet made that mark.

Sep. 04 2010 10:08 AM

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