Giacomo Susani

Giacomo Susani
Giacomo Susani (Photo by Luciano Tomasin, 2015)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor – Ray Chen, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano

Ray Chen plays Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor with Kent Nagano and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall, on February 28, 2015.

Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64, concerto for violin and orchestra by Felix Mendelssohn, one of the most lyrical and flowing works of its type and one of the most frequently performed of all violin concertos. It premiered in Leipzig on March 13, 1845.

Mendelssohn, then conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, composed his concerto with violinist Ferdinand David (1810-1873), his concertmaster, in mind. The men had been good friends since they were teenagers. Although Mendelssohn had first mentioned writing a violin concerto in 1838, it was not completed until 1844. On the day of the premiere, David was the soloist, but Mendelssohn, who was ill, could not conduct his new work, so the orchestra was led instead by Mendelssohn's assistant, Danish conductor and composer Niels Gade (1817-1890).

Mendelssohn used the standard classical structures for the piece, but he made adaptations to better suit both his own tastes and the changing times. These changes include an almost instant introduction of the solo instrument and, until then unusual, a written-out solo cadenza; these were usually improvised by the soloist.

The turbulent first movement, Allegro molto appassionato, is written in classic sonata form, having a variety of thematic expositions, a development, and recapitulation of the themes. Rather than bringing this movement to a defined close after the coda, Mendelssohn has a single bassoon playing a sustained tone provide the bridge to the overall restful mood of the second movement, Andante, which is in ternary (ABA) form. Again eliminating the standard moments of silence between movements, Mendelssohn immediately starts the third movement, Allegretto non troppo – Allegro molto vivace, which he composed in hybrid sonata rondo form. He concludes with the sprightly, vibrant, even joyous music he seemed to create so effortlessly throughout his career.

Evidence from Mendelssohn's correspondence suggests that he connected the movements into an uninterrupted span of music because he, as a performer, found mid-composition applause to be distracting. It is in part because of Mendelssohn that the modern tradition of holding applause to the end of a work came to be standard practice.

Source: Betsy Schwarm (

Το Κοντσέρτο σε Μι ελάσσονα, έργο 64, του Φέλιξ Μέντελσον, ερμηνεύει ο 28χρονος Ταϊβανο-αυστραλός δεξιοτέχνης βιολονίστας Ρέι Τσεν. Τη Συμφωνική Ορχήστρα του Γκέτεμποργκ διευθύνει ένας από τους μεγαλύτερους μαέστρους των ημερών μας, ο Αμερικανός Κεντ Ναγκάνο. Η συναυλία δόθηκε στο Μέγαρο Μουσικής του Γκέτεμποργκ στις 28 Φεβρουαρίου 2015.

O Μέντελσον συνέλαβε την ιδέα να γράψει ένα κοντσέρτο για βιολί το 1838 και την υλοποίησε στις 16 Σεπτεμβρίου 1844, όταν ολοκλήρωσε το έργο. Όλο αυτό το διάστημα βρισκόταν σε επαφή με τον φίλο του βιολονίστα Φέρντιναντ Ντάβιντ (1810-1873), ο οποίος με τις συμβουλές του τον καθοδήγησε στη σύνθεση των σολιστικών μερών του βιολιού.

Φυσικό ήταν ο Ντάβιντ να είναι ο σολίστ του Κοντσέρτου στην πρώτη του παρουσίαση στις 13 Μαρτίου 1845, στην αίθουσα Γκεβαντχάους της Λειψίας. Ο Μέντελσον, που θα διηύθυνε την ορχήστρα, απουσίαζε λόγω ενός προβλήματος υγείας. Έδωσε, όμως, το «παρών» στη δεύτερη παρουσίαση του έργου, στις 23 Οκτωβρίου 1845, όταν ανέβηκε στο πόντιουμ με τον Ντάβιντ και πάλι ως σολίστ.

Το Κοντσέρτο σε Μι ελάσσονα, έργο 64 του Φέλιξ Μέντελσον, είναι γραμμένο για σόλο βιολί και ορχήστρα που περιλαμβάνει 2 φλάουτα, 2 όμποε, 2 κλαρινέτα, 2 φαγκότα, 2 κόρνα, 2 τρομπέτες, τύμπανα και έγχορδα.


Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847)

♪ Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64 (1844)

i. Allegro molto appassionato
ii. Andante
iii. Allegretto non troppo – Allegro molto vivace

Ray Chen, violin

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Kent Nagano

Gothenburg Concert Hall, February 28, 2015

(HD 720p)


Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840)

♪ Caprice for solo violin, Op.1 No.21 in A major (1802-1817)

Ray Chen, violin

(HD 720p)

The Taiwanese Australian violinist, Ray Chen, was born on March 6, 1989 in Taiwan and raised in Australia. He began violin studies at the age of 4, and within 5 years he successfully completed all 10 levels set by the Suzuki Music Education in Queensland, Australia. Aged 8, he was invited to play solo with the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra. In the year 2002, aged 13, he won first prize in the Australian Youth Concerto Competition, and in the following year was awarded the Australian Music Examinations Board's Sydney May Memorial Scholarship for being the youngest and most talented musician. Ray won third prize in the Junior Section of the 2004 International Yehudi Menuhin Competition and First prize in the 2005 Australia National Kendall Violin Competition. Ray Chen has given many public performances throughout Australia and has taken many master-classes with notable artists including Midori, Cho-Liang Lin, Maxim Vengerov, Antje Weithaas, and Rudolf Koelman. In the summer of 2006, he attended Encore School for Strings, studying under David Cerone. He was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music at the age of 15, where he continues to work with Aaron Rosand on expanding his repertoire. He was the first prize winner at the Yehudi Menuhin Competition in 2008, and at the Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competition in Brussels, Belgium in 2009. He was the latter Competition's youngest participant.

The winning brought Ray Chen numerous concert engagements, a recording, and a three-year loan of the "Huggins" Stradivarius from the Nippon Music Foundation. As Grand Prize Winner, he was immediately launched on a concert tour, performing with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic (DeFilharmonie) under Jaap van Zweden and Aldert Vermeulen, the National Orchestra of Belgium under Rumon Gamba, and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg under Emmanuel Krivine, as well as in recitals throughout Belgium. He is currently on the roster of CAMI Music, and in March 2010 signed an exclusive, multi-disc contract with Sony Classical.

Ray Chen is among the most compelling young violinists today. Although his repertoire takes in a broad range of works by J.S. Bach, Tartini, L.v. Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Paganini, Franck, Wieniawski, Béla Bartók, Prokofiev, Samuel Barber, and many others, he is still has been working with Rosand to expand his already vast repertory. His recent performances, including debut recitals at Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Merkin Hall in New York, have enraptured both the audiences and the critics. "Ray Chen can do pretty much anything he wants on the violin" (Anne Midgette, The Washington Post). "His whole performance was out of this world" (Elise Simoens, De Standaard).

Ray Chen's performance of J.S. Bach's Double Violin Concerto (BWV 1043) became the much-discussed highlight of the 2009 Aspen Music Festival. Maxim Vengerov, who met Chen while serving on the jury of the Menuhin Competition, immediately engaged him to perform with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in St Petersburg as well as at the opening concert of the next Menuhin Competition in April 2010 in Oslo. "I have had the pleasure of knowing Ray Chen since his triumph at the Yehudi Menuhin Competition", says Maxim Vengerov. "Ray has proven himself to be a very pure musician with great qualities as a beautiful youthful tone, vitality and lightness. He has all the skills of a truly musical interpreter."

Ray Chen's upcoming engagements include a performance with the Taipei Symphony at this year's World Expo in Shanghai, a North American orchestral debut with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra as well as concerts with the Orchestre National de Lille, Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. His festival engagements include Verbier, Ravinia, Schleswig-Holstein and Dresdner Festspiele. He will also return to Rostropovich Festival in Moscow in 2012 to participate in the celebration of Maestro's 85th anniversary. Ray is looking forward to his upcoming debuts with the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Münchner Philharmoniker, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and National Orchestra of Spain, among others.

Ray Chen's premiere album "Virtuoso", released worldwide on Sony Classical in January 2011, received glowing reviews from a range of major publications including The Times and Chicago Tribune, which named it the "CD of the week". Following the success of this recording, Ray Chen was profiled by The Strad and Gramophone magazines as "the one to watch". His 2011 recital tour featuring Virtuoso repertoire will bring him to Tokyo, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Zürich, and Dresden. He is currently working on his next CD with Daniel Harding and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. This will be his first orchestral recording; the release is planned for January 2012. "The musicianship of Ray Chen is just as exciting as that of Gustavo Dudamel. He seems to have it all: instantly recognizable tone, charismatic personality and musical authority unusual for his age. He is at the beginning of a major career and it is a privilege to build it with him", says Bogdan Roscic, President of Sony Classical.

Ray Chen plays the "Huggins" Stradivarius, on loan from The Nippon Music Foundation, and the 1721 Stradivarius known as "The Macmillan", provided as part of the award for winning the 2008-2009 Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York. He has a little sister called Jennifer Chen who currently plays the flute and violin.


More photos

See also

Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor – Ray Chen, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano

Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor – Vlad Stanculeasa, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Lahav Shani

Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor – Alina Ibragimova, Radio Kamer Filharmonie, Philippe Herreweghe

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – All the posts

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