Various Violin Virtuosity

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time (as in, any more than about twice), you’ll know I’m a sucker for a good series. I try to approach things in an organized, logical manner, so I like to organize things into collections, groups, timelines, and all the rest. The greatest disadvantage to that is that I lose some spontaneity in scheduling stuff I come across that am blown away by. For example, I listened to a symphony just today (at the time of this writing, a week or so ahead of posting) that I was really impressed with, something from a composer whose music I’d not heard a single iota of, but the first listen of which had me engaged from beginning to end. I’m extremely interested to hear more of his music, but it will be at least six months before I’ll be able to get anything of his on the blog, and likely more.

In any case, the least I can do is work on scheduling something entirely different from what came before. As I said yesterday, that originally meant Mozart and Mendelssohn and Spohr, someone who I’ve wanted to get to know for a long time. But on second thought, there are a few things I’ve done a hell of a lot of on this blog this year, and that’s music from German and Austrian composers, and symphonies, and in many cases both. Mozart and Mendelssohn and Spohr would fall into that category, even if I avoided their symphonies, of which Spohr also has a large handful.

So in lieu of that, I tried to think of what else would be interesting. What haven’t we done in a while? What should have I discussed at this point? What’s exciting and new and compelling and interesting to me personally? Who hasn’t made an appearance in a while?

Well, what it came down to was this. Without giving away some of what will be coming later in the year, it was four composers from four different places, each of whom has written at least one each of a string quartet, violin sonata, and violin concerto. There’s a French composer, a Hungarian one, a Russian one, and an American, in that order, and one of whom is still alive, so that’s what we’re going to be doing this month. Four composers, each of whom will have at least one quartet, as well as a violin sonata and concerto (or concertante piece) to their name.

We begin tomorrow with a quartet that takes us back to the very beginning of the recent Darmstadt Series (and I don’t care to type that title again for another year or so…). Claude Debussy was a large influence on many composers of the 20th century, but he’s not the only famous Frenchman who penned a pretty string quartet. Tomorrow’s work will be our starting point for a sort-of series of fresh, virtuosic and still modern-ish but generally far more famous and widely accepted music with a focus on the violin, so stay tuned for that.

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