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JW is writing a new violin concerto for Anne-Sophie Mutter - "Violin Concerto No. 2"


Matthias
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14 minutes ago, Michael G. said:

https://www.classicalwcrb.org/show/the-boston-symphony-orchestra/2021-06-11/a-world-premiere-with-anne-sophie-mutter So this link ist only for audio stream? Can I watch it live as a video broadcast anywhere 

I don't think it will be available anywhere as a live video broadcast.

 

I'm contemplating whether to stay awake until 2AM and hear the premiere live or go to sleep and hear it fresh in the morning...

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Same😂

14 minutes ago, carlborg said:

I don't think it will be available anywhere as a live video broadcast.

 

I'm contemplating whether to stay awake until 2AM and hear the premiere live or go to sleep and hear it fresh in the morning...

 

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2 hours ago, carlborg said:

I don't think it will be available anywhere as a live video broadcast.

 

I'm contemplating whether to stay awake until 2AM and hear the premiere live or go to sleep and hear it fresh in the morning...

 

It will be live on video on BSONow. Though you have to be a subscriber.

Tomorrow evening DG Premium will have it on demand for a couple of days.

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1 hour ago, Miguel Andrade said:

It will be live on video on BSONow.

My bad...forgot about that for a moment.

1 hour ago, Miguel Andrade said:

Tomorrow evening DG Premium will have it on demand for a couple of days.

And arte.tv

 

Reading the program notes in preparation for the concert, I can't help but wonder what JW means when he says "sound dissolve"...looking forward to see what he has in store for us!

 

Quote

The final movement is approached “attacca” by the violin and harp, where the two instruments reverse their relative balances in a kind of “sound dissolve.”

 

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2 minutes ago, Will said:

Well, I really liked Rounds! Not such a huge fan of Prologue, though. I'm reserving judgment on the other two movements until I hear them more.

I thought third was really powerful.  But, yes, repeated listens will help.  

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My first impressions of VC#2 is similar to a few comments above. I enjoyed the start (mostly) but then really enjoyed it as it moved forward and quietly ended. JW sure loves combining instruments together in duos and trios and that was very cool to hear throughout. I cannot wait to hear the whole thing again (hopefully my recording worked as I am watching on BSO but catching the stream on my laptop). I also think ASM will also find more and more in the piece and improve it further. 

 

Also: Was across the stars somewhat updated from the album?

 

Future release: I suspect the performance in late September to kick off the Boston Symphony season when they play this again will be the one that gets released. Perhaps they can record VC1 too to fill out the album or a few of the missing arrangements from Across the Stars (that are not on the Live in Vienna) - aren’t there 1 or 2 left?

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1 hour ago, Will said:

Well, I really liked Rounds! Not such a huge fan of Prologue, though. I'm reserving judgment on the other two movements until I hear them more.

Rounds was the highlight, yes.  Prologue was a bit heavy and serious, perhaps straining a tad under its own weight.  It was quite different from what I expected.  There were interesting moments of flair and intensity though. 

 

The final movements tended to blur together in my mind.  Perhaps that's just my mind, this being relatively challenging music (although I am in no way adverse to challenging music).  But I still felt that perhaps those movements, and the piece in general, could have had some more overt motifs to help to anchor it.

 

Honestly, I was expecting something just a little more lyrical, not necessarily romantic, but something more overt in terms of melodic element and more tight in terms of structure.  Perhaps those expectations affected my initial response to an excessive degree, although certainly I was more comparing the piece to JWs first Violin Concerto and Markings than his film style. 

Watching the video tomorrow should give me a more clear and accurate set of impressions. 

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I really need to listen to this again, but I couldn't agree more about the orchestration - many little gems scattered throughout the piece. Can someone else confirm that the arrangement of Across the Stars was different just so that I don't go crazy wondering? :lol:
Now it's time for sleep!

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Across the Stars followed by Rounds Dactyls can form an elegant tri-movement concerto of their own. Especially fortunate to have them recorded on the same occasion.

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Really loved the Concerto. Prologue is certainly the hardest of the movements, at least to my ears. The rest just flowed so naturally... Really lovely and just amazing how it quietly ended.

 

Across the Stars is indeed a revised version.

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2 minutes ago, Marcus said:

A lovely work!

 

The cantilena that also closes the piece sounds almost like a contorted version of "Moonlight" (from Sabrina). Makes me wonder if could have been intentional?

 

As much as I love his first violin concerto, this is (obviously) the more mature work of the two.

 

Bravo, Maestro.

 

 

Couldn't agree more. And yes, I also noticed the "Moonlight" kind of quote...

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I remember being entranced with the Violin Concerto No.1 on my first listen to it, so a bit of a different thing for me than some of y'all where I'm going to need to warm to this one.

 

There did seem to be some call backs to the first concerto as mentioned above, in the first and second movements particularly.  

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1 hour ago, Bespin said:

"NICE!"

 

- Me still trying to find an affordable copy of the Duo Concertante.

Is it not for sale or something anymore?

 

27 minutes ago, Marcus said:

A lovely work!

 

The cantilena that also closes the piece sounds almost like a contorted version of "Moonlight" (from Sabrina). Makes me wonder if it could have been intentional?

 

As much as I love his first violin concerto, this is (obviously) the more mature work of the two.

 

Bravo, Maestro.

 

Funny I also hear some Sabrina sounds in the concerto in more than one part actually! I wonder if it was just in the back of his mind from the arrangements.
 

I loved the concerto, absolutely need more than one listen. It is absolutely amazing to me how one composer can have such a diverse repertoire. Stravinsky and Schonberg are really the only two other composers that come to mind like that. It's interesting that this piece also featured a big harp solo, less so than Highwood, but he's done that a few times in his works. There is a big harp solo in the Viola Concerto as well. This piece has his finger prints on it, but it is very different from Highwood, or the other concerto and Treesong....or any of the other concerti actually. 

 

The orchestra was off tonight though, and I think everyone was a little off, including the audience. Maybe that is just me. 98% of the people inside the shed were over 1000, so it was a little depressing haha but the program was excellent. Tanglewood, although the atmosphere is perfect for for a concert, acoustically is not the best venue for pieces like this that have refined sounds, so we all might hear more in the recording. They also don't have a ton of rehearsal time. Highwood was similar, I think I recall the BSO running the piece once before the recorded concert and that was it. Can't wait to hear more performances of the concerto!

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I liked the concerto but will need to listen to it many times over to really dig in. The new version of Across the Stars is interesting. To me it sounds lighter and more spritely. Brighter and maybe even less tragic than the album version.

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@Doug Adams had some wonderful insights into this piece when we chatted after the concert.  I won't steal his thunder but maybe he would be will to share his thoughts here :)

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Listened to the piece again this morning, with the video of the concert now.

 

Firstly, it is beyond impressive that JW, 89 years of age, took on the task of writing and conducting a piece of this magnitude, looking absolutely fabulous while doing it.

 

Prologue is still a bit of a tough nut for me to crack, and I suspect the orchestra might have found it so as well.  I get the impression of almost competing dramatic threads and climaxes, though the heart of the movement seems to be the cadenza, where Mutter is brilliant. 

 

Rounds has a bit more of a fulfilling structural and musical intent, with some really sparkling moments of orchestration.

 

Dactyls stood out this time to me, and I think it might be my favorite movement.  I think it is actually quite visual, drawing a sense of tension and drama not only from the sound of the orchestra/soloist interplay, but from the sight of the forces playing off each other. This is a movement meant to be performed.   I must say, I was impressed.

 

Epilogue has some lovely writing in it, but I still need to listen to it further I think.

 

Overall, the concerto is very demanding, not only for soloist but for the orchestra as well.  From my perspective as listener, I feel as if the work is lacking a little bit in structure, where the passages sometimes do not point to a definite direction either within movements or within the piece as a whole, instead giving the impression of a stroll through sonic moods and experimentation.  I found this to be a bit of a let down compared to recent works like Markings and Highwood's Ghost which struck me as exhibiting a remarkable growth in Williams's approach to structural purpose.  I could not help but compare the piece to John's first Violin Concerto as well.  While the new work certainly exhibits a more advanced grasp of compositional technique, the first concerto has an emotional core that gives it a definite sense of internal musical vision, at least to my sensibilities.  

 

But, something else struck me about the new Violin Concerto No. 2, and that is that the overall structure for the piece perhaps is designed to come not entirely from inside the work, but from outside, that part of the challenge Williams baked into the work is for the soloist and, especially, the orchestra to have to find and convey their own direction and purpose as they interpret the music.  If that is truly the case, then I look forward with great interest to future performances and the possible upcoming recording, where Mutter will have more familiarity with the work and JW will have more time to fully convey his vision for it.

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Seeing the video for the first time, it's worth noting that the harp was brought to the center of the stage, between the cellos and violas. Didn't think that would be the case from reading the programme notes, but makes sense given the harp's role.

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9 minutes ago, SteveMc said:

If that is truly the case, then I look forward with great interest to future performances and the possible upcoming recording, where Mutter will have more familiarity with the work and JW will have more time to fully convey his vision for it.

 

For the next performance he won't even remember which Star Wars movie it's from.

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4 hours ago, crocodile said:

Karol

 

I've mostly wiped the Hobbit films from my memory, but I certainly think of the Nazgul whenever anyone mentions "the Nine".

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I wish I was able to permanently keep the DG stream; still worth the ticket price, though. Which had the better sound, the live audio broadcast via WCRB or the DG stream? Both sounded terrific, but I'm curious for the audiophiles out there.

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Interesting that many of you heard "In the Moonlight" from Sabrina in this concerto. A.I. is actually what strongly came to mind for me when I first heard that melody. But now I can hear what you mean about the Sabrina connection. 

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I agree with a lot that has been said already. Trademark Williams orchestration, great violin writing, and passionately performed. Williams’s classical music always feels like a fresh breath of air to me, while giving a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of the Maestro’s mind.

 

The leitmotif from the 2nd and 4th movements (my favorite ones) indeed echoed the Moonlight theme from Sabrina. JW performed his arrangement of Theme from Sabrina last year in Vienna, at that time he was reportedly already writing the new concerto. Vague memories of the original score might have crossed his mind.

 

Overall it’s a wonderful addition to his already impressive body of concert music. We are fortunate to be witnesses.

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Watched the Concert on Arte yesterday and liked it very much. While his style for concert music had varied significantly in earlier years (compare flute concerto, violin concerto 1 and clarinet concerto) and seemed often a bit meandering and structurless to me, Williams seems to have found his concert voice; the piece is instantly recognizable as mature Williams concert music. While it is much less tonally centered than most of his film music, you hear the same voice in lots of small details like motivs, built-ups and instrumentation.  

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