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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Violinist Gluzman tackles Tchaikovsky

Symphony will also perform works by Mozart, Bruckner

Donivan Johnson Correspondent

It’s a program of Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Bruckner on the bill this weekend for the Spokane Symphony Orchestra and conductor Eckart Preu.

Violinst Vadim Gluzman is the guest soloist for Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35. Gluzman, who performed with the Spokane Symphony in 2010, praised Preu during a recent phone conversation as “a serious, elegant musician who loves making music with others.”

Vadim also spoke about the violin he has used for the past 15 years. He said “It is on loan from the Stradivari Foundation of Chicago and is the same instrument owned by Leopold Auer who was originally intended to premiere the Tchaikovsky Concerto.” Gluzman shared “just telling this story to you again gives me goose bumps.”

In a cover story for the Oct. 20, 2012, issue of Classical Music, Gluzman said, “I play violin because I need to play. Often I can be blunt, both personally and musically. That represents honesty to me.”

When Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto was premiered in Vienna the influential critic Eduard Hanslick wrote that this work “raises for the first time the ghastly idea that there are pieces of music that one can hear stinking.”

These harsh words of Hanslick’s have been ignored over time. This concerto has become one of the most famous in the repertoire.

Composed in Clarens, Switzerland, while Tchaikovsky was trying to overcome depression, the composer was joined by his composition pupil and violinist Iosif Kotek. The concerto was written with Kotek providing advice on the soloist part.

Although intended for Auer and dedicated to him, Auer declined to premiere the work. As Auer remarked in 1912 “The concerto has made its way in the world, and after all, that is the most important thing. It is impossible to please everybody.”

While Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was working on “The Marriage of Figaro” in 1786 he received a demand from Emperor Joseph II to compose a one-act singspiel (opera with spoken dialogue) for performance the following month. “The Impresario,” with libretto by Gottlieb Stephanie, was a huge success. The symphony will perform the overture, which is a parody of the play that follows. The lively, energetic music has many similarities to that of “Figaro.”

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) composed his Symphony No. 7 between 1881 and 1883. Dedicated to Ludwig II of Bavaria, the symphony was premiered in Leipzig on Dec. 30, 1884.

Bruckner, who was forever in doubt about his music, made several revisions to the symphony over the years at the behest of critics, publishers and conductors.

The Adagio in C# Minor was composed in anticipation of Richard Wagner’s impending death and funeral. This movement was also performed at the dedication of a bust of Bruckner at Regensburg Walhalla Temple in 1937.