For financial expediency, Sibelius composed many short pieces for the violin during the First World War (orchestras struggled, as musicians were called to the front). However, these inventive miniatures are sadly neglected nowadays. – Brendan Carroll, Hyperion
When the name Jean Sibelius appears on a Heifetz Institute concert program, it’s invariably in connection with his totemic Violin Concerto, one of the great concertos of the early 20th-century, and required rehearsing for every aspiring violinist. (Click here to view a magnificent performance by Heifetz alum Ji-Won Song!)
Sibelius dreamed of being a concert violinist, but in the end proved to be far more skilled as a composer than a fiddler. But he never lost his love for the instrument, and its remarkable capacity for creating an infinite amount of musical colors. HIs 1905 Violin Concerto is a wintry epic on a grand symphonic scale, But a decade later, as World War I raged across Europe, Sibelius explored a more intimate, salon style for the instrument, producing a series of charming miniatures that are rarely heard in the concert hall.
Leave it to the encyclopedic knowledge of Heifetz faculty member Shmuel Ashkenasi (co-director of the Institute’s renowned Ashkenasi / Kirshbaum Chamber Music Seminar) to give some air to these Sibelius rarities, at a sold-out Celebrity Series concert at the Institute’s main stage of Francis Auditorium on the Mary Baldwin University campus. He’s joined by Heifetz faculty pianist Dina Vainshtein. Enjoy – and remember to check out our YouTube channel and subscribe!