Beethoven: Sparks of Joy — the incomparable violin concerto in D major
Beethoven composed his only violin concerto in 1806, specifically for the young violinist Franz Clement, whose playing was described as being of “indescribable tenderness”. The premier was chaotic, with Clement at one point interrupting the program to play one of his own compositions while holding the violin upside-down! Other violinists attempted the work with little success, and the concerto languished for several decades. It was the sensational 1844 performance by the 13-year-old Joseph Joachim, with Felix Mendelssohn conducting, which firmly established Beethoven’s Violin Concerto as one of the monuments in the repertoire.
Itzhak Perlman and Daniel Barenboim collaborated in this extraordinary 1992 performance. [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]