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Like a number of recent Russian concertos (eg Arensky’s for violin, Rimsky-Korsakov’s and Glazunov’s for piano) Lyapunov cast his Violin Concerto in a single large movement. It opens Allegro appassionato with a flowing yet dark-hued theme announced by the violin in its lowest register. The pervasive 3/4 time occasionally gives the music the character of a passionate waltz, and soloist and orchestra develop this theme with increasing ardour until the introduction of a gorgeous and melancholically expressive second subject, Un poco più tranquillo, which appears in F major (the relative major of D minor). After this has also been developed, and the first theme briefly restated, concluding what would normally be the exposition of a sonata-form movement, Lyapunov introduces a playful scherzo-like episode with a new, rather folk-like theme, which he ingeniously combines in counterpoint with the concerto’s opening theme.
Further development leads to an Adagio in D flat major that serves the concerto as a ‘slow movement’ and has its own mellifluous theme which the soloist decorates in filigree fashion. Within the Adagio is a magical central episode, in which the violin is accompanied by harp while in dialogue with the woodwind and muted strings. After this section the opening Allegro appassionato returns, initiating a recapitulatory section in which we not only re-encounter the second subject—now in D major—but also a return of the folk-like scherzando material. When this has run its course the soloist is finally allowed a large-scale unaccompanied cadenza of transcendental virtuosity, that draws together the work’s various threads and leads to a Più mosso, agitato coda in which the demands of the violin writing remain just as formidable. The coda culminates in a brief, passionate apotheosis of the Adagio theme before the fiery concluding bars that bring the concerto to an end in breathtaking style.
from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2012
|Khachaturian & Lyapunov: Works for violin and orchestra|
The two composers represented here symbolize two entirely different eras in Russian music, yet their works are perhaps more an expression of continuities, of perennial concerns for Russian composers, such as the need to integrate folkloric element ...» More