Philharmonic to perform Sunday

Thursday, March 17th, 2011
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The Kamuela Philhamonic will conclude its 2010-2011 concert season with a performance of the Violin Concerto in D major, Opus 35, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, featuring Michael Russell as soloist, and Symphony No 6 in F major, Opus 68 (“Pastoral”) by Ludwig van Beethoven.

The concert will begin at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 20, at Kahilu Theater in Waimea, and admission is free. Audience members are advised to arrive no later than 3:15 p.m., since space is limited.

Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, which was composed in 1878, is one of the best known and most technically difficult of all violin concertos. During a rest cure at a Swiss resort to combat one of the bouts of depression he suffered periodically throughout his life,

Tchaikovsky wrote the original score for violin and piano in a month’s time, with the advice and inspiration of his composition student, friend (and rumored lover) violinist Iosif Kotek. The contributions of several noted violin soloists of the day, including Leopold Auer (who re-edited the solo part so it was less “unplayable”), Adolph Brodsky (who eventually premiered the work in Vienna in 1881) and Karel Halir (who popularized the orchestral version of the piece) helped Tchaikovsky’s composition win its current place in the violin repertoire. This piece, like most concerti, is in three movements. However, the many difficult modal scales and multiple stop passages it contains reflect Tchaikovsky’s desire to avoid routine, seek out new forms and think more about musical beauty than observing established traditions, emulating composers such as Edouard Lalo and Georges Bizet whose “freshness, lightness, piquant rhythms, beautiful and excellently harmonized melodies” he greatly admired.

Those who heard soloist Michael Russell — assistant concertmaster of the Kamuela Philharmonic — perform “Winter” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with the group in 2005, and Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor in 2006, know his performance of this concerto is something to look forward to.

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