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Unsuk Chin’s second violin concerto gets its broadcast premiere

Thanks to Colin Bartlett for alerting me to the fact that the premiere of Unsuk Chin’s second violin concerto will be broadcast in a performance by its dedicatee Leonidas Kavakos on 18 January. LKL had eagerly bought tickets for its scheduled live premiere, which was going to be 7 January last year at the Barbican. Of course, the concert as originally envisaged was cancelled.

Annoyingly, the rescheduled live premiere sneaked into the LSO / Barbican concert calendar earlier this month without my noticing it. The performance will be broadcast on Radio 3 (7:30pm on 18 January) and available on BBC Sounds thereafter. It is already available on Medici.tv. The performance is reviewed in The Guardian and The Times. Here are the concert notes from the BBC website:

Unsuk Chin: Violin Concerto No. 2, ‘Scherben der Stille’

Unsuk Chin
Conductor Simon Rattle, Composer Unsuk Chin and soloist Leonidas Kavakos at the Barbican premiere on 6 January 2022 (photo credit Mark Allan. Source LSO Facebook page)

Unsuk Chin: Violin Concerto No. 2, ‘Scherben der Stille’
Sibelius: Symphony No. 7
Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin (Suite)

Leonidas Kavakos (violin)
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Simon Rattle (conductor)

For their first concert of 2022, Simon Rattle and the LSO begin with an eagerly awaited, Covid-postponed world premiere. The internationally renowned Korean-born, Berlin-based composer Unsuk Chin thought she had written her one and only violin concerto until she heard the playing of Leonidas Kavakos. The result is her Violin Concerto No 2, ‘Scherben der Stille’ – ‘Shards of Silence’ – inspired by, as she puts it, Kavakos’s burningly intense and completely focused personality and unique musicianship.

Two very different 20th-century masterpieces by composers close to Rattle’s heart complete the programme. The inevitability of Sibelius’s intense and compact final symphony in some way seems profoundly to reflect the natural world, in stark contrast to Bartók’s albeit dazzling suite from his ballet The Miraculous Mandarin with its squalid and tawdry urban setting peopled by sleazy characters.

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