Notes and Editorial Reviews
Sarah Chang has recorded the Brahms Violin Concerto with Kurt Masur and the Dresdner Philharmonie. Two decades after first learning the concerto, and following several years of studying the work with Kurt Masur, she felt the time was finally right to commit to disc one of the summits of a violinist’s recording career. EMI Classics is proud to release this recording, which couples the Brahms with the ever-popular Bruch G minor concerto. “I’ve been working with Maestro Masur since I was about ten years old,” Chang said recently, “and I’ve gone through just about every concerto with him. He is like my musical godfather. From the time I was about 18, I would ask Maestro Masur every year if we could perform the Brahms concerto together, and
every year he turned me down. Finally I stopped asking. And then, about three or four years ago, he pulled me aside and said he thought I was ready, that I could work with him [on it]. … The work requires so much emotional depth, so much stamina and a lot of musical knowledge, not just of your own line but of the orchestration. The greatest joy comes from treating it as a chamber music piece, from involving yourself in the wash of sound.”
“The Bruch G minor is one of my favourite concertos,” Chang continued. “I auditioned for Juilliard with the Bruch when I was about five and a half so it was also one of my first concertos. It is so beautiful; it has an incredibly dramatic side to it, but also the most luscious, glorious melodies that are unapologetically, heartbreakingly romantic.”
Johannes Brahms met the legendary violinist Joseph Joachim in 1853. Although both were about the same age, Joachim was already famous while Brahms was still unknown and struggling in the shadow of Beethoven’s genius. Twenty five years later, Brahms composed his only violin concerto for his dear friend. It was in D Major, the same key as Beethoven’s only violin concerto and, as he wrote it, Brahms called on Joachim for technical advice. The composer conducted the premiere in Leipzig on New Year’s Day 1879 with the Gewandhaus Orchestra with the work’s dedicatee as the soloist.
Max Bruch also had a close relationship with Joseph Joachim, who advised him on his G minor violin concerto and performed the premiere of its revised version in 1868. Both the Brahms and Bruch concertos have finales in gypsy style, paying tribute to Joachim’s Hungarian roots and both contain features of his playing, such as his grand theatrical manner, expressive legato lines and decorative melodic passagework.
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 77 by Johannes Brahms
Sarah Chang (Violin)
Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1878; Austria
Be the first to review this title