Saint-Saëns: The Three Violin Concertos
- CD 2210
- Camille Saint-Saëns
The three violin concertos
Dedicated to Achille Dier in the manuscript (this dedication is missing in the score edited by Durand much later); the Violin Concerto No. 2 in C Major; Op. 58; is in fact the first of Saint—Saëns’ three violin Concertos. Although written in 1868; the premiere performance took place much later; it was first performed by Belgian violinist Martin-Pierre Marsik with the Pasdeloup orchestra on 13 February 1880.
The composition is a remarkable reflection of the composer’s youthful enthusiasm as well as of his predilection for virtuosity — a predilection common to many of his contemporaries. It contains; for example; the type of dramatic gestures to be found in the music of Liszt; Thalberg and Paganini; particularly reminiscent of the latter is the throbbing orchestral bass that accompanies the first theme; an essentially brilliant passage despite a second; more charming motive that is more reminiscent of Mendelssohn.
The whole exposition; in fact; is aimed at spotlighting the soloist; even at the orchestral bridge where the flute gracefully sketches a supple melody before flowing into the second motive where the brilliant melodic play is now highlighted in even sharper contrast to the carefully crafted orchestral substratum.
For the most part; however; the writing is fundamentally virtuosic: double stops; trills; vigorous détaché bowing; harmonics; flowing and broken arpeggios; bravado passages with outpourings of octaves; etc. The concerto provides a sense of conquering the soloistic technical difficulties for the pure pleasure of it.