Friday 20 January 2017

British composer, Peter Seabourne’s spectacularly fine Violin Concerto premiered in Germany

British composer, Peter Seabourne’s  Violin Concerto was recently premiered in its complete form in Germany by Fenella Humphreys  with the Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss  conducted by Lavard Skou Larsen

The first two movements of the concerto were composed in 2003 and recorded by Sheva with violinist Irina Borissova and the Mainzer Virtuosi conducted by Dmitri Khakalin. The composer was commissioned to write a third movement to make this a full scale concerto.

It is with the kind permission of the composer and artists that I am able to provide the following links to the unedited live performance in order for a wider public to hear this wonderful concerto.

Peter Seabourne’s Violin Concerto opens with broad, dramatic string chords from the orchestra that introduce the first movement Appassionato. They are quickly joined by an equally dramatic violin line that brings some formidable playing from soloist, Fenella Humphreys. Eventually the music gives way to a calmer, lyrical episode that nevertheless retains a degree of tension. The soloist and orchestra create a fine dialogue as the movement develops through passages of terrific invention, slowly increasing in animation. Later there is a slower passage for the soloist over a deep held, hushed orchestral background as the violin brings a kind of accompanied cadenza with this soloist finding some exquisite moments as the orchestra gently expands whilst the soloist rhapsodises. The tempi picks up to bring back the opening dynamism, though now with a beautifully rich swirl of orchestral textures before the strings chords of the opening bring a sudden end.

In the Dolce semplice the soloist brings a haunting theme over a gentle orchestral accompaniment. This is a quite lovely moment. Again there is a fine dialogue between soloist and orchestra, working through some lovely little details as the music develops. There is some beautifully shaped phrasing from soloist and orchestra allowing this finely developed movement to reveal its many beauties. The music slowly finds a greater passion with the orchestral strings adding greater texture before finding a hush in the wonderful coda.

In the concluding Volante furioso, the orchestra brings a swirling, descending string passage to which the soloist adds an energetic theme. Both soloist and orchestra push ahead through some dramatic bars before the soloist introduces a calmer moment before developing through some terrific ideas, increasing in drama again. The music is constantly shifting between passion and a gentler nature, in many ways bringing together the character of the first two movements. The soloist brings some particularly fine textures, developing through some more expansive moments. The orchestra provides some beautifully shaped phrases to which the soloist responds with an increasing sense of passion and drama before finding the coda.

This is a spectacularly fine work from a composer who seems to grow in stature with every work that he produces. Both soloist and orchestra give a very fine performance.

We urgently need more recordings as well as UK performances of this fine composer’s work.

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