Thursday 29 September 2011

Two Virtuoso Violinists

Virtuoso violinists throughout the centuries have arguably, more than any other instrumentalists, achieved a ‘god-like’ status with the public. From the Italian Paganini in the 1800’s described as the first Romantic virtuoso, to Nigel Kennedy, who today is not only famed for his interpretation of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons but his work with musicians from other genres - violinists have both enthralled and entranced audiences with their brilliant technique and golden tone.

This October we will be exploring the artistry of not one but two violinists. We will be touring with Norwegian violinist, Henning Kraggerud who will performa specially commissioned work by British composer Piers Tattersall which explores the style of Fritz Kreisler – an Austrian violinist and composer of the early 20th century..

Henning is an artist of exquisite musicianship, who combines an unusually sweet tone and beauty of expression with impressive virtuosity, drawing audiences and critics alike towards the genuine quality of his playing. This summer, on tour in Mexico, Henning and Britten Sinfonia players established a great rapport with Henning and are looking forward to performing with him for our regular audiences in Norwich, Cambridge and London.

Part of the programme is a new work by the young composer Piers Tattersall. In the process of writing this new piece Piers and Henning discussed in great detail how the new work would develop and what the inspirations behind it were. Entitled Kreisler, l’entre deux guerres the work is informed by elements of the life and music of Kreisler. Perhaps the most popular violinist of the early 20th century Kreisler was known for his expressive sweet tone and brilliant technique. He played in what has often been described as a ‘cosy’ style and had a taste for ‘pastiche’. In the 1930’s Kreisler caused controversy when he admitted that a number of pieces he’d published which he’d ascribed to other composers (e.g. Vivaldi, Couperin and others) were in fact his own compositions. Kreisler answered complaints by declaring that critics had already deemed the compositions worthy and he explained his motive was to build well-rounded programmes for his concerts that would contain virtuoso pieces by established composers, rather than a series of pieces under his own unknown name.

Piers Tattersall’s Kreisler l’entre deux guerres is commissioned by Britten Sinfonia with support from the William Alwyn Foundation and additional funding from the RVW Trust. For more information about the concerts click here. The première will take place at Norwich Theatre Royal on Sunday 2 October and then tours to Cambridge’s West Road Concert Hall on Wednesday 5 October and London’s Southbank Centre on Friday 7 October.

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