When I play concerti with orchestra, I so rarely get the chance to present my own program notes, as I can typically do in a recital setting. I am in the process of researching the Mozart K. 301-306 sonatas, Grieg, Franck, and some showpieces, and I came across some notes from 3 years ago when I had my first opportunity to write the background for a concerto performance.
Three years ago (March and April 2004), I played the Saint-Saens b minor Concerto with Liza Grossman conducting the Contemporary Youth Orchestra, a collaboration that is still very vivid in my memory. It was a learning process and nostalgic at the same time, as I began lessons with Liza about fifteen years ago. She is now heard on CD/DVD from Malibu to London, and is quickly building a name for herself and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra. In rehearsing for the the Saint-Saens performances, Liza had a stipulation for me: I must write my own program notes. In poring over several essays on Saint-Saens, the concerto, and the violin world in the 1880’s, I quickly discovered that I really didn’t have any background information on the concerto to help solidify any sort of an interpretation I was gathering at that time. So, thanks to Liza’s insistence, I was able to grow and mature with the piece with extensive research and listening to many interpretations. Below are the notes. Enjoy!