John Adams: Violin Concerto

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John Adams

Violin Concerto (1993)

Leila Josefowicz (violin)

St Louis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Robertson

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Nonesuch releases a new (2018) recording of John Adams’ Grawemeyer Award–winning Violin Concerto (1993) with his frequent collaborators violinist Leila Josefowicz, conductor David Robertson, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. The album was recorded at Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis.

Adams’ Violin Concerto was co-commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the New York City Ballet. It was described by the Boston Globe as having ‘the qualities of intelligence, craftsmanship, and quirkiness that have always marked the composer and his work; this time Adams also mingles virtuoso show with soul, popular appeal with the staying power that comes from intellectual interest.’ The premiere recording of the work, featuring violinist Gidon Kremer and the London Symphony Orchestra led by Kent Nagano, was released by Nonesuch in 1996.

Josefowicz said of the concerto in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “It was the piece where [Adams] first got to know me as a person and a player, when I was twenty-one… When I started playing this piece, it was the confirmation of the new path that I was on, to really go down this new road with new music and with composers, because this experience was so inspiring for me.” She further said, “It has a really dancelike feeling, so the violin line is often incredibly syncopated with everything else going on in the orchestra… Basically, it’s supposed to make you groove.”