Xavier Montsalvatge: Partita 1958 (1957) 17′
Camille Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61 (1880) 30′
Edward Elgar: Symphony No. 1 in in A-flat major, Op. 55 (1908) 52′
Barcelona Symphony Orchestra (OBC
James Ehnes, violin
Juanjo Mena, conductor
Conductor Juanjo Mena opens the programme with Xavier Montsalvatge’s Partita 1958. The name refers to an eighteenth-century musical form, since the composer aimed to write a piece “not entirely alien to classicism”, although the year 1958 reveals the contemporaneity of its language.
Like other works by Camille Saint-Saëns, the Third Violin Concerto reflects the composer’s interest in Spain, where he often travelled, attracted to its rhythms and harmonies with oriental flourishes. He also took inspiration from one of the period’s great violinists, Pablo Sarasate, who first performed it.
For his part, British composer Edward Elgar had been thinking of writing a symphony for over a decade. He had Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony sitting on his desk and even considered dedicating his symphony to a general, while another third symphony, that by Brahms, also drew his attention. His First Symphony resulted from studying these two models, and was an immediate success.