The New York Philharmonic

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Tonight's concert will be performed as scheduled. If you need to exchange your tickets for another concert, you can do so at or by calling (212) 875-5656.

Brahms's Violin Concerto and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra

This concert is now past.
Christian Tetzlaff
Location: Avery Fisher Hall (Directions)
Price Range: $39.00 - $123.00

Concert Duration

2 hours 15 minutes
Wed, Feb, 6, 2013
7:30 PM
Thu, Feb, 7, 2013
7:30 PM
Fri, Feb, 8, 2013
8:00 PM
Sat, Feb, 9, 2013
8:00 PM
The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)


The Noon Witch


Violin Concerto

Violin Concerto (1878)

The nearly symphonic proportions and technical demands of Brahms’s romantic Violin Concerto have inspired the admiration and awe of concert audiences for more than 130 years; it is one of the pillars of the concerto repertoire. It requires extraordinary skills from the soloist — though it is never showy for its own sake. The grand first movement starts with a long orchestral exposition and then lets the violinist do bravura stuff for some 40 measures! It also abounds with melodies. The serene second movement features the oboe in a haunting theme with a choir of other winds supporting it. The last movement is exuberant and vigorous and incorporates Gypsy folk rhythms (a nod to the dedicatee, the minent violinist Joseph Joachim, who was Hungarian), with leaps, runs, and double-stops that are daunting for the soloist. Trumpets and drums are featured in a march, and, after winding down, the concerto ends with three emphatic chords.


Concerto for Orchestra

BÉLA BARTÓK (1881-19945)
Concerto for Orchestra (1943)

The commission for the Concerto for Orchestra, Béla Bartók's last completed orchestral work, came about as an act of kindness at the suggestion of fellow-Hungarian expats, conductor Fritz Reiner and violinist Joseph Szigeti, and was set in motion by Boston Symphony Orchestra music director Serge Koussevitzky. Bartók had fled Nazi-occupied Hungary and had come to the United States in 1940, but he felt displaced and depressed, was seriously ill with leukemia, and was in dire financial straits. He thought his life as a composer was finished. His friends sought to revive his spirits and devised a secret scheme to commission a work. Koussevitzky visited the emaciated Bartók in the hospital and offered him $1,000 for a new piece for orchestra in honor of his own late wife, Natalie Koussevitzky. Had proud Bartók known, he would never have accepted such "charity." But fortunately for posterity he didn't, and the result is one of the 20th century's musical highpoints. The Concerto for Orchestra was premiered to great acclaim by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1944. Bartók supplied some explanatory guideposts for his composition, constructed like a palindrome or arch: "The general mood of the work represents, apart from the jesting second movement, a gradual transition from the sternness of the first movement and the lugubrious death-song of the third to the life-assertion of the last one." Every section of the orchestra and every principal player gets a place in the spotlight in this magnificent showpiece, which ends in a whirlwind of a fugue for all forces. A bit of an inside joke related to the "Intermezzo interrotto": Bartók's "interruption" is a parody of the first movement of Shostakovich's "Leningrad" Symphony (which conflates "I'm Going to Maxim's" from Léhar's The Merry Widow with a relentless march). Apparently Bartók had heard it played over and over on the radio and found it terribly banal.


Andris Nelsons By Marco Borggreve

Andris Nelsons is one of the most sought-after young conductors on the international scene today, earning a distinguished name for himself both on the opera and concert podiums. Over the next few seasons he will continue collaborations with the New York Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Staatskapelle, Boston Symphony Orchestra, London's Philharmonia Orchestra, and Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra. He recently made his debut in Japan, on tour with the Vienna Philharmonic, and this season he will make his debut with Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

Andris Nelsons is a regular guest at Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, and Deutsche Staatsoper. In the summer of 2011 he returned to the Bayreuth Fetival as musical director for a new production of Lohengrin, directed by Hans Neuenfels; and returns there in 2012.

Mr. Nelsons has been music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) since 2008 and has made regular appearances with the orchestra on tour and at the Lucerne Festival, BBC Proms, and Berlin Music Festival. He and the CBSO are working toward releasing the complete orchestral works of Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss for Orfeo International. He received the 2011 ECHO Klassik award as Conductor of the Year for his recording with CBSO of Stravinsky's Firebird and Symphony of Psalms.

Born in Riga, Latvia in 1978 to a family of musicians, Andris Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting. He was principal conductor of the North West German Philharmonic in Herford, Germany from 2006 to 2009 and music director of the Latvian National Opera from 2003 to 2007.

Learn more about Andris Nelsons



Christian Tetzlaff by Giorgia Bertazzi

Christian Tetzlaff's interpretations of the violin concerto repertoire, whether of the classical/romantic period or the present day, are appreciated the world over. He is particularly renowned for his performances of the Bach solo sonatas and partitas.

In the 2011–12 season he embarks on two major tours to Asia with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding and Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Hengelbrock. Further projects include a South American tour on which he will conduct as well as perform with Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and European tours with the London Symphony Orchestra under Pierre Boulez and with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons. This season he is artist-in-residence in Hamburg where he appears in a Bach solo recital and in concert with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and the NDR Symphony Orchestra led by Christoph Eschenbach.

In Europe Mr. Tetzlaff has appeared with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski, Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen, and NDR Symphony Orchestra with John Storgaard. He is a regular guest soloist with ensembles such as the Orchestre de Paris and Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra. He performs at major festivals including those in Edinburgh and Lucerne and the BBC Proms, in addition to summer festivals throughout the U.S. He also gives recitals with pianists Leif Ove Andsnes, Alexander Lonquich, and Lars Vogt, as well as his own Tetzlaff Quartet.

Mr. Tetzlaff's discography for Virgin Classics and other labels includes the major concerto repertoire, Bartók sonatas with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, and the three Brahms violin sonatas with pianist Lars Vogt. His recordings have won the Diapason d'Or, Edison prize, Midem Classical Award, and ECHO Klassik prize as well as several Grammy nominations. His latest recording of Mendelssohn and Schumann violin concertos was released in 2011 on the Ondine label.

Christian Tetzlaff plays a violin by German violinmaker Peter Greiner.

Learn more about Christian Tetzlaff

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