Overshadowed for years by more famous contemporaries such as Bartók and Stravinsky, Karol Szymanowski isn’t one of classical music’s household names. But the Polish composer should be considerably better known than he is – not least for his expressive, emotionally involving First Violin Concerto, one of the more important and compelling works of the last century. Leaving behind the romantic tradition that had held sway for decades, it’s arguably the first modern violin concerto, exciting for the listener and tremendously demanding for any soloist – in this instance, longtime Szymanowski champion Tasmin Little – who chooses to take it on. The second half of this compelling double bill is given over to another work performed less often than it deserves: inspired by Lord Byron’s poem of the same name, Tchaikovsky’s wild, engrossing Manfred Symphony traces the journey of the tortured title character from isolation towards an inevitable death. Both works should really come alive in concert in the hands of guest conductor Vassily Sinaisky.
Vassily Sinaisky – Conductor
Tasmin Little – Violin