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Salvatore Accardo / London Symphony Orchestra / Colin Davis

Sibelius: Violin Concerto; Six Humoresques (CD)

As a young man, Sibelius dreamed - not just figuratively but literally - of becoming an internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso. Sibelius` best mature compositions, however, are free of mere showmanship and his Violin Concerto might be the composer's attempt to reconcile the world of the flashy virtuoso with that of the brooding, Nordic ascetic. Whether this reconciliation occurred or not is a matter of opinion but the reservations of music critics (including Joseph Joachim) have not prevented the work from becoming one of the most popular violin concertos.

Sibelius may have written only one violin concerto but he wrote other music for solo violin accompanied by orchestra. In 1917, he composed six `Humoresques`. They were premiered together on 24 November 1919 with soloist Paul Cherkassky and Sibelius himself conducting the Helsinki City Orchestra. In all six, the orchestral forces required are relatively small; the middle two call for strings alone. Sibelius claimed that the `Humoresques` convey `the anguish of existence, fitfully lit up by the sun`.

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47
6 Humoresques for Violin & Orchestra

Salvatore Accardo, violin
London Symphony Orchestra
Colin Davis