‘The Red Violin’, John Corigliano’s new Concerto for Violin and Orchestra has received its world premiere with soloist Joshua Bell and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra conduced by Marin Alsop to great acclaim. Following this impressive premiere, Bell is taking the work on a tour to the co-commissioning orchestras and the San Francisco Ballet, who will present the choreographic premiere in spring 2005.
"...the melancholy Red Violin theme, rises and falls with Mahlerian eloquence. It is a quintessential Corigliano melody, full of soul and character, ripe for development.
To follow the intense workout that theme gets in the Chaconne, Corigliano has fashioned an ingenious scherzo that has soloist and orchestra rustling and bustling at a stage-whisper. A slow movement, introduced by some of the richest string chords since Samuel Barber, has the violin singing like, and duetting with, a flute. In the finale, breathless bursts of continually accelerating energy contrast with disarming lyricism, including a brief, exquisite moment when the Red Violin theme and a new, subtly ecstatic tune intertwine like reluctantly parting lovers...In the end, the concerto achieves a rare combination of structural coherence, imaginative coloring, and, above all, intellectual and emotional depth."
(Tim Smith, Sun Music Critic, 20/9/03)