Friday, February 26, 2010

Barber Update: Violin Concerto

Barber's 100th birthday is coming up in just over a week, making it the perfect time to hear what is maybe the composer's second most famous piece.

Tomorrow at 2 PM, and again at 8 PM, Gil Shaham will play Barber's Violin Concerto with David Robertson and the New York Philharmonic. Barber wrote the Violin Concerto in 1939, in the wake of Toscanini's broadcast of the Adagio for Strings (his best known music by a long shot) with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, and the violinist who it was commissioned for originally rejected the piece. It wasn't premiered until 1941with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Arthur Spalding. (The New York Phil's online program notes can tell you more.)

WQXR will broadcast the concert on Thursday, March 11.

If you want more Barber, look to the Baltimore Symphony in June, when they'll present both his opera A Hand of Bridge and his Knoxville: Summer of 1915.