Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra;
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra;
Glazunov wrote his Violin Concerto in A minor in 1904 during the summer months after the death of Belyayev. It was first performed in St. Petersburg on 4th March 1905 by Leopold Auer, to whom it was dedicated. Two weeks later Auer's fourteen-year-old pupil Mischa Elman played the concerto in London and another pupil, May Harrison, has left some account of her own performance of the work in St. Petersburg in 1912, with Glazunov conducting, after a rehearsal in which he had gone through the Brahms Double Concerto at uniformly slow speeds, something attributed by some to habitual over-indulgence in alcohol. •
The Seasons was written for the Russian Imperial Ballet and first produced at the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in February 1900 with choreography by Marius Petipa. There is no particular story to the ballet, which offers a series of tableaux, one for each of the four seasons, set to music that seems to continue the tradition established in the three ballets of Tchaikovsky. •
After a short introduction the curtain rises to show Winter surrounded by Frost, Ice, Hail and Ice, amid whirling snowflakes. For the first of these, Frost, there is a Polonaise, for Ice a dance played by violas and clarinets, for Hail a scherzo and for Snow a waltz. The cold of winter is banished by two gnomes, who light a fire, preparing the temperature for the following scene. •
Spring is ushered in by the harp and accompanied by the gentle Zephyr, Birds and Flowers. There is a dance for Roses, for Spring and for one of the Birds, all of whom depart as the summer sun grows hotter.
Summer is set in a cornfield, where Cornflowers and Poppies dance, with the Spirit of the Corn. The heat exhausts them, and as they rest a group of Naiads enter, to a Barcarolle, bringing the water that the flowers need. There is a dance for the Spirit of the Corn, accompanied by a clarinet solo and a coda, interrupted by an attempt by satyrs and fauns to carry off the Spirit, frustrated by the intervention of the Zephyr. •
A wild Bacchic dance introduces Autumn. There are brief appearances by Winter, Spring, the Bird and the Zephyr, reminiscences of the year that is now passing. There is a dance for Summer, and then the Bacchanale resumes, to be brought to an end by multitudinous falling leaves. The stage grows dark and the final Apotheosis shows the stars, as they circle the Earth. •
The Concert Waltz, Op. 47, was written in 1893, the first of a set of two, the second added in the following year.