The Violin Concerto is the first of many orchestral works that Glass has composed on commission since the late 1980s, following the acclaim accorded to Satyagraha and Akhnaten The choice of the concerto form seemed a natural one for a composer then currently obsessed with opera he found it 'more theatrical and more personal' than music for orchestra alone The work was premiered by Paul Zukofsky and the American Composers Orchestra under Dennis Russell Davies in New York on 5th April 1987. Both these musicians had worked with Glass before. •
The concerto's familiar three-movement, broadly fast-slow-fast, layout was in fact accidental. Zukofsky, who collaborated closely with the composer during the work's gestation, had requested a slow, high finale. Glass's original plan to have five short movements changed in the course of composing the piece, and he ended up with two movements followed by, a third one which concludes with a slow coda making references to the material of both previous movements, thus also complying with his soloist's wishes.
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