Last evening, I attended a performance by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, as part of their American tour. Mariss Jansons conducted a program consisting of the Korngold Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 and Mahler Symphony No. 5. Leonidas Kavakos was the violin soloist.
I appreciated the in-depth program notes that explained the connection between Mahler and Korngold. Erich Korngold, a child prodigy, was composing by the age of 10. When Erich played his cantata, Gold, for Mahler in 1909, Mahler recognized his genius and recommended he study with composer Alexander von Zemlinsky. Korngold’s Violin Concerto evokes these two mentors.
The Concerto, of course, opened the program. Leonidas Kavakos performed convincingly. I love this piece and Kavakos’ rendering of it. The audience couldn’t get enough. Following several curtain calls, Kavakos returned to play an encore.
The encore was none other than the Gavotte en Rondeau from Bach’s Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major (BWV 1006). Kavakos’ interpretation was exquisitely beautiful. As gorgeous as the Korngold was, I can’t stop thinking about the Gavotte.
Following intermission, the BRSO delivered a gut-wrenching performance of Mahler 5. I heard so much of Bach in the Mahler, especially the fugue that opens the finale.
Bach fit with this program so well, once again proving his timelessness and universality.