ON THIS DAY | Elgar Violin Concerto Premiered in 1910
Commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society of London, Elgar said of the work: "It's good! Awfully emotional! Too emotional, but I love it!”
Edward Elgar's Violin Concerto in B Minor Op. 61 premiered on this day in 1910, marking one of the pinnacles of his career.
The first performance was given by Fritz Kreisler, with Elgar conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. The United States premiere performance was given on January 7, 1934, by Jascha Heifetz with Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Elgar had written music for solo violin, but some pieces remained unpublished, and he destroyed his initial draft of the violin concerto in 1890. Kreisler requested a concerto from his favorite composer in 1906, which did not come to full attention until April 1909.
Elgar's letters reflected both his hopes and doubts about the piece but ultimately expressed his satisfaction with his grand and heroic work. The premiere was a huge success, with the audience recalling him fifteen times and Kreisler receiving numerous standing ovations. Initially dedicated to Fritz Kreisler, Elgar was inspired to add a co-dedicatee on the title page, Yehudi Menuhin, who was a sixteen-year-old prodigy at the time.
TASMIN LITTLE | ELGAR VIOLIN CONCERTO IN B MINOR | SIR ANDREW DAVIS & BBC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA