Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47, 1st movement
Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47, 1st movement
In this lesson featuring Jean Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47, Pavel Vernikov and Achille Vocat work on finding the tone, staying in tempo and more.
Produced by the Saline royale Academy
In this session, Pavel Vernikov and student Achille Vocat take on the deep and severe violin Concerto in D Minor, Op.47, 1st movement by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It is quite a complex piece, which requires an understanding of Nordic music in order to master it.
Professor Vernikov tells his student that he must tell the story of Sibelius’ work: the severity of the winter, the long nights. It is a deep and introspective piece, and it is essential to comprehend its context to capture the tone.
On the technical side, the pair work on tempo, playing along with a mental metronome, long notes, and more.
Finding the right tone by understanding the context of the œuvre.
Memorizing the piece.
Staying in tempo.
Playing in a relaxed manner.
This piece is the only violin concerto by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, written in 1904. Sibelius conducted the premiere of his piece, which unfortunately was disastrous. Jean Sibelius had barely finished writing the concerto, and his violinist Victor Nováček had very little time to prepare for the concert.
The concerto was heavily edited in the following years. It is a dark and melancholic piece and has many virtuosic passages. It is structured like a classical concerto, in three movements, and is written for a small orchestra.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this violin masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Pavel Vernikov’s feedback and comments.
He won the ARD International Violin Competition in Munich and the Grand Prix at the “Vittorio Gui” International Violin Competition in Florence 2016.
Pavel Vernikov, a student of David Oistrach and S. Snitkowsky, gained his reputation as a virtuoso violinist over twenty years ago. Some prominent prizes he has won include, but are not limited to: the International ARD Violin Competition in Munich and the Grand Prix at the International Violin Competition “Vittorio Gui” in Florence.
What’s more, Vernikov has appeared in many prestigious venues, such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, La Salle Gaveau in Paris, La Scala in Milan, and Santa Cecilia in Rome. For the last 30 years he has been a member of the Tchaikovsky Trio. His artistic partners include Sviatoslav Richter, James Galway, Alain Meunier, and more.
He was the Artistic Director of the Gubbio Music Festival, the Dubrovnik Chamber Music Festival and the Eilat Chamber Music Festival. He teaches and gives masterclasses around the world in Italy, France, Finland, Spain (Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia Madrid), Israel (Rubin Academy), Germany (Kronberg Academy), and more. In addition, he has been invited to be a jury member at numerous international competitions (Szigeti, Kreisler, Gui, ARD-Competition in Munich, Sendai (Japan), Budapest, Sarasate, Wieniawski, etc.). Pavel Vernikov has recorded for RCA, Ondine, and Dynamic.
As an educator, Vernikov was the professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon. Currently, he is a professor of the highly esteemed Konservatorium Wien University, and at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne, site de Sion. His alumni consist of acclaimed musicians. Among them are: Massimo Quarta (1. Prize Paganini International Violin Competition, Genua), Fumiaki Miura (1. Prize Hannover International Violin Competition), Lorenza Borrani (Leader of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe), Fanny Clamagirand (1. Prize Fritz Kreisler International Violin Competition, Vienna and 1. Prize International Monte Carlo Violin Competition), and Miki Kobayashi (2. Prize Wieniawski Competition). In 2013, he was appointed Artistic Director of the Sion Festival in Switzerland.
Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer of the late romantic era, born in 1865 in the southern Finnish town of Hämeenlinna. He is considered the most famous and influential composer of his home country, and many suggest that Sibelius participated directly in the creation of a Finnish culture, while the country struggled to find one after its independence from Russia. At the heart of his works lies his seven symphonies, now performed all over the world. The most famous of his oeuvres are Finlandia, the Karelia Suite, Valse triste and the Violin Concerto.
He remained a prolific composer until the mid-20s, a period where he stopped writing music for the next thirty years of his life. Many still cannot explain why, and his silent years are commonly referred to as the "silence of Järvenpää", in reference to the location of Sibelius’s home. He nonetheless continued working, writing masonic music and re-working earlier compositions, but did not take interest in writing new music.
He was known for loving nature and studying law as a young man until his passion for music took over, and he began to study it full-time. Furthermore, he married the daughter of a general and a Baltic aristocrat, Aino, Järnefelt, in 1892. Together, they lead a very hedonistic lifestyle, and in consequence, negatively impacted their health. Aido spent time in a sanatorium, while Jean Sibelius’ health deteriorated slowly over time. In 1957, the composer died from a brain hemorrhage at age 91.
Sibelius’s music manuscripts have recently been added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program. He is often considered 'a nationalist composer working in the Romantic tradition'.
Photo credit: Jean Sibelius © Getty