Beethoven: Violin Concerto & Violin Sonata no.9 “Kreutzer”

Nemanja Radulović, Double Sens
  1. Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61, I. Allegro ma non troppo (Ludwig van Beethoven)
  2. Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61, II. Larghetto (Ludwig van Beethoven)
  3. Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61, III. Rondo (Allegro) (Ludwig van Beethoven)
  4. Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47, 'Kreutzer', I. Adagio sostenuto (Ludwig van Beethoven, arr. for violin and string ensemble by Nemanja Radulović and Aleksandar Sedlar)
  5. Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47, 'Kreutzer', II. Andante con variazioni (Ludwig van Beethoven, arr. for violin and string ensemble by Nemanja Radulović and Aleksandar Sedlar)
  6. Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47, 'Kreutzer', III. Finale (Presto) (Ludwig van Beethoven, arr. for violin and string ensemble by Nemanja Radulović and Aleksandar Sedlar)

 

“This album presents the core of the violin repertoire – Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Kreutzer Sonata,” says Nemanja Radulović, whose previous (and first) Warner Classics album, Roots took a multicultural tour of the world. While these Beethoven masterpieces have been recorded countless times, Radulović’s approach to each of them has an element of innovation.

For the concerto, he has expanded Double Sens, the chamber ensemble he founded in 2008, and which includes musicians both from France (where Radulović completed his studies, at the Paris Conservatoire) and his homeland of Serbia. “I had previously had the opportunity to collaborate on different projects with all the new musicians who joined the ensemble for the concerto,” he explains, “and it was interesting for me to bring them together for the first time. I wanted to retain the special character of Double Sens as an ensemble which plays without a conductor and explores new ways of interpretation.”

Rather than playing the grandly scaled Kreutzer Sonata in partnership with a pianist – something Radulović has done many times in the course of his career – he performs it here with a group of string players. “I worked on this arrangement for six months … It was a real challenge to delve into every detail of the piano part and arrange it for a string ensemble.” The group of players, divided into five parts, partners the solo violin, and Radulović emphasises that each participant has an equal role to play.   While remaining faithful to Beethoven, I allowed myself to exercise my imagination, finally adopting the form of a ‘sextet’ for this interpretation of the piece.”

Radulović regards the Beethoven Violin Concerto as his favourite work in the genre. “It is perhaps the concerto that I have performed most often in public and which, I believe, has brought me great luck,” – not least when, early in his career, he triumphed in the work as a last-minute replacement for established violin soloists. “There were many situations where it helped me become more mature … I remember my first teacher didn't want me to learn this concerto because I was too young... But when we moved to France – I was 14 – I found the score on my own and started to learn it … There are a few places in the score that I associate with what I was going through at that time, such as the nostalgia for my childhood in Serbia and the joy of discovering a new life in France. Later, when I entered the Paris Conservatoire, I was strongly supported by my professor Patrice Fontanarosa as I learned the concerto. He advised me to use all my life experiences in creating my own personal interpretation of the work.

“In our recorded version of the concerto, we wanted to convey a range of emotions ... courage, risk, joy, love, rage, sadness, nostalgia, and magical serenity and tenderness in the second movement. We have retained the classical style of the work while adding a sense of freedom in the interpretation.”

The magnetism and joy of Nemanja Radulović’s music-making was captured by the New York Times in its review of what it called his “staggering debut” with the New York Philharmonic in January 2023. The work on that occasion was Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No 2.  “After lifting his bow above the strings of his instrument repeatedly, like a tennis player bouncing the ball before a serve, he softly let out into the work’s opening solo, resisting its invitation for a vibrato-heavy, singing line and opting instead for something lighter and more objective, befitting the transparency of the score. Modest at first, he was nevertheless an immediately commanding presence ... But he was also charismatic in his adventurous rubato later in the Allegro moderato; in his simply lovely and smartly shaped melodies in the second movement; and in his folk freedom and crunchy chords in the Spanish-inflected finale. His encore — Paganini’s showy Caprice No 24, made showier in an arrangement by Aleksandar Sedlar and Radulović — was a dose of old-fashioned fun, with the kind of virtuosic, at times laugh-out-loud showmanship that has had audiences cheering for centuries.”

Beethoven: Violin Concerto & Violin Sonata no.9 “Kreutzer” • Beethoven: Violin Concerto & Violin Sonata no.9 “Kreutzer” • Beethoven: Violin Concerto & Violin Sonata no.9 “Kreutzer” • Beethoven: Violin Concerto & Violin Sonata no.9 “Kreutzer” •

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