By Mike Telin
After winning the 1996 Carl Nielsen International Violin Competition, Adele Anthony has enjoyed an acclaimed career as a concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. On Thursday, March 12 at 7:30 in Mentor High School’s Performing Arts Center, CityMusic Cleveland will present the first of four free performances featuring Adele Anthony as soloist in Carl Nielsen’s Violin Concerto. (See our concert listings for additional times and locations.) The concerts, led by guest conductor Joaquin Valdepeñas, will also include Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 and Arvo Pärt’s Symphony No. 4, Los Angeles.
During a recent telephone conversation I confessed to Adele Anthony that Nielsen’s Violin Concerto is a work with which I am not extremely familiar. “I hear that a lot,” she responded with a laugh. “And it’s too bad because I think it’s a beautiful work that people will appreciate. It has a very gripping opening. I found it to be very attractive from the first time I heard it.”
Anthony’s first exposure to the piece was through her violinist father. “As a student in Germany, he studied with the great Hungarian violinist Tibor Varga, who’s recording of the concerto we had at home. My father told me that it is a fantastic piece and that I should learn it. I listened to it and thought it was great, and when I was older I did learn it, later entering the competition with it. And because of that win, I have been able to perform it a lot more than perhaps I would have otherwise.”
The concerto is written in a melodic neo-classical style. “It’s definitely a romantic concerto, but it’s a little unusual in the way that it’s formatted. It’s written in two movements, but there are actually three. The first, Praeludium, has a long introduction with an exposition. The second is really like a slow movement and a third-movement scherzo all in one. But within that there is a classical form. It also has the musical language unique to Nielsen that you also hear in his concertos for flute and clarinet. I think his music is distinctive. You recognize it as Nielsen as soon as you hear it.”
Read the rest of the conversation with Anthony at ClevelandClassical.com.