Violinist Jennifer Koh had a great success at the Tchaikovsky International Competition when she was a teenager, including an award for the best performance of his concerto – but for a long time she’d taken a break from that repertoire. On her most recent CD, she plays the Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra, with the Odense Symphony Orchestra, and the same conductor from the finals of that long-ago competition, Alexander Vedernikov.
You can find out more about the recording at Jennifer Koh’s website.
“I took a break from performing Tchaikovsky in public,” Koh explains. “And it was amazing when I came back, it was like, ‘this is so weird, this is really great music, I really love Tchaikovsky!’ I think it’s a surprise to a lot of people that I did this CD, because I’m known for doing super crazy stuff. I don’t think it’s crazy, but I’m used to doing more, let’s say, experimental things.” Things like commissioning contemporary composers to write unaccompanied works that could be played in a series called ‘Bach and Beyond’, and piano sonatas inspired by Beethoven’s, for ‘Bridge to Beethoven.’ But rediscovering Tchaikovsky inspired her when she and Alexander Vedernikov found themselves performing the concerto twenty years after the competition. “Even though we had developed completely separately musically, and we have changed as human beings, that musical connection through the music of Tchaikovsky was still very present, and that was kind of amazing to me. So we just decided kind of on the spot that we had to record all of the Tchaikovsky works.” So in addition to the concerto, there’s the Sérénade mélancolique, Valse-Scherzo, and Glazunov’s orchestration of Souvenir d’un lieu cher.