Violin Concerto in D major 1878 | 33 mins
Soloist Nikolaj Znaider makes his entrance in this firecracker of a concerto after a gracious and suspense-building orchestral introduction. The first movement is remarkably virtuosic while the second movement is melodically inspired. Tchaikovsky’s finale sounds like an urban, cultured picture of country.
Laterna Magica (The Magic Lantern) 2008 | 20 mins
Kaija Saariaho’s Laterna Magica borrows its title from pioneering film director Ingmar Bergman’s autobiography, which he titled after an old name for an image projector. Saariaho sensed a parallel between the manipulation of projected images and how music, unfolding in real time in performance, is perceived by the listener.
The Poem of Ecstasy 1907 | 22 mins
The operative word here is “ecstasy.” We might listen to this piece as a constantly unfolding rhapsodic effusion of motifs, titillating textures, and exorbitantly rich colors. “When you listen to Ecstasy,” Scriabin said, “look straight into the eye of the sun!”
JEANETTE YU is Director of Publications at the San Francisco Symphony.