4
Nov

About the Korngold Reviews

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This letter, Time Out article and Strad review all relate to my performances of the Korngold Violin Concerto. In 1982, when I was at music college, a friend and myself were keen fans of Jascha Heifetz’ playing. One of my favourite recordings at that time was Heifetz playing the Korngold Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and- having an urge to learn it- I looked about for the music. I found that it wasn’t available in this country but, as luck would have it, my friend was going to visit his father in America and picked up the music there for me. On his return he bet me £10 that I wouldn’t be able to learn it in three weeks ready for a concerto competition at the Royal College of Music.


Spurred on by the money (I was a penniless student!) I managed to learn it for the competition and later that year performed it with the RCM Symphony Orchestra. To my great surprise I was informed by the Korngold Society that this was the first British performance of the piece. It was only later that the Korngold Violin Concerto started to be played and to gain in popularity – nowadays everyone plays it – then, nobody played it! I sent a recording of the performance to George Korngold, Erich Korngold’s son, and you can see his reply. Feeling a special affinity with this concerto I then went on to perform it many more times including two broadcast performances with the BBCSO in 1994 and 1998.