Piano Concerto in A minor Op. 16 was written in June 1867 and completed
during the Griegs’ summer holiday in Denmark in 1868. The
concerto was first published in 1872 and was an immediate
success. Despite this, Grieg was not entirely satisfied and kept
making revisions to the work.
movement Allegro molto moderato is full of passion and
tension. The movement begins with a striking drum roll crescendo
and piano solo. The wonderful piano cadenza deals mainly with
the ‘march’ like theme and the movement ends as it started, with
a brilliant piano solo changing the mood as if the sun had come
out from behind the clouds.
The second movement Adagio illustrate Grieg’s romantic
feelings and love for his country’s beautiful scenery and
national spirit. The piano takes over the melody from the
strings and changes the mood to a proud statement. The solo horn
underlines the solitude as the piano prepares for the finale.
The third movement: Allegro molto moderato e marcato - quasi
presto - andante maestoso is without doubt music reminiscent
of Norwegian mountain peaks, valleys and misty fjords and the
piano climax leads into a beautiful finale of the most majestic
composer, was born in Moscow in 1869 into a family of French
musicians who had migrated to Russia at the time of the
Napoleonic Wars. He studied at Moscow Conservatory under Taneyev
and Arensky. In 1888 he was awarded a Gold Medal at Moscow
Conservatory and he taught there until 1895. Besides teaching,
he performed as a soloist and as a chamber musician, appearing
sometimes in a Trio or other ensemble with Rachmaninov to play
the latter's compositions. Rachmaninov dedicated his two pieces
Op. 6 for violin and piano to Jules and the two men remained
close friends throughout their lives.
Jules Conus composed the Violin Concerto for his own
use and was the soloist in its premiere performance in Moscow in
1898. Fritz Kreisler played the concerto at its London premiere
in 1904, but it was really Jascha Heifetz who brought the work
to the public’s attention. He made it part of his repertoire for
worldwide concert appearances and played it on several occasions
in Carnegie Hall.
Concerto for Violin in E minor (Galamian) has an unusual
form. It has three movements played without pause: Allegro molto,
Adagio, and Allegro subito. A cadenza occurs between the latter
two. Essentially, it is in one movement because the first
movement is interrupted in the middle by the very beautiful
second movement, then resumes in the recapitulation. It was
premiered by a young Russian man living in the Conus home. Conus'
daughter was the pianist at the premier. The violinist was a
promising teacher at the Russian Conservatoire in Paris by the
name of Ivan Galamian.
Taiwanese Improvisation and Formosa Capriccio
(Solo Violin) is no. IV and V in Markov’s composition "Formosa"
Suite for Violin and Orchestra. World renowned violinist,
composer and teacher, Markov
was born in Russia in 1933 and
studied at Kharkov and Moscow conservatories under Lechinsky and
Yankelevich. After winning the Gold Medal in the Queen Elizabeth
Competition in Brussels, he toured extensively performing
worldwide. Albert Markov immigrated to the United States from
Russia in 1975 and made his sensational debut with the Houston
Symphony in May, 1976, prompting a New York Times reviewer to
write: "The audience roared approval, coming to its feet for
three standing ovations, Mr. Markov wowed them with dazzling
After almost 20 years of absence from the Russian concert stage,
Mr. Markov entered the music scene again in Moscow in May, 1994.
His recent works are the Violin Concertos, “Formosa” Suite for
Violin and Orchestra and the Symphony "Kinnor David" premiered
in Moscow. Albert Markov is the only concert violinist of the
20th century who has created major compositions performed
internationally and recorded commercially. He presently teaches
at the Manhattan School of Music.