Violin Concertos
Music by Philip Glass / Ned Rorem / Leonard Bernstein
Gidon Kremer, solo violin
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Christoph von Dohnanyi
New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Bernstein


Deutsche Grammophon


1-3 Philip Glass Concerto For Violin And Orchestra
4-9 Ned Rorem Violin Concerto
10-14 Leonard Bernstein Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium) for violin and orchestra


Here are three 20th-century violin concertos written within a 30-year period in three totally different styles, played by a soloist equally at home in all of them. Bernstein’s Serenade, the earliest and most accessible work, takes its inspiration from Plato’s Symposium; its five movements, musical portraits of the banquet’s guests, represent different aspects of love as well as running the gamut of Bernstein’s contrasting compositional styles. Rorem’s concerto sounds wonderful. Its six movements have titles corresponding to their forms or moods; their character ranges from fast, brilliant, explosive to slow, passionate, melodious. Philip Glass’s concerto, despite its conventional three movements and tonal, consonant harmonies, is the most elusive. Written in the “minimalist” style, which for most ordinary listeners is an acquired taste, it is based on repetition of small running figures both for orchestra and soloist, occasionally interrupted by long, high, singing lines in the violin against or above the orchestra’s pulsation. Gidon Kremer, well known for his championship of contemporary composers, plays fabulously; his tone soars, shimmers, and glows. His identification with the music is complete.

— Edith Eisler (