25 years after his pioneering recording, the Greek musician speaks about his relationship with the concerto in The Strad’s January 2016 issue
The following is an extract from The Strad’s cover interview with Leonidas Kavakos on the Sibelius Violin Concerto, published in the January 2016 issue – download on desktop computer or through The Strad App.
‘The hardest thing about the concerto is playing the third movement, because I’m always exhausted by the time I get there. The first is already quite strong, the second wears me out and the third is also dramatic but extremely hard technically. So I always finish the second movement and I don’t know if I can sustain the third. I feel this on stage every time – always, exactly the same: oh no, I cannot do this, how can I sustain this?
‘If you ask me how many times I’ve played the Sibelius Concerto, I don’t know, but it’s definitely in the hundreds. But I’m still changing, I’m still thinking, I’m still trying to understand if I’m doing right or wrong. I think this is how human beings should be. You should be able to reject all your knowledge in one day, if you’re convinced you need to, and restart from zero. If you don’t have that attitude, how can you keep playing the same pieces again and again for so many years?’
Photo: Marco Borggreve