Jack Liebeck speaks about Concerto Accademico with Michael Waldron, director of the London Choral Sinfonia. The piece is a rarely performed violin concerto by Vaughan Williams and features on the new album Retrospect, on Orchid Classics.

Shining a light on a piece which is not generally considered as part of the canon, Liebeck and Waldron give their perspectives on why they think the work should be part of wider repertoire, as well as the challenges within the piece.

’If we’ve done our job right, other people are going to listen and think: “I want to play that piece”,’ says Liebeck.

’Even after all the years studying and working on it, I still find it beguiling,’ Waldron writes in the album sleeve notes. ’The first movement is a heady cocktail of Bach and early Stravinsky, with the essence of the rustic England pastoral thrown in via Hungarian folk music. It’s restless and brimming with energy, with irregular phrases and textures.

’All this gives way to an incredibly still – almost painfully static – second movement, which is bleak and barren. The coda, with its ascending scales and modal harmonies only serves to cement this otherworldliness. The mood is shattered instantly with the arrival of the frenetic, aggressive final movement.’

Listen to Vaughan Williams Violin Concerto in D minor Concerto Accademico  on Retrospect here.

Jack Liebeck gives tips on playing in the lower half of the bow in our March 2024 Technique feature. Read it here.

Best of Technique

In The Best of Technique you’ll discover the top playing tips of the world’s leading string players and teachers. It’s packed full of exercises for students, plus examples from the standard repertoire to show you how to integrate the technique into your playing.


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