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Classical 101

Winner of First Warner Music Prize and Sibelius on Symphony @ 7

German violinist Augustin Hadelich performing
Courtesy of the artist
German violinist Augustin Hadelich

The exciting young violinist Augustin Hadelich is the winner of the inaugural Warner Music Prize.  Chosen from 16 nominees all under the age of 35, this prize offered by the Warner Music group includes a cash grant of $100,000 and a recording offer from Warner.  Look for more releases from this fine artist in the not too distant future.

This evening on Symphony @ 7, I'll have Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E-minor with Hadelich as soloist with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra.  This masterpiece for violin and orchestra from 1844 by Mendelssohn set a standard that was to influence other great Romantic composers' violin concertos to come, including Tchaikovsky and Jean Sibelius.

Anticipating the 150th birth anniversary of Sibelius, the other work on the program is his Symphony No. 5 in E-flat.  By 1915, Sibelius was already recognized as Finland's greatest composer, and this symphony was commissioned for the celebration of his 50th birthday.

In its original version, the Fifth Symphony was in four movements, but we'll hear the final revised version in three.  You can hear where the first two movements of the original version were combined into one.  There's a marvelous transition in the middle of the movement with a musical shifting of gears into a scherzo-like section which the builds to a moving climax.  

A hushed slow movement is followed by the great theme that unfolds in the finale and leads to what has been described as the Norse god Thor swinging his hammer for the final strokes of this Nordic masterpiece.

Symphony @ 7 airs Thursday evenings 7 to 8 pm on Classical 101.