Accompanied by the hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra), the Austrian violinist Emmanuel Tjeknavorian performs the French Romantic composer Ernest Chausson’s “Poème” for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 25. Conductor: Alain Altinoglu. Recorded at the Alte Oper Frankfurt on November 22, 2022.
Firstly entitled Le Chant de l’amour triomphant (The song of triumphant love), then Poème symphonique (Symphonic poem), before finally, and simply, becoming Poème (as can be seen in the autographed manuscripts), the work by Chausson seems to dispense with any programmatic influences or association with an extra-musical idea. And yet, the primitive title was an explicit reference to the eponymous novel by Ivan Tourgueniev (published shortly before in 1881), a fantastic story in which a violin melody becomes a part of the intrigue.
This concertante form is in part influenced by the violinist Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931), to whom the work was dedicated, notably in certain compositional traits by Chausson typical of Ysaÿe’s performance style.
It is perhaps here, at the intersection of these two influences, that Poème finds its inspiration: between a melody full of mystery and brilliant interjections from the soloist, between poetry and eloquence, without sacrificing virtuosic demonstration.
The addition of the orchestra is done so quite mysteriously, sustained by phrases from the woodwinds. The solo violin also remains evanescent, a single voice expressing a painful melody. This first movement is followed by a similar atmosphere, shared between the soloist and the orchestra. The second movement becomes animated, as indicated by its title, but maintains an air of tension. The Finale, following much like the previous movement, is full of hopeful colors amidst the bewildering singing of the violin above an immaterial orchestra.
(Written by Pierre-René Serna)
The piece was first published in 1897, His friend Isaac Albéniz submitted the score to Breitkopf & Härtel while he was in Leipzig on a concert tour. They were reluctant to publish the work, considering it “vague and bizarre” and of “extraordinary difficulty”, and consequently would have “few adherents” (letter to Albéniz of 27 April 1897). They agreed to publish only when Albéniz undertook to pay for the costs of publication himself.
Poème is scored for solo violin, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B-flat, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, harp, and strings.
Related: Chausson – Poème, Op. 25 [Anna Tifu]
Amédée-Ernest Chausson (20 January 1855 – 10 June 1899) was a French Romantic composer who died just as his career was beginning to flourish.
In 1879, at the age of 24, he began attending the composition classes of Jules Massenet at the Paris Conservatoire; Massenet came to regard him as “an exceptional person and a true artist”. Chausson had already composed some piano pieces and songs. Nevertheless, the earliest manuscripts that have been preserved are those corrected by Massenet.
At the Conservatoire, Chausson also studied with César Franck, with whom he formed a close friendship that lasted until Franck’s death in 1890. Chausson interrupted his studies in 1881, after a failed attempt to win the Prix de Rome.
During 1882 and 1883, Chausson, who enjoyed travel, visited Bayreuth to hear the operas of Richard Wagner. On the first of these journeys, Chausson went with d’Indy for the premiere of Wagner’s Parsifal, and on the second trip, he went with his new spouse Jeanne Escudier (1862-1936), with whom he was to have five children.
From 1886 until his death in 1899, Chausson was secretary of the Société Nationale de Musique. In his own home (22 Boulevard de Courcelles, near Parc Monceau), he received a great many eminent artists, including the composers Henri Duparc, Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, and Isaac Albéniz, the poet Stéphane Mallarmé, the Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev, and the Impressionist painter Claude Monet. Chausson also assembled an important collection of paintings.
When only 44 years old, Chausson died while staying at one of his country retreats, the Château de Moussets, in Limay, Yvelines. Riding his bicycle downhill, Chausson hit a brick wall and died instantly.
Emmanuel Tjeknavorian (born April 22, 1995, in Vienna, Austria) is an Austrian violinist and conductor. His father, Loris Tjeknavorian is an Iranian-Armenian composer and conductor.
In 2012, he represented Austria at the Eurovision Young Musicians contest.
In September 2014, Tjeknavorian was the first Austrian to make it to the final round in the history of the Fritz Kreisler Competition, where he won third place. In November 2014, he received the Casinos Austria Rising Star Award. In December 2015, he placed second in the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition.
Tjeknavorian has shifted the focus of his musical work to conducting since the 2022/23 season. Most recently, he conducted orchestras such as the Munich Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonie Zuidnederland, the Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento, and the Bruckner Orchestra Linz. As part of his residency at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in the summer of 2022, he conducted the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and the Potsdam Chamber Academy.
- Poème (Chausson) on Wikipedia
- Ernest Chausson on Wikipedia
- Emmanuel Tjeknavorian on Wikipedia
- Emmanuel Tjeknavorian’s official website
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