Compact Discoveries
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2003 by Fred Flaxman

Program 36
"Good Old-Time Music by Vieuxtemps"

MUSIC: Vieuxtemps: excerpt from Theme et variations from Voix du coeur, Op. 53 [Cypres CYP 3613, track 15] under the following:

FLAXMAN: Vieuxtemps means "old times" in French, and the Belgian violinist Henri Vieuxtemps composed five old-time romantic violin concertos worthy of his name. We'll listen to the fourth and fifth concertos in the next hour, both performed by Itzhak Perlman and the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

MUSIC: fades out

FLAXMAN: Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman, and this hour is devoted to "Good Old-Time Music by Vieuxtemps."

Henri Vieuxtemps was born in Verviers, Belgium in 1820 . He died in Mustapha, Algeria, in 1881. He was one of the great 19th-century virtuoso violinists. He performed all over Europe, including Russia, and made three trips to the United States. He composed only 59 published works, virtually all of them for the violin, including seven violin concertos.

The fourth and fifth are particularly excellent, and they are both included on the EMI compact disc I am about to play for you. First let's listen to the Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Minor, Op. 37.

MUSIC: Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Minor, Op. 37 performed by Itzhak Perlman with the Orchestre de Paris, Daniel Barenboim conductring [EMI CDC7471652, track 5] [20:47]


FLAXMAN:
The Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Minor, Op. 37 by Henri Vieuxtemps, which, if we translated names, I guess would be Henry Oldtimes in English. And that piece was sure chock full of old-time great melodies. It was performed by Itzhak Perlman, violin, with the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

You are listening to Compact Discoveries and I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman. This hour is devoted to "Good Old-Time Music by Vieuxtemps."

Vieuxtemps was your typical child prodigy, scraping a bow over a miniature violin at the age of 2, reading music at 4, playing in public for the first time at 6, touring his native country at 8, concertizing throughout Germany at 13, composing his own music at 16.

He was a total success wherever he went, which included Russia and America. He led a charmed life until a stroke paralyzed his left side and finished him as a virtuoso. This didn't stop him from traveling, however, and he died on a trip to Algeria in 1881 at the age of 61.

His triumphant visit to the United States in 1844 inspired his Souvenir d'Amérique, Opus 17 - a set of humorous variations on Yankee Doodle designed as an encore item intended to bring the house down. I'm sure it worked every time.

MUSIC: Vieuxtemps: Souvenir d'Amérique, Opus 17 [Cypress Records CYP9615, track 5] [5:13]

FLAXMAN: Henri Vieuxtemps' Souvenir d'Amérique, Opus 17 or Yanke Doodle Variations. Ning Kam was the violinist with Carole Presland at the piano.

Since Vieuxtemps was one of the most famous violinists of the nineteenth century, it isn't too surprising that most of his limited output as a composer was devoted to violin music. As I mentioned earlier, he wrote seven concertos for his instrument. The fourth and fifth are on the same EMI compact disc with Itzhak Perlman and the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Daniel Barenboim. We listened to the fifth concerto earlier. Now let's give a spin to the fourth.

MUSIC: Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 31 performed by Itzhak Perlman, violin, with the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Daniel Barenboim [EMI CDC 7 47165 2, tracks 1, 2, 3 and 4] [30:02]

FLAXMAN: The Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Minor, Opus 31, by Henri Vieuxtemps. The violinist was Itzhak Perlman. Daniel Barenboim conducted the Orchestre de Paris.

MUSIC: Vieuxtemps: excerpt from Theme et variations from Voix du coeur, Op. 53 [Cypres CYP 3613, track 15] under the following:

FLAXMAN: And with this excerpt from the Theme and Variations from Voix du coeur, Opus 53, by Vieuxtemps we bring to an end this hour of Compact Discoveries devoted to "Good Old-Time Music by Vieuxtemps."

Compact Discoveries is produced and presented by yours truly, Fred Flaxman. It is made possible in large part by the generous, caring listeners who support public radio financially as well as aurally. And it is a production of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.

MUSIC: fade out at 58:00


 
  2009 Compact Discoveries