Steve Elcock - Violin Concerto

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Steve Elcock  Violin Concerto


Conductor: Kenneth Woods
Soloists: Zoë Beyers (Violin)

About this Concert

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Violin Concerto by Steve Elcock
I – Allegro vivo
II – Molto tranquillo
III – Passacaglia (Andante moderato – Allegro moderato – Più allegro – Allegro vivace – Presto)
Elcock began this concerto in 1996 or thereabouts, making it an early work in his output. For a long time there was just the first movement, and it was originally scored for strings alone. After the slow movement there was another long gap till the composer got round to the finale in 2006, prompted by the fact that it was going to be performed by the amateur orchestra that Elcock conducted for ten years in south-east France.
The first movement represents the composers desire to achieve a return to the classical momentum that had largely been lost throughout the Romantic era and onward. The energy is unflagging, verging on the desperate, relief being provided only by the two appearances of the expansive second theme; but even this is underpinned by a niggling rhythm in the violas, deriving from a typical piece of sarcastic nastiness into which the various elements making up the first subject have coalesced.
The second movement provides a welcome contrast. Its opening makes use of change-ringing techniques applied to slowly moving scales in violins and violas, evoking distant bells ringing across a valley. The first subject material is developed by the soloist against this background, ultimately arriving at a second idea marked Pavane. The development is mainly concerned with the first subject material, leading to a return of the pavane in the highest register of the violin against chiming oboes and violins – a very strange sound, this. When everything is suddenly cranked up a tone into a radiant D major, the music becomes almost tearfully joyous for a while, before gradually fading away, the distant bells reluctantly ceasing their ringing.
The short finale is a passacaglia incorporating a gradual accelerando from andante to presto. It culminates in a severely logical rendering of the passacaglia theme as a duet for the unusual combination of solo violin and timpani.
Zoë Beyers - violin
South-African born Zoë Beyers has established a reputation as one of the finest and most versatile violinists based in the UK, and performs worldwide as soloist, chamber musician, director and orchestral leader. In 2020 she was appointed Leader of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Zoë appears regularly as guest leader of the Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Symphony and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestras, the CBSO, the Philharmonia, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Orquesta Nacional de España at the invitation of Maestro Juanjo Mena. Since 2017, Zoë has been the concertmaster of the English Symphony Orchestra, collaborating closely with them as director and soloist.
As a chamber musician Zoë appears with the Hebrides Ensemble, Nash Ensemble, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and the London Sinfonietta. She has recently joined the renowned Dante Quartet as their first violinist. Zoë has a passionate interest in education, teaching at the Birmingham Conservatoire and coaching violinists and ensembles at the start of their careers. She is proud to be involved in ARCO, a distance learning collaboration between Birmingham Conservatoire and students in deprived areas of South Africa.
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Production Information

Recorded at Wyastone Concert Hall, Monmouth, on 26th May 2022

Producer: Phil Rowlands
Videographer: Tim Burton
Orchestra Manager: Simon Brittlebank / The Music Agency