On this first Pentatone album, Braunstein plays with the renowned BBC Symphony Orchestra, led by maestro Kirill Karabits. The album features new arrangements of famous excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Swan Lake. Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, Valse Scherzo and Sérénade mélancolique.
Tchaikovsky has dedicated some of his finest music to the violin, but this new album expands the instrument’s repertoire even further. Inspired by greats such as Sarasate, Heifetz, Kreisler and Joachim, violinist Guy Braunstein reanimates a tradition of violin and orchestra rhapsodies with new arrangements of famous excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Swan Lake. Together with the extraordinary Violin Concerto, Valse Scherzo and Sérénade mélancolique, they constitute a collection of glittering Tchaikovsky Treasures.
“Why compose violin and orchestra rhapsodies after Tchaikovsky’s opera and ballet music? It all started because of jealousy... A few years ago, I was conducting Eugene Onegin. While rehearsing the Letter Scene, I found myself envying Tatjana so much. I just couldn’t help it. I ran to my hotel afterwards, took out the violin and started playing Tatjana’s part. Then again. The next day I modified it and started making it suitable for virtuoso violin. I remember that the great Leopold Auer did that with Tchaikovsky’s music. After all, he was the dedicatee of all Tchaikovsky wrote for the violin. So I went to work on the Letter Scene, the Lensky Aria (which Auer himself transcribed for violin and piano) and finally the “pas de deux” scene from Swan Lake. The result is three pieces of Tchaikovsky’s music that are totally new in the violin literature. In the golden era of the violin, Sarasate did such things. So did Heifetz, Kreisler, Joachim; all the greats. They felt the urge to enlarge the repertoire by composing, transcribing and arranging. In the last decades, performers rarely do that anymore. I try to follow their great tradition.”
- Guy Braunstein