‘For every violinist, Henry Vieuxtemps is a pinnacle of violin virtuosity and romanticism. His music is a monumental part of the violin repertoire that any serious violinist learns at some point. I felt very honoured when I was contacted by Agnes Briolle-Vieuxtemps to make world premiere recordings of newly-discovered works by Vieuxtemps. It represented both a great discovery and a unique opportunity.
This album includes Vieuxtemps’ fascinating Variations on a Theme from Beethoven’s Romance No. 1 as well as the gorgeous, unfinished Violin Concerto No. 8 in one movement. My father, concert violinist and composer Albert Markov, has also written a very dramatic cadenza for the concerto.’
– Alexander Markov
Vieuxtemps transformed the technique and aesthetic of violin playing in the 19th century, and as a virtuoso exponent and composer he was considered a worthy successor to Paganini. His works for violin and orchestra illustrate two notable features – a liking for variation form and the fusion of emotional density with virtuosic flair. These can be heard in the impressive Variations on a Theme from Beethoven’s Romance No. 1 and his Fantasie in E major ‘La Sentimentale’, one of his very greatest concert fantasies, where the music is influenced by bel canto. All of the works on this album were discovered after the composer’s death apart from the the unfinished Violin Concerto No. 8 – one of Vieuxtemps’ last compositions and dedicated to his most illustrious pupil, Eugène Ysaÿe.