Kabalevsky – Concert voor viool en orkest in C, op 48


Really modern classic music, only not. The works on this record were written in the 1950, but if you would have told me they were from 1900, I would believe that. They sound outdated. The violin concerto had those overly romantic dynamics, the piano concerto has nice recognisable melodies. But this is the same time as Stravinsky! It doesn’t come close.

There is a series on Hyperion records, that does this. They take the lesser known piano-, cello- or violin concertos and record them. I’m betting they have this work too. Though those recordings sound a lot better both in performance and recording quality, my Kabalevsky record can compare. It holds some surprises for me after all these years.

As this is nineteenth century romanticism clad in 1950s Russian colouring, I wonder what the political establishment thought of this work. There always was a lot of comments about Shostakovich and the way he was bending the knee to Stalin, but how did Kabalevsky fare? The ever helpful wikipedia says he was a proponent of social-realism. After the implosion of Sovjet-Russia has didn’t get that much recognition anymore. I would say: he did not fare very well.

Kabalevsky was in the Sovjet times also working on a system of music schools for children. Thousands of schools were offering an almost religious curriculum of music lessons. Most of those are closed now. His third piano concerto, also in this record, is now mostly used as a ‘first’ piano concerto for little students.


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