Sibelius’ only concert. He is best known for his symphonic work (Finlandia), but he also made this in 1904. It was barely finished for the first performance in Helsinki. Short preparation time and not the best violinist for this part led to a disastrous premiere.
Sibelius rewrote the piece extensively, and this rewritten version from 1905 is what is here on the record. He always withheld the original, until it resurfaced with permission of the Sibelius family, in 1990. Now it has also been published, so there might be more performances of that version. It is said to be a bit more demanding on the violinist.
Even more demanding than it already is? Now world famous violinist Kyung-Wha Chung was still very young when she made this recording. It was her first, at 22. The story goes that the London Symphony Orchestra was not impressed having to play with this amateur from South Korea.
The public judged differently though: Kyung-Wha Chung plays these complicated pieces with a perfect technique and emotion dripping from her bow. Both concertos are well known repertoire, and I myself have several of them. But this one stands out.
In fact, she was one of the first Asian soloists on the stage in Europe, and many more were to follow. She was a trailblazer for a a whole generation. She still serves as an example for many young musicians in South-East Asia trying to make it on the grand stages of Europe and America. That makes this record a milestone in recording history.