Released on the London Symphony’s LSO Live label, the album features the Beethoven Violin Concerto with new cadenzas by composer Jörg Widmann
In 2006, at age 16, German violinist Veronika Eberle drew international attention when Sir Simon Rattle introduced her at the Salzburg Easter Festival, where she was performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto Op. 61 with the Berlin Philharmonic.
Both she and Rattle — now music director of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) — reunite in her debut album with the LSO, which was recorded in March 2022 at LSO St Luke’s church.
Notably, this recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto Op. 61 in D major features specially written cadenzas by German composer Jörg Widmann, whose works are often performed by Daniel Barenboim, Daniel Harding, Mariss Jansons, plus the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and BBC Symphony Orchestras.
Eberle’s album also includes her performing a fragment of Beethoven’s rarely heard Violin Concerto in C major, WoO 5, which is thought to have been composed in Bonn, between 1790 and 1792.
Only 18 minutes long, the fragment of the WoO 5 is fully written out until it ends just after 289 measures. According to music critic Herbert Glass for the LA Phil, this abrupt stop was “most likely abandoned by its composer, either due to the press of other work or simply his not knowing where to go next.”
According to the British Library, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D major was completed barely two days before it was premiered in December 1806 by violinist Franz Clement at the Theater an der Wien, where Clement was music director. Due to the tight turn around between the completion of the piece and its premiere, Clement is said to have sight-read the later passages of the solo part.
“One major consideration for me was choosing cadenzas,” Eberle wrote on social media about the concerto. “With so many iterations featuring the Kreisler and Beethoven cadenzas, it was of utmost importance to me that my recording of the concerto brought this centuries-old masterpiece into the present day; it was Jörg Widmann who immediately came to mind (of course!)” she added.
“It was a great pleasure for me to write new cadenzas for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto during COVID…Despite the tonal and formal freedom, it was important to me for everything to revolve around melodic, harmonic and rhythmic material from the Violin Concerto itself,” Widmann said in the album booklet.
“Nothing was to overshadow Beethoven’s original, and yet I wanted to create a completely new tonal cosmos in which Beethoven’s themes could appear in a very different light,” he continued. “May listeners hear the Violin Concerto — in all its stark radicalism, its brazen beauty and its love of experimentation — in a new way with these cadenzas: as contemporary music of today.”
To purchase and listen to the album, click here.
Eberle began violin lessons at age six. At age 10, she joined Munich’s Richard Strauss Konservatorium as a junior student, studying with Olga Voitova. She studied privately with Christoph Poppen for a year, and later attended Hochschule für Musik und Theater München, where she studied with Ana Chumachenco between 2001 to 2012.
She has since performed with ensembles including the Concertgebouw Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, Munich Philharmonic and Gewandhaus Orchestras, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Hessischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester, Bamberger Symphoniker, Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, and Rotterdam Philharmonic.
Eberle plays on the 1700 “Dragonetti” Stradivarius violin — on generous loan by the Nippon Music Foundation. She also performs on the 1693 “Ries” Stradivarius, which is kindly on loan from the Reinhold Würth Musikstiftung gGmbH.