For her debut album, violinist Veronika Eberle revisits a work that has endured more than two centuries, and shares a fresh interpretation featuring new cadenzas by composer Jörg Widmann.
Not only is Beethoven’s Violin Concerto a particular favourite of Eberle, it has been central to her career to date—most notably alongside Sir Simon Rattle, who has been her long-time supporter and collaborator.
Eberle showed her exceptional talent at an early age, debuting with the Munich Philharmonic at only ten years old. When she was 14, a former member of the Berlin Philharmonic heard Eberle playing in a concert at a residence for elderly people and, immediately recognising her outstanding talent, arranged a joint rehearsal with Rattle—a moment that would shape her career.
Shortly afterwards when she was just 16, Rattle introduced her at the 2006 Salzburg Easter Festival, where she performed this very concerto to a packed Salzburg Festpielhaus.
All in good time is an appropriate motto for this long-anticipated album. Among the many pieces of wisdom Sir Simon Rattle shared with Veronika Eberle throughout her career, his advice to “run slowly” is one that she held onto closely.
“I felt strongly that this recording should only happen when it really felt right” says Eberle. “The Beethoven Violin Concerto is one of the huge milestones we have in the violin repertoire, and I think it’s important to wait to approach it until you have grown as a human—once you have something to say.”
The recording happened in March 2022 at LSO St Luke’s with Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra, and featured Beethoven’s Violin Concerto alongside a rarely heard Fragment from his first attempt at a concerto in C major, which appears as a bonus feature on the album. The performance was met with rapturous applause, and left audiences eager for the forthcoming release.
The Strad commented that “Eberle and Rattle brought a numbed stillness to the Largo, into which Widmann’s uncanny, ethereal cadenza dovetailed quite naturally, developing into a dialogue with the LSO’s leader. The finale brought more war-music as well as tavern-band humour in the return of the double bass. When the LSO Live album of the concert appears, it should make for essential listening.”
One major consideration for Eberle was choosing cadenzas, and this was approached with her characteristic degree of thought and consideration. With so many iterations featuring the Kreisler and Beethoven cadenzas, it was of utmost importance to Eberle that her recording of the concerto brought this centuries-old masterpiece into the present day.
“We needed someone from our time, from our century, who has an amazing sound and voice, but who has a connection to these old masters—it was Jörg Widmann who immediately came to mind”
Like Rattle, the composer and clarinettist has been a colleague of Veronika Eberle for some time, the pair having met for the first time whilst performing together in chamber music concerts in 2009. Widmann chose an energetic line-up of solo violin, timpani and double bass to perform the cadenzas, which bring a whole new shape to the concerto, and allow the listener to experience the poise and refinement of the work through the lens of a new century.
“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.” – Jörg Widmann
This album sees Veronika Eberle and Sir Simon Rattle reunite to bring two sublime masterpieces to life, and to celebrate the work that first brought Eberle to international attention.
CD will be released on Friday 24 February 2023 on CD (Hybrid SACD) and via all major streaming and download services. The album will be available to pre-order from Friday 13 January, and a track from the album will be released as a single to coincide.