Review -- Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 61 (1915/1921)

I have neither heard nor seen the score of Liapunov's Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 61. However, I was recently given a copy of a review of the work in the New York Times from 22 January 1930, where Heifetz performed it for the first time at Carnegie Hall. I transcribe the portion of the review that deals with Liapunov's work below. It should be pointed out that this was a recital, not an orchestral concert, so the accompaniment was played by one Isidor Achron. That the [apparently] anonymous reviewer damns the work with faint praise is one thing, but his judgment or taste might be considered suspect in classing Liapunov's concerto with Tchaikovsky's as a work that "is probably much more grateful to play than listen to," an odd assessment that most concert audiences would be unlikely to accept.

Many thanks to Richard Bidnick for locating and making available this interesting item.


Liapunov's Violin Concerto, Heard Here for the First time, Played with Brilliancy.

The first hearing of Liapunov's violin concerto, which the violinist executed with transcendent unconcern of the most formidable technical demands, revealed a work which shows distinct affinity to the similar works by Tchaikovsky and Glazunov. The G string tune and much of the development figuration recalled the third movement of Tchaikovsky's concerto in D, while many of the episodic portions betrayed methods of expression strikingly related to the Glazunov work. This was to be construed, however, as illustrating similar artistic environment and racial roots of the three composers.

Like the other two concertos, Liapunov's is probably much more grateful to play than listen to, and though there are ingratiating and melodious parts, it remains to be seen whether the work will bear the test of frequent performance by the run of recitalists.

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Reviews of Liapunov's Compositions by RLW: