Few violin concertos have received an uglier reception than Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s in February 1947, in St Louis. The composer, rolling in Hollywood gold, hated the modern era and did his best to turn the clock back in a beautiful score that was slammed by critics (‘more corn that gold’) and buried for decades.
Jascha Heifetz gave the premiere and loved the work. Without his recording, the concerto might have been forgotten forever. But what no-one seems to know is which of two Cremona instruments, Strad or Guarnerius, the great violinist took out of his double-case on the night of the premiere. Might the other one have made a difference to its reception?
This may be strictly for violin geeks, but read more about the controversy on Tarisio, here.