BBC Music Magazine

The Violinist’s View Ray Chen on Autumn


The festive feeling of the harvest is right there from the start. Somehow, though, this concerto catches me off-guard technicall­y. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in Australia and we don’t really have seasons – only hot and less hot. I learned Spring and Summer first and came to Autumn later. But the first movement especially is really difficult. It’s more awkwardly written than the others and there’s a lot more jumping around to do. The Adagio molto is extremely peaceful. Everyone has eaten their share after the bountiful harvest – food coma time! It’s quite an uncomforta­ble movement to play. You’re trying not to wake the sleeping people, so you don’t want a sudden bump in the line or phrasing. In the third movement, there’s the challenge for the soloist of imitating the hunt. A violin imitating a bird comes more naturally than a violin imitating huntsmen.

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