Bernd-Alois-Zimmermann: Violin Concerto

As almost always, I had prepared myself for the concert with a piano partner and in a concertante performance in my discussion concert series. I first played the piece with a (huge) orchestra in Vienna. Eötvös had an incredibly clear overview of the work, I was very pleased with the first rehearsal—and one hour later I was lying with a high fever on the edge of a delirium in my hotel room. The Rundfunk sent a doctor, who ordered me to cancel all further rehearsals and promised to restore me to some extent until the dress rehearsal. “You can play,” she said, “but afterwards you’ll be on the end of your tether.” And so it was.

Performing Zimmermann’s Concerto with just one rehearsal, one dress rehearsal, in the thralls of a fever… I have no memory of how I survived. I think I was just concentrating. I still remembering as if awakening from a dream seeing the composer Richard Dünser in the front row applauding. He says, it was that evening that he decided to write the Violin Concerto for me, which I later premiered with the Wiener Symphoniker, at the Bregenz Festival (see recordings). There were a number of people who wanted to congratulate me; I stood there with a runny nose, red eyes, laboriously resisting every touch…

I am pleasantly surprised by the recording. Nevertheless, I would like to the chance to compare it with the performance in Vienna, which I played in a healthy condition.

We released the recording for the first time together with the concerts of Schönberg and Berg on CD (at LondonHall, see list). Later the company NEOS contacted me; they were planning an Eötvös anniversary CD and wanted to know if I agree with a re-release of the recording and I was. As such there is a second possibility to obtain the recording: