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On October 25, 1973, Sir Georg Solti conducted the world premiere of Bohuslav Martinů’s First Violin Concerto with Josef Suk as soloist.

From Arrand Parsons’s program note: “It is a curious fact that a major work by a major 20th century composer has remained unknown and only in manuscript for over 40 years. (The Martinů Violin Concerto composed for Mischa Elman in 1943 and now known to be No. 2 was performed at CSO concerts on November 16-17, 1944, with Elman as soloist and with Désiré Defauw conducting.) The manuscript comes to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from the Hans Moldenhauer Archives, today one of the great collections of original manuscripts, a portion of which is held by Northwestern University. It was Dr. Moldenhauer who suggested to Josef Suk the idea of presenting the premiere performances in Chicago, to be followed shortly afterwards with performances in Prague. The Northwestern University Library made the score available to Sir Georg Solti, who was happy to program the premiere with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Concerto, composed for the Polish-born American violinist Samuel Dushkin probably in 1933, comprises three movements. It is a work of commanding virtuosity yet retaining an expressive lyricism characteristic of the composer, and it also reflects certain Czech qualities found in the works of Martinů in the 1930s when he lived in Paris but felt a nostalgia for his homeland.”

Reviews of the premiere are below:

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