“There aren’t a lot of 400-year-old violins out there,” writes Scott Cantrell in Wednesday’s (4/29) Dallas Morning News. “So when Emanuel Borok’s 1608 Girolamo Amati was approaching that milestone, he thought a celebration was in order. He talked the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, of which he’s the concertmaster, into commissioning a violin concerto. This week, he and the DSO present the world premiere of In Excelsis , by Alexander Raskatov. Also on the program, to be led by music director Jaap van Zweden, is the Berlioz Symphonie fantastique. ‘My idea,’ Borok says, ‘was to do a piece where many different styles would be represented, including country, jazz and maybe even rock music—although I couldn’t really imagine myself doing rock.’ … ‘To tell the truth, I didn’t want to write an eclectic piece, a kind of catalog of music in 25, 30 minutes,’ Raskatov says. ‘I wanted to find a main thread. I came to a certain solution, which was to consider the violin as a Jewish instrument. As a Russian composer with Jewish roots, I could describe my own fate, my own story.’ ” Borok added, “The piece is hauntingly beautiful and profoundly emotional and spiritual.”

Posted April 30, 2009