malcolm lipkin, composer

Violin Concerto No.2

First performed at the Winter Gardens, Bournemouth on 17 October 1963 by Yfrah Neaman (violin) and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Constantin Silvestri

The Times:


Having given the first performance of Malcolm Lipkin's second violin concerto (1963) in their home town towards the end of last year, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, under Mr.Constantin Silvestri introduced it to a much wider audience last night during their concert for the BBC Home Service. Again the soloist was Mr. Yfrah Neaman, to whom the concerto is dedicated.

The main emotional substance of the work is to be found in the middle movement of the three, an elegiac Adagio molto sostenuto written in memory of Lipkin's teacher, the late Mátyás Seiber. The opening movement is a forcefully argued Allegro ben marcato, and the finale a set of variations in which the soloist and orchestra are thrown in opposition with a heightened sense of drama - so much so that the abrupt resolution of the movement in a major chord seems a mere inconclusive convention.

One of the most skilful aspects of the concerto is the way the composer has maintained a balance of power between unequal forces by means of striking dialogue; no detail of the arresting violin writing is ever submerged, while the orchestra in its turn is never reduced to the role of mere accompanist.

The general style of the work is such as to justify its inclusion in the Home Service rather than the Third Programme; it is a concerto with more roots in the past than shoots in the future. But its logical argument, its emotional challenge and its constantly imaginative instrumental colouring (notably in the wind department) should win it many supporters among players and listeners alike. Certainly Mr. Neaman, Mr. Silvestri and the Bournemouth Orchestra played it with full belief in its integrity.