Zilcher, Hermann


Zilcher, Hermann

Concerto for 2 Violins and Orchestra Op. 9

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Hermann Zilcher – Concerto for 2 violins and orchestra op. 9

(b. Frankfurt, 18 August 1881 – d. Würzburg, 1 January, 1948)

In 1901, after completing his studies at the “Hoch’sche Konservatorium” in Frankfurt, Hermann Zilcher moved to Berlin to pursue a career as a pianist and composer, but his compositional ambitions initially remained unknown there. In 1902, he composed three pieces for the famous violinist couple Alexander and Lilli Petschnikoff, with whom he went on concert tours as their accompanist: Zwei Stücke für 2 Violinen op. 7, Doppelkonzert für 2 Violinen und Orchester in d-Moll op. 9 and Suite für zwei Violinen und kleines Orchester in G-Dur op. 15.

Zilcher himself wrote: „For over a year I had been playing with the Russian violinist couple without ever having spoken to them about my compositions. – They were urgently looking for a concerto for two violins! And one beautiful Sunday morning, after a short rehearsal, I casually mentioned: ‘I have written a concerto for two violins for you!’ – At first there was astonishment, then he laughed: ‘That‘s a real Zilcher joke again!’ But I took the manuscript out of my folder – and played it for them! – Now the astonishment and – may I say – the joy of both of them was boundless!“ (Hermann Zilcher, Wie ich wurde [Typoskript], 1942)

These works, composed for the duo, brought him public recognition as a composer for the first time. As a result of this practical occasion, Zilcher‘s early works are primarily pieces for violin and piano accompaniment – including works with the unusual scoring of two violins for the Petschnikoff couple.

The premiere took place in the Beethovensaal in Berlin at the end of October/beginning of November 1902. Performers and „the young composer“ were very favourably received. The romantic, densely orchestrated three-movement work begins with a powerful first movement („Bewegt“). The two solo voices mostly play complementarily and simultaneously, rather than competing against each other. The second movement („Ruhig, sehr frei im Zeitmaß – Lebhaft – Tempo I“) is dramatic and dark in character. The lively final movement („Sehr lebhaft“) concludes the work full of dance-like energy.

Christoph Schuller, 2023

For performance material, please contact Breitkopf und Härtel, Wiesbaden.

Deutsches Vorwort lesen … > HERE

Score Data


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Score Number



Violin & Orchestra




210 x 297 mm



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