The world premiere of Lera Auerbach’s 4th Violin Concerto “NYx: Fractured Dreams” was given in New York on 1 March 2017 by the violinist Leonidas Kavakos on the occasion of his 50th birthday. The violinist will now present the European premiere of this work in Vienna on 14 October 2017 with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna under the direction of Cornelius Meister.
In her title, Lera Auerbach refers to Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night. According to the composer, the Violin Concerto is an experiment with dream fragments – the way in which dreams and nightmares weave a carpet of hidden truths in our sleep, revealing our most profound fears and hopes.
Lera Auerbach has supplied the following commentary:
“’NYx: Fractured Dreams’, my Violin Concerto No. 4, was born at the request of the Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos. When the New York Philharmonic commissioned this work, they asked if it could be related to the night. This request delighted me. I am most creative during the dark hours when the world becomes quiet. When not touring, my days and nights are reversed; reality blurs, and the silences pulsate, urging imagination forward.
A piece’s form, architecture, and development are priorities in my work. Many of my compositions are in dialogue or are reactions to one another. In contrast to my Violin Concerto No. 3, conceived as 45-minute one-movement work, Violin Concerto No. 4 is an experiment in fragmentation, structured as 13 interconnected fractured dreams where silences play an important dramatic and constructive role.
In 1991, I arrived as a teenager in NYC after a childhood living in Chelyabinsk, a closed city at the epicenter of Soviet nuclear research and the gateway to Siberia. Growing up in this land of black snow, I often dreamed of ancient Greece, and the book of Greek myths was one of my favorites. The world of jealous gods and god-like humans in those pages seemed more real than the world outside of my windows: full of red flags and the Soviet trinity portraits of Lenin-Marx-Engels, with the occasional bushy eyebrows of Brezhnev looking down at me from the buildings’ walls. In some ways the two worlds blurred; the one outside made more sense through the perspective of Greek myths, where it was quite common for power-hungry gods to devour their children. My sudden transition to New York—although unfathomable (my family stayed back in Russia)—seemed strangely natural to me, just an insane and intense dream of an imaginative child, a dream that suddenly became reality.
Nyx, the Greek goddess of the night and daughter of Chaos, is spelled NYx in the concerto’s title. While fractured and contrasting, these dreams are tied together—similar to how images and memories weave a tapestry of hidden truths in our sleep. New York is the city of dreamers, reflecting each person in his or her most vulnerable desires and unguarded self, a black mirror in which everything is possible yet just a fraction out of reach. It is a dream that can never be fully realized. Hopes are fears in disguise. The night wears many guises; in its fractured reflections one may glimpse shimmers of the morrow.”
„NYx: Fractured Dreams“. Konzert für Violine und Orchester Nr.
Ltg.: Cornelius Meister)