Sir Edward Elgar's Violin Concerto in B minor is one of the great late Romantic works, for violin or anything else a fascinating synthesis of restraint and emotion in which Elgar the reserved Brit tussles with Elgar the passionate artist. The result is a rich, glorious tapestry of carefully building and soaring feeling that even thrilled the composer. "It's awfully good!" he exulted. "Awfully emotional! Too emotional, but I love it." Elgar wrote the concerto for the legendary Fritz Kreisler, who premiered it in London in 1910. Since then, all the great violinists have adored sinking their teeth into this delicious masterpiece. But the reigning interpreter of the day is the prodigiously talented Danish violinist Nikolaj Znaider, who made history in 2010 when he toured the world in a centennial performance of the concerto on the violin that premiered the work Kreisler's own Guarneri del Gesu. What makes Znaider's approach so compelling is not only his consummate artistry but his ability to blend tradition with a perspective so fresh and daring that one critic termed it just plain "revolutionary." This week, Znaider Plays Elgar once more on the Kreisler Guarneri, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and guest conductor Vassily Sinaisky. It's the only work on the Casual Fridays program, which also features a post-concert TalkBack discussion with Sinaisky, Znaider and the musicians; the Thursday and Saturday concerts also include Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Thurs.-Fri., April 14-15, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 16, 2 p.m.; Upbeat Live discussions with composer and USC Thornton professor Veronika Krausas one hour prior to concerts; $23.75-$175.
Thu., April 14, 8 p.m.; Fri., April 15, 8 p.m.; Sat., April 16, 8 p.m., 2011