Boldly Romantic, highly lyrical and dependent on the virtuosic brilliance of an exceptional soloist, Sibelius’s Violin Concerto is today a regular feature in the international repertoire. However, when initially premiered, the piece was by no means assured of its famed status. Criticised as being overly technical and a ‘compact mess’, Sibelius’s enthusiasm to create something new for his favourite instrument had resulted in a piece that was almost unplayable. Extensively revised and reworked, the second draft received a rapturous reception that made it an immediate mainstay of the classical music canon and is rightly considered to be one of Sibelius’s finest compositions. Maestro Salonen’s own Violin Concerto will also be played by the evening’s soloist Akiko Suwanai.