“NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART IS THE VOICE OF THE HEART”
Daniel Lozakovich explores Tchaikovsky’s masterpieces for violin in his new album for Deutsche Grammophon
- The violin sensation is accompanied by mentor Vladimir Spivakov and National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia
- None but the Lonely Heart reveals extreme emotional contrasts and searing melancholy at the core of the Russian composer’s art
None but the Lonely Heart, set for release by Deutsche Grammophon on 18 October 2019, captures the extraordinary maturity of Daniel Lozakovich’s interpretations of Tchaikovsky. The 18-year-old violinist’s second album for the Yellow Label features a live performance of the composer’s Violin Concerto, recorded with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia under the helm of conductor, and fellow violinist, Vladimir Spivakov, with whom Lozakovich made his solo debut in 2010. The album also includes other works by Tchaikovsky, among them the Méditation for violin and orchestra and arrangements of two vocal works, Lensky’s Aria from Eugene Onegin and the sublime Romance, Op.6 No.6, “None but the lonely heart”.
“The concerto recording sessions at Moscow’s Svetlanov Hall flowed so well,” recalls Daniel Lozakovich. “Playing with Maestro Spivakov and the Russian National Philharmonic, I really felt the Russian soul of their sound. My favourite interpretation of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto has always been Maestro Spivakov’s recording. After the sessions he said to me, ‘I have played this concerto with my personal interpretation for the last 50 years. Now it’s your turn to do the same with this concerto for the next 50 years.’ That meant so much to me. He was the first conductor I worked with, the first to believe in and support me, and indeed I was delighted to win the inaugural Vladimir Spivakov International Violin Competition three years ago. Following this, it was with this orchestra and Maestro Spivakov that I first performed the Tchaikovsky Concerto. All these experiences contributed to the special and collaborative feelings I wanted to bring to our recording in the place where we first performed together nine years ago.”
Lozakovich has drawn on his family’s Russian roots and his feeling for Tchaikovsky’s melancholic nature to produce interpretations of enormous emotional intensity. The expressive freedom of his playing, he explains, owes much to the training he has received from teachers raised under the old Soviet system of music education. “My violin teachers have all been Russian speakers,” he notes. “They all studied in Moscow or St Petersburg and experienced the magnificent age-old Russian tradition.”
He has also inherited that tradition via his parents, both of whom hail from former Soviet Republics. There are eight nationalities present in his family tree, and Lozakovich sees how this cosmopolitan blend reflects that of Tchaikovsky’s music. “Of course his compositions are very Russian and you can always feel that. But there’s a refined taste and elegance about his work, which I feel is French, and also this German style of composing. His music in that sense is multinational – it can connect to everyone.”
None but the Lonely Heart projects the sadness that underlies much of Tchaikovsky’s music and so often pierces its surface. Lozakovich has chosen works that communicate the composer’s sense of detachment from the world and the inner turmoil triggered by his ill-fated marriage in 1877. “Tchaikovsky wrote his Violin Concerto in Clarens overlooking Lake Geneva in 1878,” he observes. “He went to Switzerland to recover from the disaster of his marriage and drafted the piece in just three weeks. It was a distraction from life and those dark feelings of melancholy.” The young violinist has an intuitive understanding of this depth of emotion: “That’s why ‘None but the Lonely Heart’ is, in a way, the motto of this album. Where the Violin Concerto sometimes grabs the listener with its extroversion, here Tchaikovsky moves inward. You understand this sense of complete isolation. ‘None but the Lonely Heart’ is the voice of the heart.”
DANIEL LOZAKOVICH: BACH
The 17-year-old violinist amazes audiences and critics alike with his mature, carefully considered playing. On 8 June, Deutsche Grammophon will release his debut album.
“More than a child prodigy” – so ran the headline in the German daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel following a concert given by 17-year-old violinist Daniel Lozakovich in Berlin in February 2018. “A thoroughly serious young performer; you can hear that he is his own man.” Daniel Lozakovich comes across not as a teenage virtuoso but as a thoughtful young musician; his playing is exceptionally mature and has already convinced such prominent musical colleagues as conductors Valery Gergiev and Andris Nelsons. Daniel has many interests and, although his parents originally imagined he would embark upon a career as a professional tennis player, he is now making his way in the world with up-bows rather than backhands. That there is not only raw talent at play when he performs, but also a complete understanding of the work in question, is clear from his debut recording, as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, of works by Johann Sebastian Bach.
“The boy has a stunning technique, near-perfect intonation, and his bowing shows real assurance, enabling him to produce a pure, airy, luminous sound. Lozakovich’s Beethoven is highly sensitive, with subtle colourings and wonderfully shapely phrases controlled right to the end of the note, eschewing any temptation to play to the gallery.” Le Monde was deeply impressed by Daniel Lozakovich in December 2017, when he played the Beethoven Violin Concerto – one of the pillars of the violin repertoire – in Paris, affirming that the young violinist’s most astonishing quality was his restraint: whereas other virtuosos emphasize their technique for effect, Lozakovich gives the music space and leaves his playing to speak for itself. His admiration for past masters of the violin such as Christian Ferras, Jascha Heifetz, Leonid Kogan and Yehudi Menuhin may have helped shape this approach. He has also been very much influenced by his teacher, Josef Rissin, and also by Eduard Wulfson, who has been mentoring him since 2015.
It was only by chance that Daniel Lozakovich, who was born in Sweden in 2001, began playing the violin at the age of six: his parents, neither of them musicians, sent a sports-mad Daniel to a music school, where he resolutely chose the violin as his instrument. After his very first lesson, his teacher declared him exceptionally talented, and two years later he made his debut with the Moscow Virtuosi and Vladimir Spivakov. In the years that followed, his concerts and numerous prize-winning competition appearances drew the attention of industry insiders and won him some prominent backers: Valery Gergiev invited him to make a solo appearance as early as 2015. Concerts with, among others, Andris Nelsons, Semyon Bychkov, Hartmut Haenchen and Robin Ticciati followed.
In 2016 Deutsche Grammophon announced that it was signing an exclusive contract with Daniel Lozakovich, with a view to working with him long-term. On 8 June 2018 the company will release his first recording, giving him a chance to introduce his musical thinking to a wider public. The choice of Bach spotlights a composer whose music, according to Lozakovich, shows your true colours as a musician, because it is impossible to hide behind the notes. Which he doesn’t need to do: whether collaborating with the Chamber Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Bach’s First and Second Violin Concertos or playing solo violin in the Second Partita, Lozakovich’s debut recording demonstrates his enthusiasm and aptitude for chamber music utterly convincingly. Playing with Ivry Gitlis, Daniel Hope and Martin Fröst, he has also proved it on stage.
Despite being a talented musician, Daniel Lozakovich is also open to the world beyond music and has many interests. Although his career as a tennis player has been cancelled, as well as pursuing his studies at school in Geneva he remains an avid sports enthusiast, with a particular love of football and boxing. He has as much time for the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Django Reinhardt as he does for Bach, Beethoven or Bartók and is relaxed about his own development, preferring to study and consolidate his repertoire properly and broaden it only when he feels ready. As a young musician with a firm grasp of how to communicate his musical interests with confidence and style, Daniel Lozakovich is certainly one to watch – and far more than just a teenage prodigy.