A quiet piece of violin history

Ferdinand David was a close friend of Mendelssohn and was concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra at the time. In 1938, the composer suggested a violin concerto to his friend, which was conceived in the same year. However, it took another six years to complete and was not premiered until 1845. During this time Mendelssohn was in regular correspondence with David and sought his advice on this concerto.

The work itself was among the first violin concertos of the Romantic period and influenced the compositions of many other composers. Although the concerto consists of three movements in a standard fast-slow-fast structure and each movement follows a traditional form, the concerto was innovative and contained many features that were new for its time. Among the characteristic aspects of the concerto are the immediate use of the violin at the beginning of the work and the connection of the three movements with each movement immediately following the preceding one.

Soon after its premiere, this violin concerto became very popular and is still considered one of the greatest works of all time for this genre. The concerto has developed a reputation as an indispensable concerto that all aspiring concert violinists must master, and is usually one of the first concerts of the Romantic period that they learn. Many professional violinists have recorded the concerto, and the work is regularly performed in concerts and competitions for classical music.

In this transcription of the “Andante” (2nd movement) by Gerard Posch, the solo part of the violin is accompanied by a wind ensemble. The movement has a ternary form and is reminiscent of Mendelssohn’s own “Songs without words”. The theme to the darker middle section in A minor is first introduced by the orchestra, before the violin then simultaneously takes up the melody and the accompaniment. The shaky accompaniment demands nimble dexterity from the soloist before the music returns to the lyrical C major main theme, which this time leads to a cheerful conclusion.

The “Andante” for violin and winds is a quiet piece in which the violin is shown to its best advantage. Published by Baton Music, Netherlands.

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