Work: Concerto for Violin
About This Work
This notable violin concerto is one of an astonishing number of great concertos for the instrument written in the decade of the 1930s. It is in a standard three-movement form, beginning immediately with the violin announcing a long, touching melody
in its upper register. The second subject is also very long, further proclaiming the extended lyricism that is to dominate the movement. Rather than fragmenting and recombining the melodic material, which is the way development sections of symphonies and sonatas usually work, Hindemith develops these melodies and a subsidiary theme through embellishment and elaboration of the main themes. The slow second movement also features long singing lines. It ends with the clarinet taking over the melody while the violin adds filigrees around it. The final movement, by contrast, is dance-like in nature, with lightly rhythmic themes. There is a long cadenza before the end, after which the orchestra returns in a faster tempo. This highly original mixture of stirring song and spirited dance is often tinged with a restrained melancholy, but the main mood is purposeful and buoyant.
-- Joseph Stevenson
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