Historical Development of Violin Concertos (V) – Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto (2)

Article: Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Sir George Grov

Form and Features

1. Movement: Allegro molto appassionato;

However we encounter classical era concerto form features in concerto, it is transformed. In fact, concerto has qualities  both from romantic and classical era. Firstly, there is an little introduction which is just e minor. After that introduction, we hear passionate  exposition in solo violin before opening ritornello. In classical era, concerto form begins with orchestral opening ritornello which has main theme. It is interesting that, however  it is in concerto form, it is transformed. Solo and tutti parts are changed. Firstly, main theme in violin comes before opening ritornello. After that, opening ritornello comes. After  transition, we can see subordinate theme in G major. Subordinate theme is calmer that first theme. Besides first theme is passionate subordinate is softer. After subordinate theme, fragmentations of subordinate theme played by flute and clarinet. Development part has fragmented ideas from exposition. Especially, I think there is no so much tutti’s section as classical era, solo parts are expanded and have ideas from main theme.
The most interesting thing is that first movement has a cadence before recapitulation. Until that time, cadence was an improvisatory part of soloists. Owing to Mendelssohn’s innovation cadence changes the place in first movement. Because of this innovation, concerto takes place as a first in the history. In addition to this, owing to this innovation composers complete their own cadence. Composers transform cadence’s place after Mendelssohn. Tchaikovsky also, composed cadence before recapitulation. At the end of the cadence, Mendelssohn used ricochet technique in order to pass recapitulation. With the enthusiasm that improves and accelerates, first movement finishes.

3. Movement: Allegretto non troppo – Allegro molto vivace:

Third movement is connected with second movement a small connection bridge in a major tonality ‘’ Allegro non troppo’’.
Third movement is cheerful and technical musical lines in sonata-rondo form in E major. After a 4 measures introduction, violin begins with refrain that is repeated. We can hear that dotted rhythmic pattern. There are modulations to B and G from E Major. It resembles a folk music. In that movement we can see lots of virtuosic style such as ricochet, spiccato, pizzicato.


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