Historical Development of Violin Concertos (VI) – Brahms’ Violin Concerto (1)

Movements of Brahms’ Violin Concerto:

  1. Allegro non troppo
  2. Adagio
  3. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace- Poco piu presto

Actually, Brahms thought to compose four movements for his violin concerto as it was the case in the second piano concerto. Two middle movements would be in symphonic character rather than in the virtuoso concerto. Brahms wrote a letter to Joachim and told “the middle movements have fallen out; naturally they were the best! I have replaced them with a poor adagio’’.  Brahms composed his violin concerto in 1878. It is the period during which he composed his second symphony. Violin concerto has several features which are similar to these of the symphony. Michael Musgrave states that ‘’in the common moods of their movements, symbolized by shared key, meter, triadic shape of opening themes and orchestral color – warm lyricism coexisting with a rhetorical manner which results in identical rhythmic figures at one point – … they complement each other as different expressions of this aspect of Brahms’s mature language’’.

Malcolm Macdonald believed in the same idea, he emphasizes that “In fact the concerto is in many ways the natural successor to Symphony no.2 – in the same key, D major – and the similarities are especially strong in the first movement. Here again is a spacious and apparently leisurely ¾ design, warmly romantic in its instrumental colouring, its themes built upon a triadic foundation and though not especially extended in themselves, seamlessly evolving one from another into huge paragraphs, and seldom far removed from the character of a calm yet passionate waltz.”

References:

Musgrave, M. (1994) The Music of Brahms. Oxford University Press.

Macdonald, M. () Oxford University Press

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