Historical Development of Violin Concertos (VII) – Brahms’ Violin Concerto (2)

1. Allegro ma non troppo:

The form of first movement is composed in classical concerto form but several sections are transformed because of structure of concerto and Brahms’s musical thought. It begins with an expanded orchestral introduction.  After introduction, First theme develops and subordinate theme commences. After subordinate theme finishes, there is violin’s section. Solo violin come with  long romantic sentence with a technique of martele. With chords tension enhances. There is arpeggio sections and double-stopping as a technical difficulty. Because Brahms was a pianist, it was hard to actualize his music with violin technique.  For instance, It is certain that playing chords is more rough than piano. Thus, due to keep away from violin technique, Brahms worked with his violinist friend, Joachim in order to complete concerto with proper technique.
The first descending chords is like a martial figure.  Soloist also has same martial ideas in development. Joachim’s cadence has polyphonic texture and it resembles Bach’s partitas.

2. Adagio:

This movements is a feeble adagio in F major. It begins with variations for solo oboe in intense and rich harmony with horns and other woodwinds. Since, there is long solo for oboe,’’violin virtuoso  P. Sarasate refused to play it because he didn’t want to “stand on the rostrum, violin in hand and listen to the oboe playing the only tune in the adagio.”(1)

The first variation concludes with a flute. Next theme is like a duet between oboe and soloist. Violin has not solo in the main theme. Solo violin’s theme comprise of ornaments and variation. Therefore, it is the movement that indicates Brahms’s variation thought. The conclusion of second movement solo violin had coda as a rhapsody with string pizzigato accompaniment. It is also transformed into first rhythmic pattern of finale.

3. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace:

It is in Hungarian style with dance character. Because Joachim has Hungarian roots, Brahms dedicated this movement to Joachim. It has some folk music ideas and a rondo form. It is in bravura style. Actually, It is like a peasant dance .We can encounter with rhythmic variations, syncopations, dotted rhythmic pattern (march idea).

1. http://www.lubbocksymphonyorchestra.org/index.php/concerttickets/110-concerts/whats-playing/349-mw-4-program-notes


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