Historical Development of Violin Concertos (VIII) – Sibelius’ Violin Concerto



Sibelius Violin Concerto  was composed in 1904. It became one of  the most important romantic violin concertos in the world due to several reasons.
First of all, according to my opinion, why Sibelius gained enormous significance is that he was a violin virtuoso, so he has sufficient technique that compose violin concerto with various technique. For instance, other romantic period composers who complete violin concertos such as Brahms or Tchaikovsky were not violinist thus, they had to work with violinist.
”Under teachers Mitrofon Vasilyev and Hermann Csillag, his violin technique improved remarkably.”(Oxford Music Online)

In Romantic era, besides Classical form notion, form of concertos becomes transformed. There is also an unusual formal feature in Sibelius concerto. First movement of concerto is expanded with cadence on solo violin and it helps to continue onto the development section. Actually, it is a section which connects that part with development. So, according to my opinion, there is the influence of Mendelssohn’s violin concerto on Sibelius.


Allegro Moderato
Violin begins with solo passage in d minor with a quiet arpeggio string accompaniment. This passage is melodious and lyric. It is also cadence-like. After the first theme, virtuosic parts begin. There are double-stops, arpeggios and scale passages. There is also a technique which requires to perform trills with double stops. Although, movement is so virtuosic, ritornello parts are characteristic. According to my idea, in concerto there are lots of motives and concerto is constituted from these motives and their improvements.

Adagio di Molto

As it is marked as ‘’ lirico’’, it is a  lyrical and melodious movement as cantabile in solo violin.

Allegro Ma non Tanto

The most important feature of this movements is the rhythmic pattern. According to my opinion, besides other themes, movement is build on this dotted rhythmic pattern. There are lots of technical passages such as arpeggios, octaves, staccatos, sixteen notes. In the third movement while solo violin performs technical passages, the first movement’s first theme ( which brings solo violin as a introduction ) is performed by orchestra in different tempo.


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