THE FORM OF TCHAIKOVSKY VIOLIN CONCERTO
As with the majority of classical violin concertos, the key is D major (the opening strings of the violin are G-D-A-E, which is in D are the subdominant, tonic, dominant, and dominant of dominant the key pattern around which events are likely to move). Tchaikovsky original slow movement was in D minor, providing insufficient key contrast. The opening of the movement woodwind and horns lead the music from D major into G minor, in this key the soloist enters, over muted upper strings, with a melody that justifies the movement’s “canzonetta”. The character of canzonetta is decorated with woodwind figuration and ending now in D. The link with the finale is beautifully managed: from D the opening woodwind passage leads on to a seventh chord for strings. When the finale crashes with an orchestral tutti, it is the key of A which also heard the finale movement of concerto.
The side of the violin’s character introduced with this theme has a distinct folk element. In Tchaikovsky’s works we can hear the folk element, it is characteristic of the works. In this work, first movement very considerable virtuosity which the writing demands is always directed towards decoration of theme and of the lyrical idea, and also to show the violin’s technical capabilities. The concerto remains among the most testing in the Romantic repertory.
John Warrack Tchaikovsky Symphonies and Concertos