Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto: Second movement

The second movement, andante cantabile (canzonetta) is different from the first movement, in other words, stays in contrast to the foregoing movement. The opening with woodwind and horns create lyrical mood which shows an emotional transition. When the soloist enters in g minor key, it turns the atmosphere into melancholy. Violin part has lots of intensive feelings that should directly come from the heart. The characteristic of this movement is clearly emotional with woodwind figuration. There is a dialog- like passage between the solo and the woodwind principals in the mid-movement. It is a short but regarding performance a difficult movement because of the reflection of emotion. Even there is not a technical passage; it is difficult to play for the soloist because of the needed density and awareness in controlling the bow. The usage of bow is very important in creating a good sound. The same theme comes many times and each time it should have a fresh, varied quality to affect listeners. There is one narrative passage in the middle of movement and it speaks us still in a sad mood, even if there is always hope, though Tchaikovsky preferred to come to darkness again and with the clarinet arpeggios the theme ends and we hear again the first theme which is the main and the most emotional one. The end of the movement is abrupt and, in my opinion, what the composer wants to achieve with this ending is not clear and, even I played both the solo and the accompaniment parts in different occasions, I can’t understand his true aim. When the movement ends, it doesn’t give us the real feeling of an ending, because there is an unresolved chord and suddenly we can hear third movement beginning with a characteristic theme which is very fast and energetic. Therefore, the body of second movement is not completed because of this closing. This is related to his orchestral thinking. In my opinion, this movement included beautiful romantic melodies however; just the ending of movement does not suit because of not given the sense of end. On the other hand, we may also think that the unfinished quality of the middle movement, in fact, necessitates or announces the third movement, put it differently, the continuation of the work, in which the single movements don’t stay for themselves only but are closely related to and necessitate each other.

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