1878: Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major

MONDAY, October 12, 2020 – 8:47 AM

Violin Concerto in D major, age 35

The Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, was composed by Johannes Brahms in 1878 and dedicated to his friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim. It is Brahms’s only violin concerto, and, according to Joachim, one of the four great German violin concertos. According to me it is the greatest violin concerto ever written, and Milstein played it better than anyone else. I grew up with an earlier mono recording and just discovered this one today. I believe he played Joachim’s cadenza. I’ll check later with a score.

Instrumentation

  • solo violin
  • 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in A, 2 bassoons
  • 2 natural horns crooked in D, and 2 natural horns crooked in E, 2 trumpets in D
  • timpani
  • strings

No one performs this on natural horns…

Despite Brahms’ scoring for natural (non-valved) horns in his orchestral works, valved horns have always been used in actual performance, even in Brahms’  time.

He got help…

Brahms asked Joseph Joachim’s advice on the writing of the solo violin part. Joachim,gave that advice, but all it was followed in the final score.

The cadenza…

The most familiar cadenza, which appears in the first movement, is by Joachim, but many other violinists have written their own cadenzas.

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