Here the tonality changes to G major, for a sweetly sentimental song in ballad-style from the violin, con grazia and molto espressivo. Vieuxtemps follows this with a section headed ‘Variation’, which is a much-elaborated and decorated version of the Moderato theme, becoming increasingly florid as the music continues. An intervening orchestral tutti recalls the music of the work’s opening before we move into a B major Largo section. Here the violin rhapsodizes ecstatically on a new, romantically inclined melody, with Poco più mosso orchestral rumblings in the middle which provoke the soloist to new prodigies of gypsy-style virtuosity. A tranquil return to the Largo theme carries the solo line to stratospheric heights before the Finale section abruptly breaks in. Vieuxtemps terms this a Saltarella, and the impulsive, insouciant rhythm of the Italian dance proves the perfect vehicle for him to throw every possible challenge in the way of his interpreter. The effect is to dissipate the conflicting passions of the previous parts of the Fantasia in merriment and good-fellowship, but with the violin claiming the admiration of all for its dumbfounding exhibition displays of technical prowess.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2010