Movement 1: Allegro serioso
Movement 2: Adagio
Movement 3: Vivace
A romantic horn solo opens the G major Adagio, leading the violin to share a touching cantilena of elevated nostalgia. Such music might be described as sentimental, but it is also beautiful, and charmingly conceived in its orchestral setting. It rises to a passionate protestation, and then an ad libitum link (it is too short to call it a cadenza) leads into the final cadence, which segues directly into the finale. Starting with excited orchestral preparation, this Vivace movement is a headlong, breathless dance that finds us seemingly among Mendelssohn’s fairies, with the violin the most brilliant elfin dancer of all. The orchestra adds enthusiastic assent to its caperings. A con grazia episode in A major moves in a slightly statelier measure, but the sense of fun is never lost. A larger tutti introduces a broader espressivo tune in F major, but the principal Peaseblossom dance soon returns. The con grazia subject comes back in D major (as if to prove the movement a sonata-rondo); and then for a moment we hear a tender reminiscence of the Adagio’s cantilena. Only for a moment, however, for the fairies are off again, into a molto animato coda of irresistible élan. This scintillating, will-o’-the-wisp affair, with its echoes of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream music, is such an original and delightful invention that one is amazed this concerto is not better known. It may be ‘violinist’s music’, but it is an example of the genre that we can all enjoy.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2010