The Violin Concerto in D minor (1822) was composed when Mendelssohn was only thirteen and is dedicated to his friend and violin instructor, Eduard Rietz. In three movements (fast–slow–fast), it is scored for string orchestra, and betrays two diverse influences. First is the French violin school of Viotti and his Parisian followers, among them Pierre Rode, Pierre Baillot (with whom the young Mendelssohn had studied in Paris in 1816), and Rodolphe Kreutzer. And second is the influence of C P E Bach and the North German school of string symphonists. The three movements suggest a clear historical progression, beginning with the first that, with its angular, interrupted melodic lines, recalls the mannered empfindsam
(ultra-sensitive) style of C P E Bach. Quite in contrast is the opening of the slow movement, based on a theme at once serenely classical, and Mozartian in its poise. The finale, a brisk rondo in a popular style, bristles with solo figurations that reflect the virtuoso styles of Mendelssohn’s own time.
from notes by R Larry Todd © 2012