Lacking any full-scale attempt at a violin concerto by Schubert—and how rewarding such an attempt might have been!—we must content ourselves with a Concertstück
, a Polonaise
, and this Rondo which, but for the differences in key (D, B flat and A respectively) might yet have been assembled by an arranger as a concerto of sorts. Dating from June 1816, the Rondo, D438, for violin and four-part string orchestra boasts an extended Adagio introduction. The Rondo proper is then launched, Allegro giusto, its recurring theme the soul of happiness. A contrasting theme, heard almost immediately, is of a more pensive nature. The latter returns towards the close before the final statement of the Rondo theme and an exciting coda. In this beautifully crafted movement the modest-sized orchestra supports discreetly, but it is really the soloist’s show all the way. Primarily a pianist, Schubert learnt the violin when young, so his short violin works may have been written for himself. Like much of Schubert’s music, it gathered much dust, achieving publication only eighty-one years after its composition.
from notes by Robert Dearling © 1996