The opening is marked Andante con moto, and the orchestra sets the scene with a brief introduction before accompanying the soloist who enters with a lilting theme, the basic rhythmic make-up of which is used extensively throughout. A short quasi-cadenza then leads directly into the second part—Tempo animato (quasi allegro)—where the tension is gradually built up with increasing momentum as the work heads towards its main fortissimo climax. The short coda then fades away to a molto tranquillo conclusion. It is interesting to note that there are several differences from the original violin and piano version, where Moszkowski had written a completely different bravura ending, perhaps more suitable for the salon work as it was originally conceived. Later editions show that he had second thoughts about this, bringing the piano reduction into line with the orchestral score. Overall, the Ballade is typical of Moszkowski’s affable and eclectic style, and although it is to some extent limited in its emotional range it provides more than enough interest and enjoyment for the listener with its contrasts in texture and colourful orchestration.
from notes by Martin Eastick © 2004