Movement 1: Gavotte: Moderato
Movement 2: Idylle: Andantino
Movement 3: Intermezzo: Allegro assai ma non troppo
Movement 4: Finale: Mouvement du premier morceau – Allegro vivace
The ‘Gavotte’ preserves the character of the Baroque dance. After a short orchestral introduction the first theme is presented by the soloist, while the second theme consists of a contrasting two-part melody. After the repetition of the first theme, the soloist plays a fast variation on the second theme, which is also heard on the woodwinds. A return of the first theme completes the movement.
The ‘Idylle’, a pastoral siciliano-like movement, was also published and performed as an independent piece. In a straightforward A–B–A structure, the movement opens with an orchestral introduction before the soloist plays the main melody. The minor-key middle section is slightly faster and dynamically developed. The coda ends on the high harmonics of the solo violin.
The third movement, ‘Intermezzo’, starts with triplets in the strings. Over this backdrop the violin presents a marching tune. A more mellow, melodic section in the minor key leads to the marching first theme played by the horns. The soloist develops demanding technical variations on this theme before the slower melodic section appears in a different tonality, ending in high trills on the violin. The movement ends with a restatement of the opening theme.
The closing ‘Finale’ recalls the ‘Gavotte’ in its introduction, as if completing the circle. The tempo then changes to Allegro vivace and the soloist launches on a technically demanding run of triplets with a simple accompaniment in the strings. The middle section presents a second theme, characterized by quaver triplets first played by the orchestra. This theme is developed in different keys and leads to a short cadenza. As with the other movements in this suite, a recapitulation of the first theme concludes the movement.
from notes by Amnon Shaham © 2006