Hyperion Records

Violin Concerto No 2 in E major, Op 90
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The Violin Concerto No 2 in E major Op 90 was composed in about 1900 and dedicated to Oscar Studer. It begins with an exposition of a folk-like first theme played by the full orchestra. The solo violin enters with triplet figurations before the main theme recurs in a sequence of shifting tonalities; the soloist then presents the quieter contrasting second theme. The development section uses motifs from the two main themes before a third idea—a quicker tune based on triplets and syncopations—leads to the recapitulation. This movement concludes with solo-violin passagework and arpeggios suspended over the main theme in the orchestra; there is no cadenza.

In the second movement, Larghetto, the solo violin presents a lyrical and Romantic ‘song without words’ followed by improvisatory variations. The middle section portrays a dialogue between the soloist and the orchestra, and after a reprise of the opening song-like theme the movement ends with the high-pitched tone of the violin. The final Allegro non troppo opens with an orchestral introduction based on a repeated motif before the soloist presents a short and joyful dance theme. The rondo-like first part repeats this theme with the soloist elaborating on it with technically demanding variations. A short intermezzo presents a quiet minor-key melody before the rondo tune returns and leads to a brilliant coda.

from notes by Amnon Shaham © 2006

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