Thomas Linley is said to have composed at least twenty violin concertos, but only one survives complete. The score was included in one of the memorial volumes compiled for George III after the composer’s death and it is still in the Royal Music Collection of the British Library. It was probably written after his return to Bath from Italy, for it displays a mature grasp of the galant idiom of his teacher Nardini and other Italians, and, of course, immigrants resident in London, such as J C Bach and C F Abel. In particular, the solo part in the first movement is much more varied than in the English concertos he would have known before he left home. It does not consist just of rapid scales and arpeggios, but also includes themes borrowed from the ritornelli, often presented in the highest register of the violin, as well as fearsome passages in thirds, sixths and octaves—some of which imitate hunting horns. The orchestral writing, too, is unusually varied and imaginative, with haunting piano cadences coloured by antique suspensions and the rich colours of horns and bassoons doubling the strings. The brief but impassioned slow movement is in the ‘Scotch’ style fashionable at the time, while the finale is a delicious Rondeau in gavotte rhythm with hints of distant bagpipes.
from notes by Peter Holman © 1996