I began toying with the idea of writing a piece for violin and orchestra in the early 1930s. Whilst working on sketches in short as well as full score I became aware of a certain lack of knowledge as to ‘virtuoso’ violin technique and of the need for a few more years to mature in that respect. This happened to be the period of World War II, during which I lost the urge to write music.
When I resumed work on the piece I composed it as a Concertino in three movements, ending with a Gigue, but after its first performance in 1952, a BBC studio recording, I rewrote it. Two years later I changed the form of the piece to that of a fully-fledged concerto by adding a fourth movement. Thus the Gigue achieved the character of a Scherzo whereas the new Finale now established a correct balance with the weighty symphonic opening Allegro. The relentless drive and irregular metre of the Allegro show rhythm and melodies in a kaleidoscopic light, while the slow movement, Andante amoroso, speaks for itself.
Berthold Goldschmidt 1995
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer
Goldschmidt’s three concertos, for violin, clarinet and cello, were all completed during the early 1950s and reveal an innate understanding of their respective solo instruments. The Violin Concerto occupied the composer intermittently for a number of years, finally reaching its definitive form in 1955. The work is modestly scored for a small orchestra to allow maximum transparency, while the virtuosic brilliance of the solo writing is a tour-de-force. In the 1980s, the concerto was energetically taken up by Chantal Juillet, to whom the composer subsequently dedicated the work and for whom he also composed a further piece, the Rondeau ‘rue du Rocher’ in 1994.
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