The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor

Janine Jansen, born 7 January 1978, Netherlands, with conductor Sir Roger Norrington and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London.

Fantastic video with explanatory subtitles from BBC.

Soji Sayaka

Izaac Stern

The Composition

Felix Mendelssohn (German, 1809-1847) completed his violin concerto in E minor, Op. 64, in 1845. It was his last large orchestra work. It is one of the most popular and most frequently performed violin concertos of all time. A typical performance lasts just around half an hour.

The specialty of this concerto is that the solo violin starts right at the beginning of the concerto in contrast to most concertos where the orchestra gives a preview of the first movement's major themes before the soloist starts. Also unusual is that the cadenzas are placed in the middle of the movement, traditionally they would appear towards the end. In addition Mendelssohn fully composed the cadenzas which were usually improvised by the soloist. Cadenzas are a sequence of music that allows the soloist to display her virtuosity.

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