Brahms: Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77
I. Allegro non troppo
One of the most beloved works in the violin repertoire, Johannes Brahms’ monumental violin concerto is famed for its expressive complexity and unparalleled beauty. By the time of its composition in 1878, Brahms was already a firmly established part of the German musical tradition, successfully furthering the legacy of his eminent forbears. He dedicated the piece to his lifelong friend and renowned virtuoso Joseph Joachim, who played at the premiere with Brahms himself at the podium and whose insights and advice played a vital role during the compositional process. Although the formidable solo part is very difficult to play, Brahms shunned flashiness and empty virtuosity; rather, he used technique as a means to enhance the expressivity and meaning of the music. The first movement, at times razor-sharp and intense, other times dreamy and rapturous, takes the listener on a journey from mysterious to tumultuous, heavily somber to delicately vulnerable, transcendent to blazingly triumphant. In true Brahms style, the piece is thrilling, descriptive, full of substance, and unlike any other.
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