Performed by Shen Yun ArtistsDebbie Jin, ViolinMilen Nachev, ConductorShen Yun Symphony Orchestra Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Minor, Op. 37Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881)—Belgian violinist, composer, and teacher—was gifted with prodigious musical talent. He started his performance career at six, subsequently enthralling audiences across Europe and the United States, and he was the pride of the Franco-Belgian violin school.His fifth violin concerto, written at the behest of his friend and fellow Belgian violinist Hubert Leonard, was initially intended as a mere competition piece for the Brussels Conservatory, where Leonard was a professor. Instead, it went on to become a staple in the violin repertoire, beloved and championed by some of the greatest violinists in history.Vieuxtemps (pronounced vyoe tan) composed the piece to satisfy the way the instrument itself wants to be played. The concerto juxtaposes breathtaking virtuosity with soulful melodies, displaying both the violin’s capacity for showmanship and its innate expressiveness.The orchestra opens with a furious storm of an introduction, which gradually dissipates to reveal the soloist’s delicate entrance. An ensuing array of techniques, including lightning-fast runs, rapid arpeggios reaching into the highest registers, and up-bow staccato, contrasts brilliantly with intimate passages of melody. The movement culminates in a lengthy cadenza that is both technically impressive and emotionally stirring. The transcendent Adagio movement, containing a melody from composer André Grétry’s opera Lucille, allows the solo violin a peaceful moment to sing before escalating into a fiery but concise finale, which concludes the piece in a flurry of excitement and heightened emotion.Despite its brevity, the piece’s vast spectrum of colors and emotions is a challenge for performers, and an absolute delight for listeners.