Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64Freda Wang, ViolinMilen Nachev, ConductorFelix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) was conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra when he composed this beloved Violin Concerto in E Minor. Assisted by his concertmaster and lifelong friend, Ferdinand David, Mendelssohn already had the main melody in mind in the winter of 1838, but it took him another six years to complete the work. The first movement (Allegro molto appassionato) is dynamic and lyrical, rich with musical contrast and intensity. It follows the classical sonata form but with several innovations that left their mark on the musical genre: the almost immediate entrance of the solo violin, the written rather than improvised cadenza, and connections between movements that made applause almost impossible—a novelty for audiences at the time.A single note from the final chord of the first movement—sustained by the bassoon—bridges to the second movement in C Major, which begins and ends with lyrical tranquility. A fanfare from the trumpets connects to the final movement in E Major, where flourishes of techniques including pizzicato, trills, and ricochet bring the piece to a sprightly finish.This concerto became one of the most highly regarded of the Romantic era, and remains one of the most exquisite works for violin and orchestra.