Edward Elgar’s Violin Concerto in B minor, Opus 61 was composed between 1909 and 1910 and dedicated to the violinist Fritz Kreisler. This full score manuscript represents the original complete version of Elgar’s concerto, but it was written out by several different people.
As the scheduled first performance of the concerto neared, Elgar recruited his family and the local violinist John Austin to help him copy his earlier musical ideas for the work into this manuscript. Despite the pace of production, Elgar took the time to mark exactly how he wanted the violin solo to be played.
We can see this manifest in the start of the solo violin part, the first bar of which is in Elgar’s hand and the rest copied by John Austin. The violin enters at the end of the opening musical subject, seemingly proposing the answer to a question posed by the orchestra. Elgar has characteristically instructed this must be done nobilmente (in a noble manner).The premiere of the violin concerto took place on 10 November 1910 at the Queen’s Hall in London, opening the 99th season of the Philharmonic Society. Fritz Kreisler was the soloist with Elgar conducting the performance. The reception was extraordinary, with contemporary reviews describing the concerto as being ‘artistic in the highest sense of the term’.
- Article by:
- Elliot Sinclair
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