Distinctly characterised by his earlier style, Szymanowski’s first violin concerto is extra-refined in its sound; the orchestra, unusually rich in its make-up, shimmers in all its colours, supported by harmonies shot through with chromatics.
The solo part is extraordinarily virtuosic, while the work’s formal layout is easily perceptible despite its one-movement plan, thanks to the clearly demarcated sections; an introduction is followed by a virtuoso vivace as the initial large formal element, and a calm tempo comodo allows for melodic ornamentation.
A large section beginning vivace assai (scherzando) evinces diverse variations before it flows into a cadenza for the solo violin. After a tumultuous entrance of the orchestra, the tempo calms gradually until the end in a fraying close.
Translation Copyright © 2012 by Grant Chorley