Sibelius – Violin Concerto in D-minor, Op. 47

by Max Derrickson

Jean Sibelius     (b in Tavestehus (Hämeenlinna) Finland, December 8, 1865; d inJärvenpää,Finland, September 20, 1957)

Violin Concerto in D-minor, Op. 47
1. Allegro moderato
2. Adagio di molto
3. Allegro, ma non tanto

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Sibelius became regarded by some as the “aristocrat of symphonists.” Indeed the main body of his creation was seven unparalleled symphonies. It is not surprising that the Violin Concerto resembles such. Sibelius remarked that a symphony should grow from within itself with organic evolution, the music dictating its own destiny. This can be heard vividly in the concerto. Yet the work is no less a virtuosic piece for solo violin. It was very much a labor of love, as would be expected from a composer who had fostered hopes of a career as a violinist when he was young.

Regarding the completely unique colors of orchestration that Sibelius created, Ralph Vaughan Williams remarked that Sibelius could make a C major chord sound completely his own. And though it is almost inconceivable to disassociate visions of Finland (the severity and ethereal world that it encompasses) from the sound of Sibelius, his orchestral landscapes are also astonishingly singular to him.

The Concerto was premiered in Helsinkiin 1904 under Sibelius’ baton. The result was less than favorable as Sibelius claimed that the audience was “shallow and full of bile.”
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