In the nightmare of the dark

January 1 2010

Most of the great twentieth-century violin concerti were written in the ’30s, with the climax on the eve of the war.

Reflection of solo spirits pitted against systems? Not all of this music is anguished. Dates of completion.

Stravinsky 1931
Szymanowski 2 1933
Berg 1935
Prokofiev 2 1935
Schoenberg 1936
Bartók 2 1938
Barber 1939
Britten 1939
Hartmann (Musik der Trauer, later revised as Concerto funèbre) 1939
Hindemith 1939
Walton 1939

Heifetz in the opening of the Walton, Walton conducting the Philharmonia.

3 Responses to “In the nightmare of the dark”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    Violin as mouth organ at the opening of the Hartmann. Reminded me of the mouth organ in the trenches in Losey’s King and Country.

  2. davidderrick Says:


    Malipiero 1 1932
    Martinů 1 1933
    Milhaud (Concertino de printemps) 1934
    Brian 1935
    Sessions 1935
    Bax 1937
    Korngold 1937 (published later)
    Tansman 1937
    Alwyn 1938
    Bloch 1938
    Myaskovsky 1938
    Piston 1 1939
    Veress 1939

    Even in the second division, there is a weighting towards the end of the decade.

    Gil Shaham, it seems, had the same thought as me, but I wrote the post and comments before reading this:

  3. […] It is one of the great violin concerti, the equal of Mendelssohn. One thinks of Mendelssohn because of the way the theme starts right away and because of something Italianate. There is an affinity with Elgar, of course. I posted part of the Heifetz recording here. […]

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