Evening Masterwork: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

Violin Concerto in D Op. 61 by Ludwig van Beethoven

Evening Masterwork for December 16, 2019 – 7:00 PM on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9

When Beethoven was composing his only Violin Concerto, there was a bit of foot-dragging on the composer’s part. This casualness was apparently a regular occurrence with commissions the composer took on, but in the case of the violin concerto, it was also risky. Beethoven finished the work right before the premiere, leaving the 26-year old violinist who commissioned the work, Franz Clement, to basically sight-read the work during the performance. Adding to the riskiness is also the length and difficulty of the work. Critics actually deemed it unplayable at the time, and it wasn’t until 50 years later that the concerto would join the standard concert hall repertory. Good thing it did – the work was a turning point for the violin concerto genre, and perhaps even the concerto genre itself.