Monday, March 18, 2019

#SparksOfJoy: A weekly post about something that makes me happy

Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Opus 64: A concerto is a musical structure dating to the Baroque period (roughly 1600-1750) that features a solo instrument backed by a full orchestra. It’s traditionally composed in three movements with a fast-slow-fast structure. Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto (composed in 1844, which puts it squarely in the Romantic period) is a lighthearted delight that explores a range of happy, inarguably beautiful and requisitely contemplative musical voices in its first two movements. But its third movement--a bouncy, exuberant celebration of musical virtuosity titled Allegretto non troppo – Allegro molto vivace (starting at 22:06 in this recording)--is completely joyful and captivating and downright triumphant for any violinist who masters it. Part of its joy stems from Mendelssohn’s placement of the violin solo mere moments after the downbeat of the movement instead of letting the orchestra introduce the solo, as had been the convention for 200 years. Romantic music is about emotion--often extreme emotion--and the joyful emotions of this third movement leap at you with no room for impatience or distraction.

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