Henri Vieuxtemps – Violin Concerto 4 in d, Op. 31 (1850)

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Henri Vieuxtemps (www.theviolinchannel.com)

The Belgian Henri Vieuxtemps, who re-introduced Beethoven’s violin concerto to the world, wrote seven violin concertos for his own use, of which the most interesting is the 4th. In this, my opinion agrees with the composer’s. The slow movement, which contains the concerto’s most moving music, prefigures, my ear finds, some of the harmonic treatment Wagner used in the Leb’wohl section of Die Walküre, which premiered twenty years later in 1870, although Vieuxtemps is religioso, and Wagner, less restrained but more deliberate, is langsamer. But both make great demands on the string players, Vieuxtemps on the soloist, Wagner, mercilessly, on the orchestra.

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