Pierre Rode: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 3 (Rode001)
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Year of Publication: 2010
Instrumentation: Vn; 2ob 2cl 2fag 2cor 2trbe timp 2vn va vc/b
Binding: Score: Spiral / Parts: Unbound
Duration: 32 mins
Boris Schwarz called Rode's Violin Concerto No. 1 in D minor "a remarkably mature work", and continued: "Though his handling of form became more concentrated, his expression more supple, his technique more finished, he remained unchanged in the fundamental aspects of his musical personality, and later progress seems small compared to his astonishing Opus 1." The concerto is dedicated to his mentor, "Citizen" Viotti.
The first movement maestoso begins with a dramatic tutti; the solo violin entrance is similar yet subtly different. Eventually a dolce theme enters and is varied with triplets and other passage-work. The development or contrasting section features several episodes on the low g-string alone; the dolce section in the recapitulation briefly switches to D major before the cadenza and the triumphant conclusion.
The Adagio begins with the orchestra alternating fortissimo and pianissimo as it intones a simple descending phrase that is repeated with slight variation; this sets the stage for the soloist's entrance in one of Rode's fine sweetly melodic slow themes; the repeat of the theme is played on the resonant G string alone. Several contrasting motifs lead to the reappearance of the main theme, the cadenza, and the orchestral finish. Boris Schwarz wrote that Rode's finales "sparkle with gracefulness, piquancy, and impishness", and praised in particular the polonaises, especially the Polonaise of the First Violin Concerto.
This movement (Allegro moderato) begins with the soloist stating the sempre marcato theme, which is varied and repeated between contrasting episodes in a delightful conclusion to Rode's first youthful concerto.