Louis Spohr: Violin Concerto No. 6 in G Minor, Op. 28 – full score (NXP009)
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Instrumentation: 18.104.22.168 - 22.214.171.124 - violin solo - strings
The first movement of Concerto No. 6 in G minor, Op. 28, composed in the winter of 1808-09 and first performed by Spohr in a concert at Sondershausen on 9th January 1809, follows text-book concerto form, with an opening introduction for orchestra alone which features both main themes.
These are taken up by the soloist and one in double stops is expanded in the development section before the regular recapitulation. In contrast, both slow movement and finale explore new territory.
As far back as Bonporti and Vivaldi composers had occasionally used recitatives in their slow movements but Spohr goes further here by using the operatic model of a recitative and aria. The dramatic recitative, Andante, in G minor, leads to the beautiful B flat major Adagio aria with a pizzicato accompaniment in the cellos.
For his finale Spohr turns to the tonic major and the exotic national colours of Spain in this Rondo alla spagnola, Tempo di polacca. The composer explained in his memoirs that the melodies were genuinely Spanish ones which he noted down from a Spanish soldier of the Napoleonic army who was billeted with him after the battle of Jena. The soldier sang to the guitar and, in order to give the movement a more Spanish character, Spohr copied the sound of the instrument into the orchestral part, using pizzicato and col legno (played with the wood of the bow).
Right at the end Spohr springs a surprise; instead of virtuoso fireworks, there is a gentle and graceful conclusion.
Chairman, Spohr Society of Great Britain