The Ten Most Famous Violin Concertos of all Time
It's really not that easy to put the best known violin concertos in order from "very well known" (tenth place) to "most well known” (first place). Is Brahms's really better known than Bruch's? Was Bruch's maybe more regularly played a couple of decades ago than it is now? And if so, why?Read more…
Another difficulty comes from the fact that the "violin concertos" of Vivaldi and Bach – neither composer really understood the genre in the way we do – really aren't violin concertos in the classic 19th-century sense. The soloist isn't foregrounded in the same ways as she is in those Brahms and Tchaikovsky works with their large-scale cadenzas.
Ultimately, it is the soloist who is decisive when it comes to making the listening experience enjoyable – their form day-in, day-out in concert, their specific aesthetic approach at the studio recording. And all this, of course, has to be realised in the context of close collaboration with conductor and orchestra.
So, let the countdown begin. In tenth position, it's Bach's A minor concerto, followed by Paganini's Second, Sibelius, and Mozart's A major. Bruch makes it to sixth, Brahms to fifth and Beethoven comes in fourth. At number three it's Tchaikovsky, and in second place Mendelssohn's E minor concerto. And the winner: Vivaldi's "Summer" from 'The Four Seasons'. Although it could just as easily have been "Spring" – as long as there's sun!