Of Brahms's 120 plus works, only 13 are purely orchestral.
This low number is attributed to several factors – one of which was his immense awe of Beethoven’s accomplishments which were so recent; and another: his severe self-criticism.
His good friend Robert Schumann referred to Brahms’s piano sonatas as “veiled symphonies” and encouraged him to write for orchestral forces.
Slowly he did so and he sent the violin part of this concerto to another dear friend – the violinist Joseph Joachim with the instruction to “correct it, not sparing the quality of the composition. I shall be satisfied if you will mark those parts which are difficult, awkward, or impossible to play.”
Joachim found the solo to contain “a lot of really good violin music” and he premiered the work in Leipzig on New Year’s Day, 1879 with Brahms conducting.
Recorded by RNZ Concert, Auckland Town Hall, 1 June 2017
Producer: Tim Dodd; Engineer: Adrian Hollay