Often considered to be the greatest violin concerto ever written (perhaps along with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto), the Brahms Violin Concerto was composed for Brahms’s dear friend and colleague Joseph Joachim, who gave the first performance in January of 1879, with Brahms conducting. The Concerto was received with wild acclaim by the public at the first performance. The great violinist Henryk Wieniawski called the work “unplayable”, and Pablo de Sarasate refused to play the work because he did not want to “stand on the rostrum, violin in hand and listen to the oboe playing the only tune in the Adagio.” Joseph Joachim once stated that “The Germans have four violin concertos. The greatest, most uncompromising is Beethoven’s. The one by Brahms vies with it in seriousness. The richest, the most seductive, was written by Max Bruch. But the most inward, the heart’s jewel, is Mendelssohn’s.”
Joseph Joachim, dedicatee of Brahms’s Violin Concerto. He was one of the greatest violinists of the 19th century and close friend of the composer.
Brahms in 1876