Violin Concerto No. 2 (Wieniawski)

Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 22, by the Polish violin virtuoso, Henryk Wieniawski, may have been started in 1856, but the first performance did not take place until November 27, 1862, when he played it in St. Petersburg with Anton Rubinstein conducting. It was published in 1870, inscribed "to his dear friend Pablo de Sarasate". The work is in three movements:

# Allegro moderato in D minor
# "Romance": Andante non troppo in B flat major
# Allegro con fuoco – Allegro moderato ("à la Zingara") in D minor/D major

Both main elements of the first movement, its sombre, restless first subject, and its lyrical pendant (begun by a solo horn) are discussed freely and subject to dazzling embellishments by the solo violin. This movement includes a demanding variety of technique, including chromatic glissando, double stops, arpeggios, sixths, octaves, thirds, chromatic scales, and artificial harmonics, not to mention a myriad of bowing techniques.

The slow movement, a "Romance", follows without a break. It is based on a lilting tune in 12/8 time and rises to an impassioned central climax.

A rhapsodic passage marked "Allegro con fuoco" and mainly a solo cadenza, leads to the finale, a dashing rondo in the gypsy style, which quotes the first movement's subsidiary theme in the course of its second and third episodes.

Wieniawski's second Violin Concerto in d minor remains to be one of the greatest violin concertos of the Romantic era, memorable for its lush and moving melodies and harmonies.


* Golding, Robin (1991). "Wieniawski: Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, Sarasate: Zigeunerweisen". Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg, pp. 1-2.

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