A study of Gian Carlo Menotti’s Concerto for violin and orchestra
Tomlin, Laura Anne
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Gian Carlo Menotti’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1952), although written and premiered in the early 1950s, has been an unduly neglected work due to a number of circumstances, but one that has recently been gaining in popularity. The purpose of this document is to provide a comprehensive guide to the Violin Concerto in the hope that it will help capture the attention of those unaware of its existence and ultimately aide in the concerto’s acceptance into the violinist’s standard repertoire. The Violin Concerto’s historical context is examined in relationship to its compositional style and possible sources of inspiration, and to its neglect in the past and recent surge in popularity in the violin world. A formal and theoretical analysis of Menotti’s concerto, as well as a discussion of its technical challenges from the standpoint of the performer, will provide insight into its composition and interpretative issues. Despite its traditional form, Menotti’s Violin Concerto is an unusual piece in many respects, among which are its intriguing possible biographical components. Composed in 1952 for violinist Efrem Zimbalist, the work, on first hearing, can seem a bit disjointed with elements obviously derived from, or at the very least influenced by, other works. However, on closer examination of the work and of its intended performer, these elements appear to be intentional. For these reasons, in addition to its appeal simply as a composition, Menotti’s Violin Concerto is worthy of further study.