Violin Concerto No. 2 (Shostakovich)

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The Violin Concerto No. 2 in C sharp minor, Opus 129, was Dmitri Shostakovich's last concerto. He wrote it in the spring of 1967 as an early 60th birthday present for its dedicatee, David Oistrakh. It was premiered unofficially in Bolshevo, near Moscow, on 13 September 1967, and officially on 26 September by Oistrakh and the Moscow Philharmonic under Kirill Kondrashin in Moscow.

Scoring and structure[edit]

The concerto is scored for solo violin, piccolo, flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, contrabassoon, four horns, timpani, tom-tom drum and strings.

It lasts around 30 minutes and has three movements:

  1. Moderato
  2. Adagio
  3. AdagioAllegro

Analysis[edit]

The key of C sharp minor is not a natural one on the violin, and may be intended to recall Beethoven's Opus 131 String Quartet, Mahler's Fifth Symphony, or Prokofiev's Symphony No. 7, a work he liked very much.

The first movement is in sonata form, referring to the composer's Fifth Symphony and concluding with a contrapuntal cadenza. The Adagio is in three parts, with a central accompanied cadenza. The final movement is a complex rondo. It has a slow introduction, three episodes between the refrains, and a further long cadenza before the third episode reprising material from earlier in the work.