The Violin Concerto by Arnold Schoenberg dates from Schoenberg's time in the United States of America, where he had moved in 1933 to escape the Nazis. The piece was written in 1936, the same year as the String Quartet No. 4. At the time of its completion, Schoenberg was living in Brentwood, California, and had just accepted a post teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Schoenberg had made a return to tonal writing upon his move to America, but the Violin Concerto uses Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique. It is in a three movement quick-slow-quick form, traditional for concertos:
Poco allegro - Vivace
The piece is very difficult: Schoenberg wrote of it "I am delighted to add another unplayable work to the repertoire." It was premiered on December 6, 1940, by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski with Louis Krasner as the soloist (Krasner had previously given the premiere of the Violin Concerto by Schoenberg's pupil, Alban Berg). Schoenberg wrote to Krasner on December 17 congratulating him on playing the work "in such a perfect and convincing manner so shortly after it has been written and so shortly after it has been called unplayable."
Schoenberg's Violin Concerto was first published in 1939 by Schirmer.
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