Violin Concerto No. 1 (Wieniawski)

Violin Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 14, by Polish violin virtuoso Henryk Wieniawski was first performed on October 27 1853 in Leipzig. The score is dedicated to King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia.

Structure and style

The work is in three movements:

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Preghiera: Larghetto
  3. Rondo: Allegro giocoso

The first movement has two contrasting themes, the first in dotted rhythm and initially hesitant and the second in B major (begun by the cellos), wide-ranging and expressive. These are, in turn, dissected and ornamented by the soloist with formidable virtuosity, using multiple-stopping and harmonics and, notably in the cadenza, the extreme upper register of the violin.

The second movement, Preghiera (Prayer), is a short lyrical interlude in A major, with the orchestra woodwinds and horns given much prominence; it leads right into the concluding Rondo, a colourful and vivacious piece with a contrasting episode in B major and demanding bravura playing, but without the first movement's extreme pyrotechnics (suggesting that it was composed earlier).

The overall piece is rarely performed in concerts due to its weakness in the second and third movements. Many consider this piece as an improperly balanced piece, with a tense, challenging first movement and a transparent, weak second and third movement.


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

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