This Violin Concerto is in three Movements.
The First Movement (Moderately quick) is, in fact, called by its Composer 'Prelude'. Certainly it has the effect of a rhapsodical introduction, though it is a fairly extended and organic piece, with one definite, complete tune. It is chiefly remarkable for its combination (especially in the solo part) of brilliance and emotional intensity, even depth.
The Second Movement opens with a full statement by the Soloist of a slow-paced, wordless song of some length. Most of the Movement is made out of this melody, much embellishment being added to it by the Soloist.
The boldness and exuberant force of the Finale (Quick and energetic) are self-evident.
Is life anything but a series of Preludes to the song that Death begins?'
That is the question asked by the poet Lamartine, in his Les Preludes. He pictures the bliss of love, and the tempests of life, that wreck human happiness.
The unhappy one takes refuge in quiet retirement, away from his fellow men, but when the trumpet calls him to action he flings himself into the fight, finding in battle the full realization of his powers.
Lamartine's poetic ideas in this poem appealed to Liszt, and in his symphonic poem which we are now going to hear, he very graphically depicts its scenes.
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