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Why I love the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and why you should see it this week at the TSO

Why I love the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and why you should see it this week at the TSO featured image

Violinist Alina Ibragimova appears with the TSO, Oct. 24-28, 2018

What is it about the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto? This work has me alternately sitting back in la-la land or on the edge my seat, with beads of perspiration forming on my brow, because it’s that exciting. It’s one of my favourite works, and I love it for being both intensely lyrical and dazzlingly virtuosic. The violin introduction is tuneful with a touch of melancholy. Mendelssohn dispensed with the usual concerto structure and basically wrote his own concerto form (similarly to how Beethoven did with his piano concertos – both the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and Beethoven’s 4th and 5th piano concertos open with the soloist stating the main theme without the traditional orchestra introduction).

The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto has one of the most amazing finales of all concerto repertoire (this is where I’m inching towards the edge of my seat, the dramatic tension about to make my head pop off). Towards the end of the work is also when I listen out for the searing high E right before the conclusion, to see if the soloist let’s ‘er rip. Janine Jansen, seen here in this clip, certainly does, and her entire performance makes it worth our while.

It’s best to hear this live, of course. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performs it this week with violinist Alina Ibragimova, with Andrey Boreyko conducting. Rounding out the program is Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” suite.

See you at the Symphony! #TSO

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