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Mendelssohn violin concerto cadenza


josefmills
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I'm beginning to think that this is a somewhat dumb question that I should know the answer to... but oh well.

I bought a copy of Joshua Bell playing the Mendelssohn violin concerto, but the cadenza he plays is significantly different than the one in the sheet music I have.

I guess it could have been similar to the instance when Oistrahk rewrote the Tchaikovsky concerto... or maybe it's just that there are several cadenzas for the Mendelssohn.

I know with classical music, the cadenzas were generally not written, but improved by the performer.

Anyways, would anyone happen to know the answer to my question? Which again, is on the matter of the cadenza that Mendelssohn wrote for his concerto.

I ask, because I like the one Bell plays, much more.

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I do not see why a cadenza has to be a Sacred Cow. There are any number of cadanzas for the Beethoven Violin Concerto better then the one Beethoven wrote for it in his piano transcription. The piano cadenza has been trascribed to violin but not very many players use it for good reason.

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I haven't heard the Josh Bell CD, but I'm now very interested.

The cadenza to the Mendelssohn concerto is unusual in that it serves as a vital structural bridge between the end of the development and the recapitulation. Nearly all concerti preceeding the Mendelssohn have the cadenza "slot" between the final 6/4 and dominant chords, at the end of the recap, just before the coda. This "traditional" spot is, perhaps not coincidentally, the point where the violinist can do the least damage to the structural coherence of the movement.

All of the major concerti that are often heard with different cadenzas have them at this spot - Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms among them. Concerti with cadenzas in "unusual" locations are much more likely to have been written by the composer, and those cadenzas are less likely to be replaced by alternate cadenzas - I am thinking of Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, and Shostakovich 1st concerto in particular.

It's not a hard-and-fast rule, and there are exceptions. I think the Tchaikovsky, which has its major cadenza in the same spot as the Mendelssohn, is occaisionally played with alternate cadenzas.

I guess my point is that one should be very careful with cadenza choices, in particular when the cadenza has the burden of a vital structural duty in the movement. The transition into the recap, in particular, is one of those hazardous spots in a composition that can really betray an amateur, and in the case of the Mendelssohn, is one of that concerto's most sublime moments.

So... I very much want to hear how Bell pulled it off, but until I do, color me skeptical.

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