Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (7 May 1840 – 6 November 1893) was a Russian composer of the romantic period, whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, bolstered by his appearances as a guest conductor in Europe and the United States. He was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, and awarded a lifetime pension.
The Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35, was written by him in 1878, and is one of the best known violin concertos.
Tchaikovsky composed it in Clarens Switzerland, a resort on the shores of Lake Geneva, where he had gone to recover from the depression brought on by his disastrous marriage to Antonina Miliukova. But it was not premiered until 1891 in Vienna when the Russian violinist Adolph Brodsky was willing to take the risk both technically and psychologically on stage.
The concerto is scored for solo violin, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in A and B-flat, two bassoons, four horns in F, two trumpets in D, timpani and strings.
And it is in three movements:
Allegro moderato (D major)
Canzonetta: Andante (G minor)
Finale: Allegro vivacissimo (D major)
A typical performance runs approximately 35 minutes.
It was called "long and pretentious" by the music critic Eduard Hanslick, who even claimed the third movement "odorously Russian." It was understandable for a violinist to refuse to play it due to its technical difficulty or concern of one's reputation, but it's mysterious that someone who had listened to music for decades and written about it for life failed to see and feel the beauty of this concerto.