Mendelssohn famously composed the piece for his friend, violin virtuoso Ferdinand David.
David had high expectations while Mendelssohn was writing the piece, even suggesting that it would rival the greatness of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Mendolssohn was mortified by the thought.
“This is a composer who was intimidated by Bach, and certainly by Beethoven as well,” CPR Classical’s Charlie Samson says.
But the end result, unveiled in 1845, may have been as amazing as David had anticipated.
“It is one of the concertos that all the violinist know,” Samson says.
Click the audio above to hear more from Samson of the backstory on Mendelssohn’s concerto. For more from Midori, here's the violinist playing Sarasate's "Zapateado" during her Carnegie Hall debut in 1990.
Charley Samson offers insights on classical music during the 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. hours weekdays on CPR Classical.