Preludio e Presto

Carl Nielsen
Violin solo
B4, 11 pages


Preludio e presto for solo violin started out as a facsimile manuscript printed in the important Danish newspaper Politiken. In this way Carl Nielsen publicly greeted his old friend the Danish violinist and composer Fini Henriques (1867-1940) with warm words and grand lines of music for his sixtieth birthday. It was Nielsen's son-in-law and confidant, however, the Hungarian-born violin virtuoso Emil Telmányi, who prompted Nielsen to invest further work in something the composer had simply improvised as a flourish of "eye music" for a festive occasion. The final result was a unique (and uniquely difficult) two-movement solo work, where Nielsen (originally a trained and capable violinist himself, though without aspirations as a soloist) explores, in a rhapsodic manner yet with strict control, the new world of non-tonal music and the distant corners of the violin's sonic and technical range.


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