In the first of a two-part article Augustin Hadelich discusses timing, tradition and character in the acrobatic first movement
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This is one of the happiest movements that Tchaikovsky wrote, probably inspired by love. In 1878 he spent several weeks near Lake Geneva, where he was joined by his student Iosif Kotek. Kotek, who had premiered the Waltz-Scherzo a few years earlier, helped to write the virtuosic passages of the concerto; Tchaikovsky would have dedicated it to him if gossip of their forbidden love affair hadn’t already been threatening his reputation in Russia. Instead he chose to dedicate the piece to Leopold Auer, who delayed the first performance for so long that Tchaikovsky finally withdrew the dedication and gave it to Adolph Brodsky. Brodsky played the premiere in Vienna in 1881.
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