A lost cadenza for Beethoven’s violin concerto, in two versions

A lost cadenza for Beethoven’s violin concerto, in two versions


norman lebrecht

October 16, 2020

The violonist Yury Revich has been working with Martin Wulfhorst on the first edition of two versions of an unknown cadenza by the Belgian virtuoso Henri Vieuxtemps to the first movement of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, soon to be published by Doblinger.

You hear them here first.



  • Doc Martin says:

    I would imagine auld Ludwig would have expected a competent violinist like Clement to have devised his own cadenza, unless he wrote it into the score or abolished it as in the Emperor. I know folk either do Joachim’s or Kreisler’s, neither were known in his time at all.

    Personally I would have thought an improvised one as Mr Dubourg did in one of Handel’s concerto grossi op 6 during a concert in Dublin. When Dubourg finally came to the end, at last Handel called out loudly “You are welcome home Mr Dubourg!”

    Sherlock Holmes would have gone for Joachim’s or failing that Pablo Sarasate’s!

  • violinist says:

    The worst of all cadenzas for Beethoven I have heard so far. And silly and mediocre playing!

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    There’s a surprisinly long list here of cadenzas to this concerto :

  • Ken says:

    Haven’t listened yet, but like the yellow one.

  • Columbusviola says:

    violonist? Belgiam? virtuos? Who is proofreading this site???

    Is this Vieuxtemps cadenza any different from the one that Barenreiter published from the Belgian virtuoso violinist?

  • yujafan says:

    talking of cadenzas by virtuosi that hardly anyone plays, why do so few people play any of Enescu’s cadenzas for any concerto, when quite a few interesting ones exist?

  • Jeffery P Dural says:


  • H R Collier says:

    There are many cadenzas for the Beethoven concerto. The worst, in my opinion, are those that try to adapt Beehoven’s cadenzas for the piano version of the concerto, to the violin (a VERY different instrument).

  • David K. Nelson says:

    Heh – the accompanied portion in both versions has more than a few hints of Vieuxtemps’s own Concerto No. 2, a very beautiful work by the way.

    Either the second video is “lip synched” or the sound and visuals are quite uncoordinated – very distracting. Even the first video has a bit of that feeling.

    The second version has a nice chromatic passage that is a reminder that Vieuxtemps was the teacher of Eugène Ysaÿe.

    This young fellow can really play – and what he saves in haircut costs he has been able to spend on a fine fiddle. Evidently he goes to the same clothing store as violist David Carpenter.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  • JJ Millant says:

    This cadenza should remain undiscovered.


    The addition of any accompaniment to a cadenza rather defeats the purpose of a soloist appearing to be extemporizing on the melodies. If I had to choose one, I would choose the second one. They are both novelties and I can see why they never caught on in the concert hall.

  • Karl says:

    Good stuff! Someone should record a CD of all the cadenzas that have been written for it.

    • Andrew Condon says:

      Ruggiero Ricci recorded the concerto in 1994 with cadenzas by David, Vieuxtemps, Joachim (2 versions), Laub, Wieniawski, Saint-Saens, Auer, Ysaye, Busoni, Kreisler, Milstein and Schnittke. The Vieuxtemps cadenza on this disc – thankfully a solo cadenza – sounds infinitely preferable to what’s on offer here. For anyone interested, its on the Biddulph label with the Orchestra del Chianti conducted by Piero Bellugi. Ricci also undertook a similar project with the Brahms Concerto, on the same label.

      • David K. Nelson says:

        And the Soviets published an entire book of cadenzas to the Beethoven Concerto; I think it has 50 sets of cadenzas. I have yet to track down a copy.

        I did see and make some copies of a similar Soviet publication of cadenzas to Mozart violin concertos, and used one of them (Sascha Jacobsen) for a performance (with piano). Luckily some prior owner had translated the composers’ names from the original Cyrillic. I could figure out on my own which concerto the cadenzas went with.

  • Patricia says:

    Or they could improvise their own.

  • Bruce says:

    Good violinist, but — as someone who frequently complains about other people “listening with their eyes” — he really should do something about his hair. Had to scroll the video out of visual range in order to keep listening.

    The cadenza itself? Sure, why not. It works. I don’t imagine it replacing the Kreisler “gold standard,” but it’s always nice to have more options.

    The orchestral participation is a little weird though; it’s like having a short piece by Vieuxtemps inserted into the middle of the cadenza. And it make the whole thing too long IMHO; maybe the orchestrally-accompanied part could just be cut.

  • E Rand says:

    I’m sure there were non-irritating ways to present these cadenzas, but between the needlessly exaggerated hair-tossing, the overdubbed playing, the silly jacket..its a modern-day circus act. I guess this is what we have come to, however..

  • Bernard says:

    Both cadenzas are wonderful & brilliantly played by a superb violinist!

  • He has Donald Trump’s hair but it’s on sideways.

    All the kids will be doing it.

  • Incredulous says:

    Joshua Bell’s got a new disciple!
    What’s with the hair and the outfit? Take all that off and all that remains is a fair, mediocre player… Damn Yuja Wang and Lang Lang generation

  • Michael Zukernik says:


  • Edilson Orlando Palmieri says:

    They are only cadenzas… The solist chooses that one which he ( or she ) likes … Everyone can compose some cadenza to a concerto. This doesn’t matter. But I prefer the cadenza that Beethoven wrote.

    Elas são somente cadenzas. O solista escolhe aquela que ele ou ela gosta. Qualquer um pode compor uma cadenza para um concerto. Isto pouco importa, mas eu prefiro a cadenza que Beethoven escreveu

    • Doc Martin says:

      Beethoven did not compose one. He did one for the rehashed version for piano for Clementi.

      Schneiderhan plays a rejigged version from the piano arrangement in the violin concerto, but really better to compose a new one as the piano one does not work.

  • Simon Scott says:

    Doesn’t anyone ever play the beautiful cadenzas by the great violin virtuoso Vasa Prihoda?
    Only Josef Suk has recorded them.

  • Doc Martin says:

    I have in fact composed a wee cadenza for it myself, I managed to quote James Scott Skinner’s Cradle song in it.

    I originally composed it for my own instrument, the Irish harp, but have made a fiddle version, I think when cov-19 is over it will get a hearing at the Ulster hall.

  • McBreen says:

    Nicky Benedetti has done her own cadenza with the OAE, I once heard her play some Irish trad in Belfast with Doc Martin on harp in St Anne’s! Fantastic.

  • Jay Murray says:

    Yes, it seems to have been recorded elsewhere at an earlier time–otherwise there would be no need for the piece in his left ear, and there WOULD be a need to show the orchestra that he was ‘with’ in places…… Lovely violin, wonderful technique, and quite a talent–not only the way he plays, but the ability to make such a convincing video of the way he played it earlier—in a hall with real acoustics, no doubt. A fascinating exploration–so glad to have seen and heard it!

  • Doc Martin says:

    This is the Cradle song tune by James Scott Skinner played by Alistair Savage in Portsmouth Cathedral. This tune I managed to adapt for Irish harp, I then tweaked it, linking it to O’Carolan’s Lord Inchiquin into a wee fiddle cadenza.


    • McBreen says:

      Doc Martin, that was fantastic and very comforting during cov-19. I love James Scott Skinner’s music. Amazing how you managed to combine that with Lord Inchiquin for a cadenza. Beethoven with a Scots-Irish lit.

  • Rick Lightburn says:

    On a recording, Gidon Kremer played a cadenza by Anton Berg (or one that sounded like it) which I enjoyed very much.

  • John Borstlap says:

    The best cadenza, by Beethoven himself, is for his 2nd concerto. Alas the orchestral score has been lost because his house keeper used the pages to lighten the stove.

    • McBreen says:

      We are discussing the cadenza for the violin concerto, not his piano concertos, which Wilhelm Kempff said were incomplete. In any case, an improvised one is miles better.

      Are you still living in that dusty attic?

  • Robin says:

    The works of Henri Vieuxtemps are wonderful and in ways remind me of the works of South African composer Liam Pitcher. Violonist Yury Revich plays phenomenally, his passion reminds me if violinists Nuné Melik and Susanne Hou.