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The Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61, by Saint-Saëns was written in 1880 and dedicated to fellow composer-virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate, who played the solo part at the premiere. Though the third (and last) of Saint-Saëns' violin concertos seems to impose fewer technical demands on the soloist than its predecessors, its melodic invention and impressionistic subtlety present significant interpretive challenges. This stress is most notable in the second movement and the chorale of the finale, which is reminiscent of the conclusion of the Fourth Piano Concerto. Possibly because of this, the Sarasate concerto along with the Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28, and the Havanaise, Op. 83, have endured as the major concertante works for violin by Saint-Saëns still heard regularly today.
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