Violin Concerto in D minor

Violin Concerto in D minor

Violin Concerto in D minor

Jean Sibelius

Miriam Fried's masterclass

Produced by the Saline royale Academy English Music sheet annotated by  Miriam Fried  is available 47 min Violin

Miriam Fried and Aijia Li explore passion, control, and more in this violin masterclass.

Produced by the Saline royale Academy

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The masterclass

About the masterclass

In this masterclass, Miriam Fried helps student Aijia Li bring out the passion in the first movement of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto. Fried encourages Li to find a way to feel in control of her technique, yet not fear playing incorrectly, as the ultimate goal should be to communicate the emotions of the music.

She offers suggestions on how to practice playing expressively, which involves preparing the body and the bow for meaningful moments. Alternating bow speed and finger pressure, as well as having flexibility in the arm to allow more variety in the music. She urges the student to be an active participant in the harmonies and the colors of the music. Throughout the class, Fried also discusses clarity of articulation and technique, rubato, and connection between phrases.

What we learn in this masterclass

  1. Staying in control while playing and communicating freely.

  2. How to practice expression.

  3. Connecting the musical lines together, even across rests. 

  4. Deducing bow speed and hand and arm position.

  5. Articulating clearly.

Violin Concerto in D Minor by Jean Sibelius 

The Violin Concerto in D Minor is the only concerto Sibelius ever wrote. The original version was premiered in 1904 by a local musician. Unfortunately, the performance was a disaster, and a disappointed Sibelius retracted the piece, revised it, and premiered the new edition in 1905. The first movement, Allegro moderato, offers one of the most beautiful and memorable openings of any concerto, with the high, lyrical voice of the violin floating above pianissimo strings.

The soloist also performs an early, virtuosic cadenza. The orchestral sections in this movement vary from more pastoral to passionate, and stormy before it concludes with a driving coda full of double stops, octave jumps, and harmonics. The second movement, Adagio di molto, introduces an extended, singing melody widely known as one of the most moving melodies Sibelius ever composed. The final movement, Allegro ma non tanto, was once referred to as a "polonaise for polar bears."

The rustic, dancelike music eventually escalates to a fiery conclusion full of dazzling technical feats by the soloist. 

  • Composer: Sibelius
  • Piece:Violin Concerto in D minor
  • Professor: Miriam Fried
  • Student:Aijia Li
  • Instruments: Violin
  • Date:30 October 2021
  • Producer: Produced by the Saline royale Academy
  • Duration:47 min
  • Spoken language:English
Miriam Fried

Miriam Fried

Passion cannot be controlled but you participate in it.

Miriam Fried

Sheet music

Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this violin masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Miriam Fried’s feedback and comments.

Sheet music violin concerto in d minor

Miriam Fried

Miriam Fried

Professor of violin at New England Conservatory in Boston.

Miriam Fried has played with virtually every major orchestra in the United States and Europe and has been a frequent guest with the principal orchestras of Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, as well as with the Israel Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, and the Vienna Symphony.

In recent seasons, Ms. Fried’s schedule has included orchestral engagements with such prestigious ensembles as the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Paris, the Czech Philharmonic, and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. In 1993, she premiered a violin concerto written for her by Donald Erb with the Grand Rapids Symphony, and recorded the work for Koss. Ms. Fried’s highly praised New York recitals of the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin were the culmination of three years of international performances.

She was the first violinist of the Mendelssohn String Quartet for ten years and collaborates regularly with her son, pianist Jonathan Biss. Currently, Miriam Fried is a professor at New England Conservatory and is invited to give masterclasses throughout the world. Since 1994 she has been program Director of the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, one of the country’s leading summer programs for young musicians.


Jean  Sibelius

Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer of the late romantic era, born in 1865 in the southern Finnish town of Hämeenlinna. He is considered the most famous and influential composer of his home country, and many suggest that Sibelius participated directly in the creation of a Finnish culture, while the country struggled to find one after its independence from Russia. At the heart of his works lies his seven symphonies, now performed all over the world. The most famous of his oeuvres are Finlandia, the Karelia Suite, Valse triste and the Violin Concerto.  

He remained a prolific composer until the mid-20s, a period where he stopped writing music for the next thirty years of his life. Many still cannot explain why, and his silent years are commonly referred to as the "silence of Järvenpää", in reference to the location of Sibelius’s home. He nonetheless continued working, writing masonic music and re-working earlier compositions, but did not take interest in writing new music.  

He was known for loving nature and studying law as a young man until his passion for music took over, and he began to study it full-time. Furthermore, he married the daughter of a general and a Baltic aristocrat, Aino, Järnefelt, in 1892. Together, they lead a very hedonistic lifestyle, and in consequence, negatively impacted their health. Aido spent time in a sanatorium, while Jean Sibelius’ health deteriorated slowly over time. In 1957, the composer died from a brain hemorrhage at age 91. 
Sibelius’s music manuscripts have recently been added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program. He is often considered 'a nationalist composer working in the Romantic tradition'.


Photo credit: Jean Sibelius © Getty

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