Top 10 Greatest Violin Concertos of All Time

I am a composer myself, therefore this list includes all major works in this category. I know all of them and here's my ranking. Symphonies, piano concertos and violin concertos are the most important musical forms. This list fills the existing gap.

The Top Ten

1 Tchaikovsky - Violin Concerto in D Major

This is the among the top three beautiful pieces of all time! The first time I heard it, I was shocked, and in an emotional trance for a few days. It was SO beautiful, and SO difficult sounding that I even thought "I will never be able to learn this piece" I was so determined to learn it, however that I started to learn it for a competition. I'm now halfway through the first movement! Bravo Tchaikovsky! May your legacy never fade!

Tchaikovsky's violin concerto is one of the most expressive concertos I've ever listened to.

On another note, Tchaikovsky only has one violin concerto so there is no need to put the "No. 1".

This was one of the first major violin concertos I've listened to. When I heard Perlman play this piece, I instantly loved it. It has beautiful melodies in it along with difficult parts that impress anyone in the audience. While I love the classical and refined Beethoven concerto, I prefer the emotional emphasis in the Tchaikovsky concerto.

Simply the best. As beautiful and moving as any composition ever created, with perhaps the most innovative use of synergy/contrast between the lead and the orchestra of any violin concerto. To boot, the lead violin is still considered to this day one of the hardest pieces to play.

2 Beethoven - Violin Concerto No.1 in D Major

Ludwig van Beethoven - simply incomparable in my humble opinion. He produced an astonishing volume of works and so many of outstanding beauty. He has to be the greatest classical composer of all time. It may be that students, experts in music may find others,like Mozart and Bach for example, to be more clever at the technical side, but for the average person like me, who simply enjoys listening to the most sublime musical sounds then, as I say, LvB has to be number one. But of course LvB inspired my other favourite, Richard Wagner, and some of his pieces are unbelievably emotive and epic,never failing to move me to tears.

This works reflected all his other works and despite of Tchaikovsky's concerto, it conclude whatsoever of Beethoven's own personal characteristics as well as his personalities.

Hard choice. But there is something so pure and straightforward about this one, compared with the frenzied gypsy-influenced Tchiakovsky and Brahms. Sometimes less is more.

Words cannot describe the wonder of this concerto. Makes you wonder if some higher force was at work when Beethoven composed it.

3 Mendelssohn - Violin Concerto in E Minor

Mendelsshon's Violin Concerto in E Minor may just be that most perfect piece of music ever written. The construction is immaculate throughout, from the passion and grace of the first movement, the delicacy and haunting qualities of the second, to finally the jubilant and wondrously light third. The transitions from each are fluid, and all it's themes are as memorable as they beautiful.

I agree with the previous voter. This violin concerto is a true innovator, inspirer, and a must-have in every violinist's repertoire. A melodious, beautiful, gorgeous, unearthly, and simply AWE-INSPIRING concerto like no other. The movements have loads of emotion, and they are sweet, catchy, and amazing. A must-listen that should be number 1! "

A great piece by Mendelssohn. Very beautiful in the 1st movement. Also, it tends ot be melodic and festive the in the 3rd movement. This is my favorite of all time tied with Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. MASTERPIECE!

It is a genius composition. So many intricate melodies and with that, counter melodies.

4 Brahms - Violin Concerto No.1 in D Major

This is the best Violin Concerto and the hardest to play. The only one able to perform it with the speed and dexterity in our time was Jascha Heifetz. I have recordings of Itzhak Perlman (a Great Violinist) and have heard other players as well and none of them can come close to playing it like Jascha Heifetz played it. I used to play violin in the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra so I know of what I speak.

I found mr perlmans interpretation to be superior to all others by far, listen for yourself on utube... You don't have to be a violinist to come to this conclusion. His musicality on the violin is rare and because of this I listened to it over and over again.

An absolute pleasure to listen to. Full of colour and passion. A dream.

Best violin concerto ever written, including Beethoven's

5 Sibelius - Violin Concerto in D-Minor

This violin concerto might be a little hard to understand and enjoy at first. At least that happened to me. But when you push yourself to listen to it a few times, you will descover how true and beautiful it is. Classical pieces are hard to compare with all eras bordering them, but my urge to listen to Sibelius' concerto over other great composers wins my vote for this deep and beautiful concerto.

To me, this concerto is the perfect marriage of emotion, technical genius, and orchestration. It truly is without equal.

To me it's the emotion and delicacy not that much present in other works of Sibelius.

Wonderfully evocative... beautiful... One of the only works I loved at first hearing.

6 Bach - Concerto for 2 Violins

The largo is as beautiful as any movement of any concerto of any era

7 Max Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1

The slow part of the first movement of this concerto can throbs your inner most heart strings. It engulfs you with so much saddens and emotion which makes you to not let it go of it. You can only hear such sad notes in Beethoven's string quartets and Mahler's symphonies (slow notes). Nothing like it. Thanks God and Max Bruch for this great work.

For me, this concerto was a little difficult to understand the meaning and to be able to express a story through the song at first. After a few times listening to other players such as Sarah Chang and Joshua Bell who played the song beautifully, it was much easier to interpret it.

Perhaps the most inspiring piece of classical music you would ever hear of this piece is Hilary Hahn with the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra conducted by Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Its on Youtube and doubt anyone could possibly be disappointed.

Heart wrenching at the extreme. Be prepared to cry buckets of tears. Not to be trifled with. Adored Joshua Bell's playing...

8 Vivaldi - Four Seasons

This is a masterpiece, Vivaldi teach how to make concertos to the forward generations of musicians.

The winter 2nd. So sad, so beautiful! Great representation of nature.

Summer is above beautiful

I use the music in this collection as a musical yearly revolution

9 Shostakovich - Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor, Op.99

Why is this not in the top ten? It is certainly hard to comprehend and takes a couple listens to sink in, but it is an absolutely amazing concerto. The first movement is just the perfect combination of vague and creepy. The two fast movements are the kind of Shostakovichian grotesque dances that turn up in many of his works. And the third movement exploits the passacaglia form to its fullest, with a beauty unusual for Shostakovitch. There is nothing not to love in this, and it deserves to be up with the Beethoven and Brahms as a true masterwork.

The fact that this masterpiece is not at least in the top 3 simply goes to show the purely snobbish nature of traditional classical music lovers. Mozart and Vivaldi do not come close in brilliance or influence to this godly composer.

A monumental work...and that pasacaglia is so moving...

10 Wieniawski - Violin Concerto No. 2.

Really beautiful piece with a very difficult 3rd movement

Wieniawski is a great Polish violinist and composer.

Clearly the best violin concerto ever written

Very beautiful an lyrical concerto

The Contenders

11 Szymanowski Violin Concerto No.1
12 Niccolò Paganini - Violin Concerto No. 1 In D Major, Op. 6

Pure bel canto, fresh, joy, Italy... Beyond virtuosity, this is a masterpiece of a master musician

This should be amongst the first five. High level skills are needed and also the orchestra is OK

Should be higher up in the list. Such joy, light heartedness, and sense of humor.

Flood of emotion through the high pitched notes.

13 Mozart - Violin Concerto No.3 in G Major

What could be nicer than this music?

Rich melody in all movements.

14 Carl Nielsen - Violin Concerto

Great virtuosity required for this melodic yet dramatic piece.

15 Mozart - Violin Concerto No.5 in A Major

Wonderful detour into "Turkish" mode. Mozart played with all kinds of expression and here he does another perfect job.

One of my favourite concertos

"let us see"...said the blind man!

16 Antonin Dvorak - Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 53

This certainly should be in the top ten. It is a lovely and beautiful violin concerto. I played in the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra (Violin) and heard and watched Nathan Milstein perform it in Phoenix a long time ago. He was a great violinist and he played much in the style as does Bell today.

This is a very underrated piece. It has great solo and orchestral parts, loads of emotion, and a good balance between virtuosity and melody.

17 Saint Saëns - Violin Concerto no. 3 in A Minor

Underrated, and also in B minor (not to be confused with his Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor or his Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor). Monumental work of music

Saint-Saens is the most remarkable example of the successful encounter of classicism and romanticism.

Absolutely underrated and deserves greater audience. The melodies are superb!

Wonderful melodies, a mixture of vigour and romantic tenderness

18 Elgar - Violin Concerto in B Minor

Delightfully eccentric composition with more post romantic flourishes than you would have thought possible.

Some gorgeous melodies; full of emotion, I never tire of this work, probably my favouriteam violin concerto.

The most underrated violin concerto of all time...

19 Bartok Violin Concerto No.2

Parts of this concerto are really pretty

20 Prokofiev - Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major

Amazingly orchestrated.

Exhilarating

21 Lalo - Symphonie Espagnole
22 Khachaturian Violin Concerto

It's so beautiful and so tricky. All three movements are fantastic

It's just a shame. so much passion and armenian scales also included. I think it lies in the bottom cause it's not being played that often...

23 Schumann - Violin Concerto in D Minor
24 Barber - Violin Concerto

How in the WORLD is the Barber Violin Concerto this low? It is TOP TEN, and has achieved much more fame and notoriety than many above it. Please put it where it deserves.

YES! Just learned this, and I LOVE Movement I!

25 Prokofiev 2nd concerto in G minor
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