Elgar was at the height ofhis fame when the Philharmonic Society
commissioned this concerto in 1909. The work was dedicated to
Fritz Kreisler, the internationally famous violinist who was the
soloist at its first performance. However, the score also
carries the inscription : "Aqui esta encerrada el alma de....."
("Herein is enshrined the soul of...."), a quotation from the
novel Gil Blas by Lesage. This is widely
accepted to be a reference to Alice Stuart-Wortley, a close
friend whom he nicknamed Windflower and who is
generally recognised as Elgar's inspiration for the work.
The work is long for a violin concerto and expansive in mood but
nevertheless compelling and not overblown. It contains none of
the pomposity and swagger found in many of Elgar's works which
some commentators find disturbing and rather distasteful. The
work is firmly established in the classical repertoire although
not performed frequently.