Finnish-born composer Jean Sibelius died on September 20, 1957 at the age of 91. He had composed symphonies, tone poems, and shorter pieces. For me, the violin concerto represents his ultimate achievement.
This work is filled with wonderful melodies, as well as amazing technical demonstrations of the violinist’s capabilities. Sibelius was a violinist himself, and so he composed out of a total familiarity with what the instrument was capable of doing.
Brahms also produced a violin masterpiece, but the composer was a pianist, and he required help from his friend, Joseph Joachim, to make certain passages more playable.
As I recall, I first heard the Sibelius concerto performed by Russian violinist David Oistrakh many years ago. I was stunned by its beauty.
Here is the late violinist David Oistrakh, performing the Sinelius concerto: