The Violin Concerto was composed in 1996 as a commission from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra for Arve Tellefsen. The solo part has the leading role in the work and is very difficult to play. The composer and Arve Tellefsen, therefore, were very much in contact with each other during the composition of the work.
Arne Nordheim says that for this concerto like in other works he has composed, ideas have come to him so to speak out of nowhere. ’It is as if parts of me are extreme; that which is low down or high up, that which is very weak or very strong’.
The composer has himself told how he has worked with gradual condensation and dissolution in the concerto. It is possible to hear continuous changes of mood in the work but the fundamental mood is, according to Nordheim, sadness.