The Violin Concerto was commissioned by Stiftung Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. It was first performed by Gidon Kremer (violin) and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Orchester conducted by Dennis Russell Davies at the Musikhalle, Hamburg, Germany on 29 August 2003.
Interpolated within this one-minute-one-movement layout is a recurrent refrain where the soloist articulates one of the basic harmonic foundations of a number of the one minute sections (six dominant 7ths - on E, F sharp, C, A, B, D) in an undisguised Bachian fashion. The slow arpeggios in the later variants of the refrain not unexpectedly find themselves sharing a bed with the opening of Berg's Violin Concerto. Nyman has effectively adopted Berg's orchestral template, with two exceptions - the omission of the alto Saxophone, and replaced Berg's Percussion section with Marimba and Vibraphone, mallet instruments which intertwine with the soloist in the Concerto.
Alban Berg's Violin Concerto was dedicated to "the memory of an angel", Manon Gropius. Nyman's Concerto was dedicated to the memory of Daniel Toscan du Plantier, a friend and neighbour - in Nyman's words "certainly no angel but a major figure in the recording and film industries".
Arranged for solo Violin and Piano accompaniment, the duration of this work is approximately: 25 minutes.