Tchaikovsky wrote his only Violin Concerto during one of the most tumultuous times of his early musical career. One of his students from the conservatory had fallen in love with him, and he, conflicted by his homosexuality, decided he should marry her. They wed in July, 1877; within days he regretted his decision, writing desperate letters to his brother; two weeks later, he attempted suicide by throwing himself into the Moscow River. In 1878 he travelled to Switzerland for a "rest cure", an attempt to climb out of the deep depression into which he had fallen. While there, he composed this concerto. While it opened to decidedly negative reviews in 1881, this melancholy and profoundly romantic piece is now celebrated as one of the most challenging concertos for violin.
This 1979 recording of the second movement (Canzonetta: Andante, in G minor) is played by the inimitable Itzak Perlman, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy.