Beethoven’s Violin Concerto was beyond any doubt strongly influenced by the violin concertos of the French school, especially those of Giovanni Battista Viotta (1755-1824) and Rodolphe Kreutzer (1766-1831). It was therefore no coincidence that Beethoven dedicated his Violin Sonata in A major, Op. 47, to Kreutzer, a violinist from Versailles who was one of the instrument’s great virtuosos. Kreutzer, however, never played the piece and complained that it was incomprehensible (“rageusement intelligible”). Beethoven was far ahead of his time for the instrument. The violin playing of Beethoven’s friend Franz Clement (1780-1842) was said to be especially intimate and gracious, with unfailing intonation and a highly developed bowing technique. That must have greatly appealed to Beethoven, for he was no fan of the dazzling, demonstrative type of playing in which so many violinists shone and resorted to to win over audiences. Clement, moreover, had earned respect as conductor of the Theater an der Wien and the composer of some 25 concertos.
It is hardly surprising that Beethoven dedicated his first and only violin concerto to Clement. The inscription above the manuscript reads: “Concert par Clemenza pour Clement primo Violino e direttore al theatro a Vienna Del L.V. Bthwn 1806.”