It is a powerful work, despite its early provenance: Bartók was only 27 at the time of composition. It is in the form of a rhapsody: two movements, slow then fast. It begins with the violin alone:
Soon joined by the first violin section:
It is in the wandering chromatic melodic style that perhaps had, even this early, taken some inspiration from the folk music of the Carpathian Basin that attracted Bartók's interest later on as a scholar of folk music. One of the ways Bartók developed to structure music was to use tonal relationships to relate the large sections while the surface melodic patterns are organized in other ways. We will get into this more as we look at other concertos by Bartók. Perhaps the biggest influence at the moment of this composition, apart from the ineffable mystique of Stefi Geyer, was that of Debussy which we can also see in the Fourteen Bagatelles, also from 1908.
Without further ado, let's have a listen to the two-movement Violin Concerto No. 1 of Bartók. This is José Maria Blumenschein, Violin with Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducting the Youth orchestra of NRW: