Sibelius withheld this version from publication and made substantial revisions. He deleted much material he felt did not work. The new version premiered in 1905 in Berlin with Richard Strauss conducting and Karl Halir as solois.
The initial version was noticeably more demanding on the advanced skills of the soloist and was revived in the early 1990s on the BIS record label by violinist Leonidas Kavakos, with the permission of Sibelius' heirs. The revised version still requires a considerably high level of technical facility on the part of the soloist.
2 points that I find interesting about this music:
- The melody is strong & commanding. The soloist has to show amazing skill & mastery of the instrument to relay the depth of the tune. Nothing light about this piece, we're talking smooth, rich music that insists to be heard.
- The accompaniment is centered heavily on the lower sounding instruments, like the cello, the double basses & particularly the bassoons. Woodwinds add a warm ethereal feeling to the piece, definitely a plus point.