The date of the present work is unknown. Unlike the majority of Hofmann's concertos it was not offered for sale through the Breitkopf Catalogue and none of the four extant copies records either an acquisition or performance date. The concerto is larger in scale than most of the others and its technical complexities greater. On stylistic grounds it is tempting to place the work in the early 1770s - that is towards the end of Hofmann's active career as a composer - and its occasional technical similarities with the Haydn C major Concerto might be an indication that it was composed after Joseph Weigl's arrival in Vienna in 1769.
Two of the four copies are associated with 18th century virtuosi: the first, preserved in Stift Heiligenkreuz and upon which this edition is partially based, once belonged to Gregor Hauer, a pupil of Robert Kimmerling at Melk and later a friend of Michael Haydn; the second, one of two complete sets of parts now located in the archive of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien under the signature IX 2349, carries the initials 'AK' on the wrapper; the handwriting appears to be that of Anton Kraft who initialled a number of works in identical fashion. The third copy, and the principal source for the edition, formerly belonged to Friedrich Wilhem II, the cello-playing King of Prussia.
There are a number of significant variants between the two copies upon which this edition is based. The first movement basso part in the Heiligenkreuz source conforms in outline with the other extant basso parts but is at times more rhythmically static possibly as a consequence of the copyist incorrectly notating or transcribing abbreviations. This source also includes a pair of horn parts which give every appearance of being authentic. The first movement of the Berlin copy includes occasional variations in the accompaniment figures in the violin parts. Of far greater interest, however, is a change in the opening phase of the second-movement recapitulation. In the Berlin manuscript the first phrase of the principal theme returns in the orchestra and is then continued by the solo instrument; the Heiligenkreuz version is far more typical of Hofmann's usual second-movement practice in its omission of the central ritornello in order to begin the recapitulation with the soloist.
This edition is based largely on the Berlin source with the addition of the Heiligenkreuz horn parts. A number of articulation and dynamic markings are adopted from the latter source where they are less ambiguous than those found in the Berlin copy. In keeping with Hofmann's usual practice there are no dynamic markings in the solo sections; these are left to the discretion and good taste of the performer. The style and notation of articulation and dynamic markings have been standardized throughout, and, where missing from the source, reconstructed from parallel passages. These are indicated by the use of dotted slurs or brackets. Like most eighteenth-century sources, the present manuscript is very inconsistent in its notation of appoggiature ; these too have been standardized to minimize confusion. Obvious wrong notes have been corrected without comment; editorial emendations with no authority from the source are placed within brackets.