Vivaldi Recital in A minor
May 21, 2010 at 6:25 PM
"And now, Peter will play the Vivaldi Concerto in A minor, third movement..."
From Roland Bailey
Posted on May 21, 2010 at 6:50 PM
Thanks, Laurie. I look forward to encountering this Concerto in a couple of years!
From John Hartge
Posted on May 21, 2010 at 10:06 PM
Laurie - your comments about the challenge and value of this concerto is a real shot in the arm for many of us (especially those in the new "Stuck in Book 4" group on Facebook)! Thank you.
From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on May 21, 2010 at 10:46 PM
So true!!! Everything started from there for me as well (it will never finish but it started there ; ) It was the first time that I sounded like a violin and was also my first enjoyable public experience.
I have always loved this concerto because of this! The melody is so nice too. I'm very happy to have done it when I was quite old too (17 yo about...) Because as a late started, I was more mature to try to sound ok than if I had started violin at 5. I think this nice music deserves to be considered the most seriously possible and to be played in the most mature way possible that the player can give.
I love Vivaldi ; )
From Laurie Trlak
Posted on May 21, 2010 at 11:33 PM
I love that piece in spite of the fact that there are passages that still give me trouble 15 years after I first learned it (the Galamian edition). it's truly a wonderful piece of music, and one that should violin students should learn to love. I know it's hard, but so worth the effort!
From Tommy Atkinson
Posted on May 22, 2010 at 3:02 AM
I must confess that I never played the Vivaldi a minor as a student! Maybe that's why I still love the piece; I was never burnt out on it.
I love giving Vivaldi and other Baroque music to that sort of Intermediate level student to start germinating in the student's mind the idea of Historically Informed Performance - trills, grace notes, and bowings in the Baroque style. It can really give the student something a little more in depth to work on than getting the technique down for pieces like this.
From Joyce Lin
Posted on May 22, 2010 at 5:07 AM
Thanks Laurie for this entry. It's great to learn from a teacher's perspective about this piece. I've never performed in my teacher's studio recitals. After reading this, I'm seriously contemplating playing in the next recital in December as a challenge to myself. With luck and hard work, I might even be ready to perform the first movement of Vivaldi Concerto in A minor by then. :)
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on May 22, 2010 at 5:33 AM
I love this concerto, too. Who is playing it in the recording you posted?
From Don Roth
Posted on May 22, 2010 at 2:09 PM
Just wondering how much time you would expect for a student to memorize the Vivaldi ? I'm sure that there is not a single answer for all students but what is "typical" ?
I once heard a major classical piece and someone asked the (high school) soloist how long she had been preparing ? 7 months ! And she certainly WAS prepared. First class !
From Ann Miller
Posted on May 22, 2010 at 7:56 PM
It's still two pieces away for me. Maybe in the December recital.... Thanks for posting.
From Laurie Niles
Posted on May 22, 2010 at 8:54 PM
Don, you are right, the answer is that it depends on how much practicing you are doing and also how solid your foundation is up until this point. A student who has mastered their pieces up until this point (memorizing them, reviewing them frequently) could probably learn the piece in a month or less, then perform it a month after that. I stick to the rule that if you are going to perform something by memory, it should be fully memorized a month or more in advance of the performance. It can take quite a lot longer, though, and very often does. So I'd say two to six months. If it takes longer than six months, you might need a little more foundation work.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on May 22, 2010 at 10:08 PM
This is the only one of the "student concertos" from your other blog that I have actually played. I played it in 7th grade. I didn't memorize or perform anything back then, but I still think that I got quite a bit out of it.
I liked the piece then, and still like it now. I think Vivaldi is somewhat underrated and underappreciated by today's students. Last summer I accompanied two cellists who were playing the Vivaldi double cello concerto, and it was just sublime. I ended up loving it so much that I transcribed it for viola and played it in church with a friend.
From Lisa Van Sickle
Posted on May 22, 2010 at 10:26 PM
In the Suzuki literature, the Vivaldi is the first complete concerto learned by a violinist. This alone makes it a watershed.
From Erica Thaler
Posted on May 22, 2010 at 10:29 PM
Thanks for the blog. I am working on the 1st and 3rd movement, and although they are hard, and will take a lot of time, they are wonderful, musical pieces. There are times when (parts) sound like the real deal...(parts, bits, measures...but I trust that in time thoses will be strung together into a whole piece....or most of one!
From Larry Deming
Posted on May 23, 2010 at 1:47 AM
Hearing my sister play the Vivaldi A Minor inspired me to take up the violin. It really resonated with me.
From Anne Horvath
Posted on May 23, 2010 at 1:49 AM
I never learned this concerto as a student. It could be I didn't need it, or it could be my teacher was (cough) sick of it...I do teach it now, not out of the Suzuki books, but the Galamian edition. Besides fingering/bowing suggestions, I like to teach a whole concerto, not bits and pieces here and there.
I really like teaching this piece, and I agree it is a big watershed in a student's development. The kids usually like it a lot.
From Federico Piantini
Posted on May 23, 2010 at 4:38 AM
Have always encouraged this concerto along with the g minor, to all my students.
Both pieces have delighted and helped young and older students alike.
I learned both with Tivadar Nachez included improvisations; know I use original compositions and the Nachez improvisations I leave for later, or let the students do their own.
You can never go wrong with Vivaldi!
Mr. Szeryng, and Mr. Grumiaux often played these concertos, and recorded them!!
Zina Schiff has a wonderful recording of both in the same CD. (She was a student of Heifetz)
From Margaret Lee
Posted on May 23, 2010 at 5:57 AM
I thought that everyone who played violin played this piece --I too was about in 7th grade when it was my turn. I was so proud to be working on it. I was surprised when (during the interim when I taught my daughter) my daughter expressed her dislike for the piece. I think she was frustrated b/c she didn't get the musicality of it.
From Christine Schoof
Posted on May 23, 2010 at 6:34 AM
But back to my original point, I do believe this concerto usually transforms a student. I would argue that once a student has learned this piece, she or he tends to emerge with faster fingers, a better ability to do passagework, increased endurance, increased confidence and ability in third position and a stronger bow stroke.
I'm a 36 year old adult beginner, been playing since last July, and I'm in the middle of learning this piece right now. Thanks, Laurie, for that very interesting analysis. I've got a long way to go to get this piece right, but it's helped me in all the ways you've mentioned. I look back even a couple of months ago and can see definite improvement. I love this piece. I love the challenge of getting the difficult passages slightly better every day. And the little cadenza (is that the right word?) near the end of the first movement is so beautiful even if it's hard. The day I can play that well will be a highlight.
But memorising and playing in public!!! That might be a little way away.
In the city of Albany, Western Australia, where I live, we've just had a week of a music Eisteddfod. I got up on stage with a group of about 50 fiddlers (mostly kids and a couple of violin teachers) and played an Irish tune - great foot-stomping stuff, lots of percussion, lots of fiddles. That's a great way of starting in public - there's no pressure when you can hide at the back and know that while you are important in contributing to the tune, you can make a couple of mistakes without spoiling the piece.
Now it's back to Vivaldi before my next lesson ...
From Peter Kent
Posted on May 23, 2010 at 3:46 PM
It is perhaps the 1st time a student violinist plays something that makes them sound like a legitimate (no reference to heritage) violinist, to themselves ! However, it's really the 1st movt that enables this transformation. Removing the Suzuki non-musical bowing makes it more attainable and increases the prospects for personal expression.
In New York State Evaluation festivals, it is listed as a Level 4 solo, meaning of intermediate difficulty. Having been a NYS judge for way-too-many years, I have heard it performed by all ages, to all degrees of quality, on all manner of instruments, in d minor by violists where it presently remains at Level 5, on occasion 15 times in a row, and never seem to tire of it. While some teachers send numerous students all on the same solo, with the same inadequacies, it is like a "break" for me, as I have a extensive list of critical comments at hand, to make depending on what I'm hearing.
I totally agree that this piece is responsible for the retention of 100's of students that otherwise would have stopped playing...It puts them over the fence, to the good side, and they crave the feeling of accomplishment this piece lends....The teacher's job is to establish a series from the literature that will enhance and sustain this feeling.
From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on May 23, 2010 at 6:36 PM
And then, when Mozart appears, it breaks all this and makes you realize that this time, it will take much more work to make it sound decent ; ) This is the little ego break we students need to stay humble... well at least one is too young to realize he/she should work more on Mozart!)
From robert keith
Posted on May 26, 2010 at 5:48 PM
Thank you Laurie for your comments. If I only had a violin teacher like you, I would be on top of the world.
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Laurie Niles is from Pasadena, California. Biography
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