Written by Laurie Niles
Published: June 30, 2015 at 5:19 AM [UTC]
I received an e-mail Monday from violinist, violist and mandolinist Jason DePue, who is a member of the first violin section of The Philadelphia Orchestra and also brother to Zachary, Alex and Wallace DePue, all wildly accomplished musicians themselves in their own rights, who occasionally play bluegrass ("grassical"?) music together. (You may know Zach also from Time for Three).
After spending some time perusing Violinist.com, Jason was inspired to share his Top 10 list of what he considers to be the most difficult pieces for violin. Here is what he had to say:
"Personally, after 30+ years of playing and performing on violin, here is my top ten list (in no particular order), of the most difficult works that involve violin, at least from my view:
1) Suzuki Book 1 (ie mastering the basic concepts)
2) Bach Sonatas and Partitas
3) Mozart Concerti
4) Brahms, Beethoven and Mendelssohn Concerti
5) Paganini Caprices
6) Vitali Chaconne
7) Bartok 6 String Quartets
8) Bartok Solo Violin Sonata
9) Ysaye Solo Sonatas
10) Chausson Poeme
The only works I have yet to perform from this list include: Mozart 1, and 2 Concerti, Beethoven Concerto, Ysaye 1, 2, and 5, and Bartok quartets 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
Regarding the Suzuki Book inclusion, some people may criticize the fact that one would have this on a top ten list. I include it on my top ten list because I DO feel that if one masters the basic concepts in Suzuki Book 1, it can be applied (and IS applied, whether professionals admit it or not), to the most difficult works in the literature."
What would be on your list?
* * *
Below, Jason DePue plays the 24 Paganini Caprices (May 2009):
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Top 10 benchmark pieces in the Suzuki books
Vivaldi A minor Concerto
Bach Concerto in A m
Mozart Concerto 4 or 5
I get the Suzuki idea. I use other books for beginners usually but the principle is the same. When I demonstrate a long whole bow on an open string, fairly slowly to a student, is when I feel most naked. No vibrato or flashy passages to hide behind. Will my bow be steady, my tone pure? We ignore basics at our own peril.
La Folia (requires stamina this one!)
Seitz 1, 2 and 3
Bach A minor
Mendelssohn in E minor
Bruch violin concerto
Beethoven's Spring Sonata
Brahm's Violin Concerto (Concerto agains the violin, which I am determined one day to attempt just because I've heard it's hard!)
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