February 19, 2007 at 11:54 PMAbout 4 months ago, an interesting question came up during my violin lesson. What violin concerto should I tackle next for the upcoming competition season? My teacher and I had a lengthy discussion on a couple that he introduced to me. I had already played Mend, Bruch, Tchaik., Sibelius, Dvorak, Wieniawski #1, and a handful of others...and after about a week of thinking, i came up with a list:
2) shosty #1
He quickly ruled out numbers 2-4 saying how difficult it was to win highschool competitions with those concertos. He also then said the Brahms would definetely be a huge reach in terms of performing a polished and musical product. And in return, my teacher gave me his recommendations:
2) Saint-saens No.3
3) Vieuxtemps No.5
I quickly ruled out the barber, because I wanted to learn that in my senior year, and I ruled out Vieuxtemps No.5 because I had already done No.4 and was looking for a different stylistic piece. I then thought of saint-saens and that to me seemed like the most reasonable.
My teacher on the other hand, thought that I should learn the beethoven...and now folks, this is where the dilemma began. Ever since I was 13, I listened to the beethoven VC and just thought how boring and not fun this concerto was! And at the age of 16, i still had that same notion. When my teacher gave me his reasons for why he wanted me to play it (technically, i would have to do countless scales, arpeggios, etudes for string-crossings and bow control, and musically, it would be different than anything that I had played previous) I kind of thought...welll why not?!?!
Then i started to research recordings of the past and present and quickly found a couple that I had enjoyed: Oistrakh, szeryng, Menuhin, Mutter, and Grumiaux. I then started listening to these recordings day and night while learning the piece. I sort of went into this project having a hard-headed mentality, thinking that I would end up hating this piece and just wanting to throw the score out my window...but then I came to a huge realization: There is so much musical and lyrical content in the beethoven than I had ever imagined!
Personally, I love my big romantic concertos, but listening to this 'classical' concerto, I fell in love. Beethoven was truly a genius in his music. Each phrase, each movement, all was placed perfectly and meticulously. this concerto seemed to lack any faults! The third movement especially is so uplifting and joyful.
I then thought about how different my opinions were from when I was 13 vs. when i was 16. Maybe the Beethoven takes a bit of knowledge to appreciate to its full extent? Maybe you need somesort of musical maturity to realize how wonderful the beethoven violin concerto really is?
And now, 4 months later, I am going to be performing the beethoven VC, with a fondness of all my heart and soul in which i am enthralled by this piece of musical perfection this weekend in a competition-like stage. And to think that at the beginning of this journey, I absolutely wanted to nothing to do with this work!
And now I'm a violist . . .
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