Chamber music that both rusty ex-students and advanced players can enjoy playing together

September 14, 2016 at 08:14 PM · A group of people at work and I want to start playing chamber music for each other. We have a wide range of playing ability, and we will all need to spend some time getting back into the hang of things. There is talk of one of us trying the cello or viola part, because life is short.

I'm looking for suggestions for pieces that are in their original form (no simplified arrangements), that we could all enjoy. I don't want someone who is a comfortable player and does gigs on the weekend to feel bored; but I also want someone who hasn't played in years and was just waiting for a group of people and the opportunity to feel like they wouldn't be welcome.

No idea where to start. Help!

Replies (9)

September 14, 2016 at 08:51 PM · How big is the group and what instruments do they play?

September 14, 2016 at 09:20 PM · Your group is as strong as its weakest member...

so advanced players will have to make a lot of compromise and giving before they start receiving.

Baroque era is relatively easy to start with, until one starts going deep into nuances and historically informed performance. There is zillion of trio sonatas (2 violins plus continuo) and some of them are easy to practice and perform.

Unfortunately, viola is not represented all the way to CPE Bach and a few works of Telemann.

If you have enough musicians to form a quartet, the real fun, but also real work begins.

September 15, 2016 at 03:37 AM · Regardless of the instrumentation you can always find something by Vivaldi or Telemann. And you know what? Those were a couple of fairly tasty composers. Look at Boccherini as well, and I second the motion for CPE Bach.

The other trick is to play easier movements of works that might be hard overall.

I recommend you get in touch with someone who has been running a Suzuki summer camp because they usually have a bead on the easier chamber literature.

Serve champagne at your rehearsals. Everything will sound good then.

September 15, 2016 at 03:47 AM · I'm just throwing out an idea I don't know how well it will mesh. Maybe the less experienced players could play a somewhat simplified version of their parts, and the advanced players play the normal score.

Right now my school is playing Elgar's Enigma Variations. There's a simplified version of all parts available for it, but I don't have any links.

September 15, 2016 at 06:02 AM · If you have a string quartet, try reading Haydn quartets. There are so many good ones. You will need a strong first violinist. The other parts aren't as demanding usually.

September 15, 2016 at 04:52 PM · Just adding a suggestion along the Telemann line of thinking - his canonic sonatas for two treble instruments are easy and satisfying if you're looking for duets.

In the past, I've also read several Mozart quartets with musicians of varietal skill levels.

September 16, 2016 at 01:31 AM · Haydn requires a very strong 1st violinist. If you have that, give them a go. Mozart (band 1) is also a great place to start. Some of the Bach fugues are good - easy notes but a great exercise in group counting even for the most experienced players.

September 16, 2016 at 04:04 PM · If your friends tastes include more modern compositions, try to find Duetti for two violins by Luciano Berio. It is a collection of 30+ duets intentionally written for every permutation of beginner, intermediate, and advanced grouping of the duo players. In performance, multiple violinists stand in a semi-circle and duos are played with just short breaks between them. The performers select the duos and the sequence to play them. It doesn't have to be in numerical order - this is Berio.

My son played this when he was 11 at an Eastman School performance. One of his duo partners was Oleh Krysa, a professor of violin. Another of his duo partners was an 10 year old girl. Other members of the semi-circle were Eastman undergraduate and graduate students. You get the idea about mixed skills in each duo. This performance used 10 of the duos and lasted about 19 minutes.

It is memorable music, and great fun for the performers.

September 16, 2016 at 09:15 PM · I like AD LIBITUM Intermediate Level Trios, Editio Musica Budapest

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