How should I approach learning the Walton Viola Concerto?
After I finish up learning the Glinka Viola Sonata for a competition this May, I will be working on the Walton Viola Concerto with my Private Instructor, at the age of 13. To anybody who has learned the Walton Viola Concerto - any tips for practicing it? What were some methods of practicing you used?
I previously learned the Forsyth Viola Concerto, if that will help in determining any good tips for practicing the Walton.
I'm learning it now. Self-teaching as I always have with repertoire.
Would practice techniques differ from other major repertoire?
Hi Scott, I was just wondering about techniques that are specific to this piece, not the general practice techniques that apply to most, if not all pieces. Thanks!
Other than the bit about double-stops, I really can't think of anything that would be specific to this piece.
Walton second movement: decide whether you want to do those slurs in the new edition or hooked in old edition to practice...
..or practice both bowings!
@ Brook Roberts ~
There are lots of wonderful violists besides Primrose and Zuckerman that you can listen to for inspiration. And a modern violist may be even better if there is clear video you can watch.
@Paul Deck ~ I'm sure you are correct, however Primrose and Luigi Alberto Bianchi were vintage
Primrose (with Walton), Frederick Riddle (with Walton, 78rpm on U-Toob), Paul Doktor (my favorite), Yehudi Menuhin (with Walton, but not his best viola playing, unlike the Bartok..), Peter Schidlof (BBC live), Nigel Kennedy, Helen Callus, Lawrence Power, Maxim Vengerov, but alas no Pinchas Zukerman!
Practice it the same way as any other piece of repertoire. For me, there are 4 stages in learning; 1) sight-read it; to find out if it is within your technical skill level, do you like it enough to spend the time? 2) "choreography"; design your personal bowings and fingerings. At this stage you also listen and watch recordings to see what the major league players do with it. Also look at the original score so that you are not overly influenced by performance tradition or the editors' opinions. 3) turn those decisions into habits, with repetitions. 4) memorization, start with small chunks, gradually increasing in length. You may combine stage 3 and 4. For me, sometimes the clever bowings and fingerings that I invent don't work so well when memorized, up to tempo, so I will go back to something more traditional. Don't always start at the beginning, sometimes work backwards in large sections, or start with the most difficult spots.
The material in Walton falls into three categories - melodies, fast passagework, double stops. You could decide to focus on any one of these in a practice session. I have recently posted a blog about the Walton sixths:
For the double stops in sixths in the first movement, find the difference tone in all of them.
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