Violin college audition piece HELP!

June 30, 2017, 11:20 PM · Hello everyone!

I am going to be auditioning for Moody bible institute's music program. For the audition I have to play "Two contrasting pieces moderate difficulty" My teacher and I decided that my first piece is going to be the De beriot violin concerto in A minor and I am currently looking for another piece for my audition. any suggestions? thanks!!!!!

Replies (28)

July 1, 2017, 2:19 AM · Unaccompanied Bach, Fuga from the G minor Sonata. Not too hard and well contrasting.

Cheers Carlo

July 1, 2017, 4:11 AM · Fugue from G minor is "not too hard?" I strongly disagree. It is still a good contrast though. In my opinion, the Loure from E major Partita is easier.
Edited: July 1, 2017, 4:33 AM · OP,

Why don't you contact the head of the music department and ask for a list of acceptable audition pieces? I agree Fugue in G minor sonata is out of the question. In fact, the Fugue is a challenging piece even for an average graduate of a top conservatory.

July 1, 2017, 4:54 AM · Hard, really? That's the easy fugue!

Cheers Carlo

July 1, 2017, 5:04 AM · To make it sound like Bach not to much like Tchaikowsky in some parts is one of the hardest challanged in the Bach Sonatas in my opinion. Its one of those pieces I often dont like how they are played.

Edited: July 1, 2017, 10:16 AM · Perhaps the fugue from Bartok's Solo Violin Sonata. It's a bit shorter than the g minor Bach. :)
July 1, 2017, 10:36 AM · Bach g minor fugue is way too hard for a violinist at the DeBeriot level. The d minor Allemand is a much better choice.

The Romance from Wieniawski d minor concerto also would work. Or Meditation from Thais.

July 1, 2017, 2:47 PM · It may be the easy fugue, but all the fugues are HARD. Come to think of it, even the Loure I suggested earlier may even be too hard. I think I'll leave all repertoire suggestions to Mary Ellen from now on. :)

Then again, the fugue from Bartok Solo Sonata is a great piece, as Bruce suggested.

Edited: July 1, 2017, 8:11 PM · Contrasting to the deBeriot No. 9 you want a slower lyrical piece. My gut tells me that solo Bach is not what they are looking for. This is not a competitive conservatory. I agree with Mary Ellen's suggestion of "Medidation from Thais". The Wieniawski Romance and the Rachmaninoff Vocalise are both a notch harder (as I recall there are some double stops in the Romance; if so, don't go that route unless you can nail those). A notch easier than Meditation, in my opinion, would be the Gluck/Kreisler Melodie - shorter and less difficult but also much less of a showcase of your musicality. Paganini's Cantabile is another comparable possibility.
July 1, 2017, 9:17 PM · I'm confused. The Vocalise is on the level of De Beriot 9? The Vocalise seems way easier, maybe I'm looking at the wrong one.
July 2, 2017, 5:09 AM · Wieniawski Legende is a beautiful piece.Also, Ysaye Reve d'enfant.
July 2, 2017, 8:24 AM · I did weinawski mazurka for many of my auditions, and got through most of them with that piece. :D Good luck!
July 2, 2017, 9:37 AM · You & your teacher should discuss what 'contrasting' means (better, do as previous poster suggested--ask) then look through your repertoire for pieces you play confidently that meet the criteria. You don't say when your audition is, but if this summer, learning new works may not be smart.
My guess is a program such as the one you described is more interested in mastery than any particular level...hence the very open requirements. I'd also bet sight reading may be useful.
Edited: July 2, 2017, 1:40 PM · Jacob yes Vocalise is easier technically than DeBeriot No. 9. So are Meditation and Cantabile, but technical difficulty is not the whole story, and if the OP is applying for the fall he needs something he can knock out of the park in a matter of a few weeks.

Another possibility since you are applying to a Bible institute would be an arrangement of a sacred piece. I would be the last person to ask since I do not play such pieces but I have heard very lovely and tasteful arrangements of such on occasion -- "Go Tell It On the Mountain" and "Amazing Grace" etc. -- liberally buttered with double stops and such

July 2, 2017, 2:04 PM · My thoughts on this discussion:

1. The Bach fugue from the G minor sonata is not the right piece for contrasting as it is extremely technically difficult. It may be one of the easier fugues but I don't recommend it unless you DON'T want to get into the music institute. Also, it is quite difficult to play Bach for an audition well simply because it is so exposed. There's a reason why Bach unaccompanied pieces are used to audition for major orchestras.

2. Although I don't recommend you play something like 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' for your contrasting piece, I agree that the piece matters less according to technical 'difficulty'. For example-The notes to the Schindler's List theme are quite simple. Anyone who knows third positions can master them. However, the mastery of emoting those notes and getting them to sound remotely good is far more difficult. I would agree that Meditation from Thais is much better for a contrasting piece. It is much easier to learn and you can thus focus on the 'contrast' rather than struggling with the technique.

3. The prompt is quite open for the institute I suspect because they want to see the extent of your ability to play both a technical piece and a more lyrical one. To a reasonable level, they won't mind if it's a technically easy contrasting piece. The point of this exercise/audition is to show the judges literally, your lyrical side. That's why they aren't asking for just one piece with both technical and lyrical aspects.

4. I slightly disagree with you Paul that the Gluck/Kreisler Melodie is less of a showcase of musicality and less difficult than the Meditation. Both require a substantial amount of technique and lyricism to properly convey the emotion. Having played both of them in front of an audience, I can confirm that the Melodie is just as lyrical as the Meditation, if not more.

5. I personally would not recommend the Vocalise for the contrasting piece unless you are very VERY confident in your ability to make it sound as lyrical as it can be. If you listen to Anna Moffo's choral rendition of this piece, you'll get what I mean. Because it is a slow piece and somewhat repetitive in its main melody, it is quite easy to bore the judges and yourself if you don't focus on the production of your every note. While it is not technically difficult, it is quite mentally taxing in my opinion.

Hope this helps!

July 2, 2017, 2:56 PM · A slow piece, like a middle movement of a concerto, to demonstrate; tone quality, vibrato, technical control and musicianship.
July 3, 2017, 7:33 AM · Su Han I agree with you about the Gluck/Kreisler Melodie. From the student's perspective it's just a shorter piece. I think students find more opportunities in Meditation. But ... maybe that's partly your point, in a different way.

Middle (or slower) movements can be very lovely. Beyond the likes of Seitz and Rieding, the ones that students have typically been exposed to will include:
Vivaldi A Minor 2nd Movement
Bach A Minor 2nd Movement
Slow movements in Handel Sonatas
Tchaikovsky Canzonetta
Wieniawski Romance

The baroque options require great skill to demonstrate emotional depth without soaking them in vibrato or romantic slides. The Canzonetta and the Romance are rather harder than Meditation in my experience, but they are gorgeous pieces to be sure.

Another slow movement that is really beautiful is the one from the Mozart Concerto No. 3 (G major). However it is not taught as a standalone recital piece in the same way as the Canzonetta, and I suspect that one reason (perhaps the main reason) is because it is actually quite long. I don't think it would do for an audition.

July 3, 2017, 8:25 AM · Meditation from Thais is a piece that every violinist should probably know. It's an all-purpose weddings-and-funerals-and-please-play-something-for-me work. It also works well for an offertory.
Edited: July 3, 2017, 9:26 AM · I second Mary's suggestion of the Allemand in d minor. It is in fact my "weddings-and-funerals-and-please-play-something-for-me work." It could be 2 to 4 minutes long depending on how many repeats you do. No accompanist needed.
July 3, 2017, 10:50 AM · I find Su Han's argument persuasive, but I don't see how it would be wrong to play Bach for an audition to a bible institute. We rightly elevate Bach in calling him "Everest" or "Ocean", but should also see him as a great pedagogue, someone who continues to teach through his music.

The institute's apparent emphasis on Bach is so strong that it's interesting that Bach isn't an audition requirement for violin (it is for piano, organ, composition and ethno-musicology). Ref:

That said, it isn't a requirement, and I personally do not have a specific movement to recommend. (I might also have suggested a movement from an accompanied violin sonata in a minor key or a transcription of a cello suite, but they would not fit the requirements as stated.)

Edited: July 3, 2017, 11:48 AM · It all boils down to what they are looking for and what Matt and his teacher think he can play compellingly. Unaccompanied Bach is beautiful, of course, but it's very hard to pull off and there is also a "for music lovers only" aspect to it. Even with the D Minor Allemande, which is considered among the few easiest movements, the soloist has to convey the "story" to the listener, all by himself (or herself). With Meditation, the composer has largely done that for you.
July 3, 2017, 10:46 PM · J Ray, I'm not particularly saying that it is wrong to play one piece or another, I just highly suggest against it due to how difficult it is-it takes a lot of work to perfect Bach and the OP is, I think, talking about mastering a piece in a couple of weeks.

I completely agree with Paul as well-even the Allemande is considered one of the 'easiest' unaccompanied Bach pieces, it took me many a recital until I was satisfied with it-and even now I think that my first teacher gave the piece to me a little too early. (Aka I wasn't mature violin-wise to invoke all the story-telling aspect of the piece).

In any case, I would recommend the particularly the Meditation from Thais or the Vivaldi a minor 2nd movement as good contrast pieces for this institute audition.

July 4, 2017, 5:27 PM · To be clear, I agree that it's up to the OP and teacher's best judgment and I'm not trying to argue my opinions further here, but I'd like to add the following information which I've found in the current RCM violin syllabus. Ref:

Disclaimer -- like all published lists, personal experience of difficulty will often not match others'. More thought goes into the RCM material and examination requirements than what simple grade levels might imply; sometimes they make mistakes, and expectations of qualitative factors and tempo may vary widely.

Massenet's Meditation from Thais appears in the Concert Repertoire at Grade 8 (nominally 8 years of playing experience).

de Beriot's Concerto in A minor is in Grade 9 (2 movements required 1,2 or 2,3).

Unaccompanied Repertoire first appears at Grade 8. It includes some Telemann Fantasias, but I'll detail just the Bach here:

Partita #2: Giga
Partita #3: Bourree or Gigue

Grade 9 has:

Sonata #1: Siciliana
Partita #1: Courante
Partita #2: Allemande, Corrente or Sarabanda
Partita #3: Gavotte en rondeau, or Loure
Sonata #3: Allegro assai

I won't detail Grade 10, but will just mention that it includes some movements which are to be played together with their doubles.

ARCT, which is higher than grade 10, has the fugues and the Chaconne.

July 4, 2017, 7:17 PM · What grade is "The Last Rose of Summer"?
July 4, 2017, 8:10 PM · Well Paul, after listening to Midori's rendition (attaching the youtube link), I would assume that it is to music what Kobe wagyu beef is to the meat grade system.


July 5, 2017, 3:28 AM · Paul, I cannot tell the grade but I think it is quite hard and I would not be confident to play it at an audition, same for the rest of the polyphonic studies.
July 5, 2017, 9:05 AM · Wow you guys are so serious! Of course I was just kidding about "Last Rose of Summer." Obviously that's well beyond any "graded" system.
July 5, 2017, 9:19 AM · There are quite a few people that ask such questions in a serious manner. ;)

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