Bruch G Minor?

October 31, 2017, 4:16 PM · Hello,

I had a quick question relative to the Bruch G Minor Concerto. What pieces does one need to have played before attempting this concerto? Which pieces would be essential to learn so that one can easily succeed in playing the concerto?

Replies (21)

Edited: October 31, 2017, 4:55 PM · If you're asking what you can study that would make the Bruch seem easy, my answer is Mendelssohn or Lalo.

But seriously ... most students do a couple of other concertos first, often Mozart 3 and Kabalevsky, along with some solo Bach, and a few of the more serious show pieces like Kreisler P&A, Rachmaninoff Vocalise, Bartok Romanian Folk Dances (for the Bartok watch Tessa Lark on YouTube).

October 31, 2017, 5:11 PM · I think it's more important to know the techniques required. I don't believe you have to have learned certain repertoire in order to learn a particular piece. If you're technically and musically ready for it according to your teacher, go ahead if you want.
October 31, 2017, 8:39 PM · In addition to those already mentioned, 3-octave scales and apo. Scales in thirds, sixths and octaves.
November 1, 2017, 4:03 AM · Mozart G major (K216) is something good to start before the Bruch, the 1st and 2nd mvt of the Bruch isn't so technically difficult, but the 3rd mvt is much more of a challenge.
November 1, 2017, 4:33 AM · That's okay. Nobody does "third movements" any more. :)
November 1, 2017, 5:23 AM · OP,

In another thread haven't you stated that you are finishing Accolay and looking for the next concerto piece? You can attempt Bruch in a few years after building technique and repertoire as others suggested.

It is not just in your immediate horizon but start listening to professional recordings of this beautiful, almost seductive piece. I highly recommend Milstein's Bruch.

November 1, 2017, 12:18 PM · Usually people at least do the Lalo first movement before doing Bruch, along with some other pieces mentioned above. Lalo first movement isn't that terribly challenging if you're really practicing your scales and arpeggios well, but it is a necessary stepping stone to doing Bruch because it gets you used to more of the style needed for Bruch as well as moving all over the finger board.
November 1, 2017, 1:38 PM · Bruch immediately after Accolay? Yikes.
November 1, 2017, 3:48 PM · @Jason,

I'm pretty sure you do Bruch before Lalo.

November 1, 2017, 3:58 PM · Actually I sometimes teach Lalo before Bruch, depending on the particular student's strengths and weaknesses. They're very similar in difficulty; it isn't a clear cut "do this one before the other one" situation.
November 1, 2017, 5:22 PM · I did it in this order:
Accolay, Bach in a, Haydn in G, Kabalevsky in C, 2nd movement of Wieniawski, 2nd movement of Bruch, first movement of Lalo Symphonie Espagnole, then the rest of Bruch in g. I also played Kabalevsky Improvisato with Bruch.

While I worked on Bruch third movement, I picked up a couple solo Bach (Allemanda and Corrente from Partita II, Adagio from sonata I). I have finished Bruch all movements and now I’m working on Saint-Saens and Paganini Caprice no. 16.

Honestly Bruch isn’t as technically daunting as other concerti and my teacher would usually teach Bruch - Wieniawski - Saint-Saens - Mendelssohn - Lalo . From what I’ve gleaned, as Ms Mary Ellen said, they are all pretty similar in difficulty.

I think most people also play a couple Mozart before diving into Bruch and after Kabalevsky.

Edited: November 1, 2017, 5:32 PM · Wieniawski is harder than Bruch or Lalo. Saint-Saens and Mendelssohn are similar in difficulty but Mendelssohn has a slight edge because it is so long, and because of those octaves on the first page. Both SS and Mendelssohn are harder than Bruch and Lalo by a significant amount; they are also harder than Wieniawski in my opinion unless the upbow staccato represents an obstacle.

3rd movement of Bruch is significantly harder than the 1st two movements, and also harder than the 1st movement of Lalo.

Edited: November 1, 2017, 7:12 PM · This might also depend on how solid a student's technique is before they start major concerto literature. I think my childhood teacher did not like to teach the concert-hall concertos, so to speak, until a student was ready to learn them at a level where he would be teaching a few specific techniques that were unusual, rather than reinforcing basic technical security.

Many of the posters here seem to have teachers who push them towards Bruch the moment that it might be possible for them to get the notes.

November 4, 2017, 7:30 PM · Is this a reasonable order of pieces to reach the Bruch?

Accolay 1, Bach A Minor, Med. from Thais, Sic. and Rigaudon, DEBERIOT no. 9, Tambourin Chinois, Prael. and allegro, Bruch.

(Various etudes/Flesch scales in middle of this)

November 4, 2017, 8:17 PM · My students work on the Monti Czardas, Corelli La Folia Variations, Ten Have Allegro Brilliante, Haydn G Major Concerto, Vivaldi Four Seasons, Mozart G Major Concerto, and Sarasate Malaguena, among other things.

It does depend a lot on their age and what they are good at. In some cases, I have kids do to the Wieniawski Scherzo Tarantella and the Legende, before the Kreisler P&A. More recently I've had them do the first movement of the Lalo Symphonie Espagnole before Bruch.

However, students who have covered more technical material in Kayser/Kreutzer and have their fundamentals down really well probably don't need to do as much repertoire to get there. Again it depends on the balance between technical work and musical growth, lots of factors that are unique to each student.

November 4, 2017, 8:38 PM · Tambourin Chinois is much harder than P & A.
November 4, 2017, 9:09 PM · Wieniawski Scherzo Tarantella is harder than all of those, I think (including the Bruch in raw technical difficulty), at least if the intent is to play it cleanly and in tune...

Edited: November 4, 2017, 11:37 PM · I don't believe the Scherzo-Tarantella isn't as challenging because it relies so much on repetitive patterns, the rhythms are not as complex, and younger students with smaller violins don't have such a difficult time getting up to the higher register. It's dependent on the student...I avoid it with the ones who are hitting their major growth spurt in their teen years; we do it before or after.

I don't believe in assigning any student a work of music that they cannot play cleanly and in tune with a beautiful sound. Skills are first, and interpretation is after.

Edited: November 5, 2017, 7:36 AM · Scherzo Tarantelle is a funny piece in terms of difficulty. I've never thought of it as all that hard (not saying it isn't hard, just that I find other pieces more difficult) and yet I once assigned it to a very advanced student who, much to my surprise, crashed and burned on it. It wasn't the left hand that he struggled with; it was the string crossings.

Any listing of pieces in order of difficulty should be viewed as a rough guide; individual strengths and weaknesses have a profound effect on what a particular student may struggle with.

November 5, 2017, 7:51 AM · There are some beautiful Tchaikovsky encores too: Melancholic Serenade, Waltz-Scherzo, etc. I believe Oistrakh recorded them all on one or two albums.
November 5, 2017, 9:16 AM · I had the same issue -- getting the bowing seemed impossible until it clicked into place. Speed required an unexpected amount of practice time, too.


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