Bach Chaconne or Sonata no.1?

Edited: November 2, 2017, 7:48 AM · I have another concern some of the audition requirements for colleges wants perform a partita or sonata from bach and I know both very well but I do not know which one to pick at the moment.

Replies (17)

November 2, 2017, 8:02 AM · What does your teacher think? They should be helping you prepare a program for pre-screening auditions, taking into account all the schools you intend to apply to and finding the set of repertoire that will cover all the requirements and show you in your best light.
Edited: November 2, 2017, 8:25 AM · Knowing well is one thing; playing well is quite another matter. You should pick an already polished piece that shows your best ability. Which pieces have you performed in a recital, for example?
November 2, 2017, 8:25 AM · Recently, performed the Bach chaconne.
November 2, 2017, 8:25 AM · Recently, performed the Bach chaconne.
November 2, 2017, 8:30 AM · Does the audition requirement allow a long piece such as Chaconne? If only an excerpt is allowed due to time limit, G minor adagio or fugue may be a better choice.
November 2, 2017, 8:37 AM · It would be helpful to hear your performance on the Chaconne in order to best advise. I am concerned that the Chaconne is very much more difficult than the Bruch g minor, several orders of magnitude more difficult, and yet your recent question on the Bruch g minor indicates struggles that someone capable of performing Chaconne should not be having.

If you were my student, I would be tailoring repertoire and school suggestions based on your strengths, which I cannot determine without actually hearing you.

November 2, 2017, 8:52 AM · For the Bruch concerto that specific part is much harder because of the shifts mostly but for the Chaconne, it is much easier because it does not go any higher than a high D.
November 2, 2017, 9:21 AM · I would pick your favourite under certain restrictions.
November 2, 2017, 9:36 AM · If you've got video, I'd suggest sharing it. If you don't have an existing video, shoot one minute of the Chaconne on your smartphone, and post it; that should be adequate to judge.
Edited: November 2, 2017, 10:45 AM · "For the Bruch concerto that specific part is much harder because of the shifts mostly but for the Chaconne, it is much easier because it does not go any higher than a high D."

I find this statement alarming.

Much, much more goes into the difficulty of a piece than simply how high a position is required. And the shifts on the Bruch shouldn't be hard.

Editing to clarify that the shifts in the Bruch shouldn't be hard for someone at the Chaconne level.

Editing again to say that I mean no harshness nor disrespect to the OP but it is impossible to discern what might be in the OP's best interest without hearing a performance. I wonder how many other students the OP's teacher has prepared in the past for college auditions, for which schools, and what the success track record has been.

November 2, 2017, 10:59 AM · Mary Ellen said: "It is impossible to discern what might be in the OP's best interest without hearing a performance. I wonder how many other students the OP's teacher has prepared in the past for college auditions, for which schools, and what the success track record has been.
It's hard for the OP to find this information.
Edited: November 2, 2017, 1:45 PM · It's not that hard, actually. In most violin teachers' studios, the students get to know one another over the years.

In any of the studios that I've been part of over the years, whether as a child or an adult, I knew what all of the other students were playing based on recitals (or hearing lessons, etc., plus parents gossip) -- and also got an idea of who was applying where using what repertoire, where they got in, and where they decided to go.

Or you can ask your teacher directly.

November 2, 2017, 1:59 PM · Thanks, Lydia. Good to know.
Edited: November 2, 2017, 4:42 PM · Wait didn’t you just make a post about practicing the “a poco section” of Bruch No. 1? Did your teacher really let you play the hardest Bach piece along with Bruch?
November 3, 2017, 4:55 AM · Hmm.. I do not agree with the statement, that the Ciaccona by Bach is the "hardest Bach piece" or harder than the Bruch concerto.
In my opinion it depends on your technical strenths and abilities. The Ciaccona is mainly in first to third position with passages until up to fast tempo, but not super fast. The rythmical structure is quite clear. Bruch g-minor has a much faster ground pulse and some of the sixteenth-notes are very fast and go in to higher positions.

But I agree, that for some people Bruch might be easier. Especially if your chord playing isn't as smooth yet. But still you will need good and fast chord playing in Bruch as well, but it is more forgiving.

Regarding the Ciaccona to be the "hardest Bach piece". The fugues are technically much harder than most places in the ciaccona due to the faster tempo of the chord progressions. The ciaccona is just very long and your technique has to be relatively versatile. But that also is true for the fugues, which have faster tempi and the same difficulties. Musically to make a good performance of the Ciaccona is another question. But that is also a matter of preference and taste.

To the OP: If you should play the g-minor sonata or the ciaccona is really hard to tell without knowing HOW you play each. But take into consideration, that when you play the ciaccona your interpretation has to be musically on top. With the g-minor sonata there is less freedom to make things sound wrong or awkward. But technically I would say, that the adagio and fugue is (when you play the fugue in a decent tempo) a bit harder to get a smooth performance than the ciaccona. But if I had to decide I would advice you to go with a totally different Sonata/Partita. Both the Ciaccona and the G-minor Sonata do not really go well in auditions I think.

Edited: November 3, 2017, 6:57 AM · I have had several students play the g minor Adagio and Fugue in auditions; it is actually becoming a standard choice when two contrasting movements of Bach are required. I do agree that neither the Chaconne nor the g minor go well in auditions if the student is not really equipped technically or musically to tackle such difficult pieces.

The demands that Chaconne makes on the left and right hands are quite substantial and while I wouldn't go so far as to say it is the "most difficult" Bach (I would be inclined to bestow that title on the C major fugue), I have never met anyone until this thread who would not agree that it is significantly more difficult than Bruch g minor concerto. There is so very much more that goes into the difficulty of a piece than simply what position the highest note is in or even how fast it goes.

For a student who needs to play two contrasting movements of Bach for an audition but who doesn't have the technical mastery for the g minor fugue (the easiest fugue), I would suggest the E major Preludio combined with another of the E major movements--the Gigue is the easiest, but it doesn't contrast with the preludio. If the E major is also too difficult, then the d minor Allemande and Sarabande or Gigue (Gigue is easier).

November 5, 2017, 9:47 AM · Chaccone because im biased towards it :D


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