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Simple but effective

May 24, 2011 at 10:46 AM

The world of violin repertoire is incredibly wide ranging - it ranges from the amazing violin concerto by Beethoven that has been thrilling millions of people for centuries to the simple melody "Twinkle, twinkle little start" which generally marks a person´s beginning steps into the amazing world of of violin playing.  It´s so easy to lose oneself in all the repertoire violin playing has to offer.

I believe every violinist has the desire to be able to play the créme du la créme violin repertoire such as Mozart, Dvorak and Beethoven violin concertos, Paganini caprices and other pieces we all dream of playing but only a fraction are able to.  But the fact remains that if we only keep our eyes on those créme du la créme pieces we so often miss the wonderful, simpler but just as beautiful violin pieces.

This year I played some top-notch pieces such as Tchaikovsky Mélodie, Carmina Burana and a Shostakovich string quartet (which I loved). I loved every moment of playing those pieces and learned a lot from them. But this spring I also had the pleasure of playing Maria Theresia Von-Paradis Sicilienne. It´s a very short, simple piece and it did not require much practising but I loved playing it. I love the simplicity of the melody and how much it conveys emotionally with such little effort. The piece is not very difficult technically and it did not take long for me to get comfortable with it but I loved playing it. 

I performed the piece in a front of a small jury for a yearly evaluation a few weeks ago. I have performed in front of jury many times before with much more advanced pieces but this year I decided to play it simple. I love this piece and enjoyed playing it and it was nice not having to be nervous about performing because I knew I could handle the piece 100%. So I went in and gave the shortest performance of my life but enjoyed every moment of it, particularly conveying the emotional depth of the piece. 

Later on I got the comment: "Beautiful and sincere performance".

So we don´t always need all the fancy stuff to show the beauty of violin playing. Sometimes it´s enough to have it simple but effective.


From Betsey Karako
Posted on May 24, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Awesome post. Thank you.

From Nathan Kroptavich
Posted on May 24, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Congratulations on a successful jury!  I also enjoy the various concerti and solos, but I rarely have opportunity to play them in public.  I am always looking for short beautiful pieces to play at weddings and other venues where a showstopper piece is not appropriate.  I am definitely adding the Sicilienne to my repertoire.  Thank you.

From Sander Marcus
Posted on May 24, 2011 at 11:56 PM

Very lovely. By the way, Maria Von-Paradis is actually famous in medical history. She had some sort of blindness, which today might possibly be considered hysterical blindness. At any rate, she was medically treated by Anton Mesmer, the father of modern hypnosis (which, in its original form, was called meserism; its where the term "mesmerize" comes from). Ms. Von-Paradis was one of Mesmer's most famous patients.

From Mendy Smith
Posted on May 27, 2011 at 1:41 AM

Excellent & thought provoking post!  

I have found that the simpler the piece, the more difficult it is to play it up to my own internal standard - even Twinkle or a simple C-major scale.  There is always something to improve and build upon.

From Charlie Gibbs
Posted on May 27, 2011 at 5:32 PM

Indeed, less can be more.  The other night a violinist friend came over and one of the most enjoyable things we played was scales.  My wife would start on her cello, our friend would start two notes behind her, and I would start with my violin two notes behind that - a scale canon, if you will.  We went slowly and just concentrated on good clean tone - it sounded wonderful!

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