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Roy Sonne

Question for Drew

October 28, 2009 at 2:26 AM

Hello Drew,

Having received the programs of your fall student recitals, let me first of all congratulate you on the high level of accomplishment that your students, in large numbers, have achieved.

I notice that once again you have several students who performed the Haydn G Major Concerto. Obviously you find this a valuable teaching piece. In my own experience I have not found it to be of great value for my students, although I have taught it many times since it is often a required audition piece-- so I am wondering if you could help me gain some understanding.

Which technical or stylistic issues do you find the Haydn Concerto addresses for your students?

Which repertoire would the Haydn Concerto normally follow? And which repertoire would come next?

If any other teachers would like to contribute their insights that would also be most welcome.

Best wishes.


From Bill Busen
Posted on November 2, 2009 at 4:18 AM

Since we're mentioning Drew's students' achievements, I just have to chime in here that I spent the afternoon at the Paul Rolland Memorial Violin Competition, which was won by one of Drew's alumni (Kate K, Drew, playing Prokofiev II).  I predicted beforehand that she might win this year to her roommate, another Lecher alumna who was the youngest-ever winner of that competition.  Woot!

From Drew Lecher
Posted on November 2, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Tried to respond yesterday, but it would not load.

Thanks Bill, I hadn't heard about Kate and will have to scold her for not giving me the wonderful news.


Thanks, Roy.


<Which technical or stylistic issues do you find the Haydn Concerto addresses for your students?>


I find that whether the student is 7 or 17, or adult, the Haydn G Major Concerto offers so many opportunities for the violinist to acquire character, style and personality in their playing.


A major challenge for a young or less experienced player, it is so wonderfully attainable on many levels of achievement. The concerto offers the majority of rhythmic patterns we deal with, mixing them within lyric passages and alternately those that are more rhythmic/march-like and  brilliant in character. 


The 1st movement in particular offers the challenge of instantly changing  style with varied bow strokes—détaché to spiccato and strokes in between. When the player is not ready for spiccato another bow style can be easily applied and the concerto, in essence, goes with the flow.


The pace and requirements to play the Haydn G are such that I can keep the student moving rapidly in their technical development via 8va slides, 3rds, 4ths, 8va Study, arpeggio and scale work while also learning to apply the knowledge of Hand Groups and Guide notes in shifts, etc.—all being memorized.


The 2nd movement is a jewel of simple, elegant and tender character that brings out, or begins to bring out, the cantilena/singing quality that is so important.


The 3rd movement is quick rapid-fire fun, developing dexterity and freedom of action with a sharpening of coordination of the bow arm in concert with the left hand fingers and string crossings. 


<Which repertoire would the Haydn Concerto normally follow? And which repertoire would come next?>


Quite often I will place it right after a Bach Concerto, such as the A Minor. 


In this past recital I gave it to a young, 7½ year old, student who came to me recently. She learned and memorized the 1st movement in about 5 weeks. She was playing the Bach Double, 2nd violin part, when she auditioned, and doing it quite nicely. I did not want to give her another Bach right away, so I went to Haydn—she took to it like a fish to water. 


It was not a mature performance, but was wonderful to see and she got a huge applause for her accomplishment—that was her ‘debut’ in the studio:-) Total fun!


Other times, I will use it with a more advanced student to give them something artistically rewarding to work on while tweaking up their technique in a more concentrated fashion preparing for the bigger works.


A year ago, I gave the Haydn G to a more mature player while doing the above, and he won Honorable Mention in the Walgreens Competition, here in Chicago.


Quite often, I follow it with the Mozart #2 in D Major, K211.


Hope this is of help…



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