What are your favorite solos works for the violin?

April 4, 2007 at 02:16 PM · Please share your favorite solos works for the violin. Mine are Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin (shallow I am that I really only have this set as a favorite with respect to solo works). There are a lot of other pieces I know that stand well on their own, little bits comprised largely for a lone violin. But, what other great solo works exist of which I may be unaware? I know about a gazillion classical guitar solo pieces, but not really that many solo works for the violin. I played classical guitar for quite some time, and still do every once in a great while. I do love the classical guitar repertoire, but an injury has caused me to turn to the violin. And, boy have I ever been swept away by this one, the violin. I can see now why it has been referred to as the "king of instruments". However, there does not appear to be much in the way of solo works for the violin, at least not like one finds with the classical guitar. The classical guitar is by and large a solo instrument, whereas the violin seems by and large an instrument played in the company of other instruments. But, I prefer to play alone and would like to know what sort of pieces I should keep an eye after, and aspire toward some day.

Replies (24)

April 4, 2007 at 03:03 PM · From: Skowronski: Classical Recordings

Chris: Appears that you have been bitten and smitten by the violin 'bug!'

For solo violin, in addition to the Bach Solo stuff, immerse yourself in some of the Eugene Ysaye Sonatas for Solo Violin. There is a collection of six (6) of them, the most popular being, in our opinion, Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5. If you like solo rep, you're in for quite a treat with the Ysaye. This should do you for starters!

Fellow v.com member, Skowronski, has available three (3) of the sonatas on CD, #1,#2 & #5, all of which received high critical acclaim. And, you might consider going with the home team. May we suggest exploring #2 to begin with.

Check www.skowronskiplays.com for further info.

Or 'search' CD BABY. And let us know if you

take the plunge. Please DO sample some of the audio clips.

Good Hunting!

Skowronski: Classical Recordings

April 4, 2007 at 03:32 PM · Prokofiev wrote a fun sonata for unaccompanied violin, and Hindemith wrote a couple which are interesting. If you like older music, try Biber's Passacaglia. However, nothing compares to Bach.

April 4, 2007 at 03:38 PM · Solo Bach, of course.

Also, Carl Nielsen's "Preludio e Presto", Op. 52, and "Praeludium und Thema mit Variationen" Op. 48.

For more off-the-beaten-path, Andras Borgulya's "Sonata", MArius Flotnuis' "Habanera", and Andrew Houchin's "Scherzo".

April 4, 2007 at 03:44 PM · From: Skowronski: Classical Recordings

Mr. Holzman: ARG thought very highly of our Solo Sonata in D major by Prokofieff as well as the Hindemith Solo Sonata #2. We had the Biber Passacaglia on our musical quilt, but it just doesn't fit our recording release schedule.

For J.S. Bach, you have available our Partita #2 in D Minor.

Best regards,


April 4, 2007 at 04:19 PM · Bach's sonatas and partitas are right there oin the top for me...Ysaye,Biber,Telemann,Hindemith

and who really could forget Paganini's 24 caprices??? ;)


April 4, 2007 at 05:01 PM · Anisha mentioned the Telemann; I just wanted to expand on that. There are the 12 Fantasias for solo violin by Telemann, which are full of nice music that is less technically-challenging than, say, the Bach S&P. It took me years to get a copy of the Grumiaux recording of these; well worth it (although some think it's too 'romantic' a reading of the work). Rosand included #4 and #12 on one of his solo recordings (Bach/Ysaye/Telemann), which introduced me to these pieces.

Larry Samuels

April 4, 2007 at 06:27 PM · Nobody's mentioned the Bartok solo sonata yet?

April 4, 2007 at 07:00 PM · Unaccompanied violin is beautiful, and I second the Ysaye suggestion. Translation of "Ysaye Sonata": Breathtaking.

April 4, 2007 at 08:16 PM · Besides the obvious Bach, Ysaye and Bartok, I have to say I absolutely love Kreisler's Recitativo and Scherzo for solo violin. A real masterpiece.

April 4, 2007 at 08:23 PM · I agree with everyone else too- JS BACH!! The Bach Suites shouldnt be overlooked either- they were origionally written for cello, but are largly also done on the violin now, too.

Good luck!!

April 4, 2007 at 11:08 PM · Greetings,

Jennifer, I think you should probaly avoid contact with cellists for a month or two ;)



April 5, 2007 at 12:58 AM · Maura: Kreisler recorded on solo his version of the

imperial viennes hymn. Beautiful. Very few ever play that piece. Is too "old fashioned"

April 5, 2007 at 02:03 AM · "imperial Viennese hymn"? Uhh, would that be "Gott Erhalte..." ?? Thanks, but I get sort of uncomfortable listening to that one--you know, what with the Habsburgs and all. :)

April 5, 2007 at 03:36 AM · I found it rather interesting to find out that Bach used the theme from the E Major Partita Preludio twice - he also used it (in D major) in Cantata No. 29.

April 5, 2007 at 05:57 AM · besides the obvious S&P, 24 caprices, and ysayes, i like

kreisler - recitative & scherzo-caprice

geminiani - solo sonata in Bb

bartok - solo sonata

reich - violin phase for violin and sampler

locatelli - caprices, especially the harmonic labyrinth (no.25).

cage - chorales

bach - prelude and fugue (vengerov solo violin performance)

ernst - erlkonig arr.

vivaldi also has a solo sonata in manuscript form but i've never heard anyone play it. for the life of me i do not understand why violinists do not typically play baroque sonatas in recital...

angele dubeau recorded the telemann fantasias. she plays them very well but i found the music itself to be unbelievably boring.

April 5, 2007 at 10:12 AM · Poor Max Reger seems to be forgotten completely ..... And what about the 'école moderne' by Wieniawsky? Or the Schnabel solo sonata (only just looking at the manuscript already scared me to death :-)


April 5, 2007 at 12:20 PM · If you like modern solo violin pieces, try to get a 2 CD label NM from Holand,with 24 solo caprices from the Netherlands.Players were Janine Jansen,Benjamin Schmid and Joris van Rijn. Some are splendid, some are good, and some I can't stand, but always original...and extremely hard.

April 5, 2007 at 01:19 PM · Hindemith Sonata #2

April 5, 2007 at 03:57 PM · Thanks again to all. I will seek out the suggested works.

Thank you,


April 6, 2007 at 03:01 PM · From: Skowronski: Classical Recordings

To: Mitchell Pressman

"Sonata (solo) #2 by Hindemith"

Recordings of any violin works by Paul Hindemith are like 'hen's teeth.' FYI, a new CD of the work is available from us on our disc entitled, SKOWRONSKI: ALONE - Works for Unaccompanied Violin. See www.cdbaby.com/cd/skowronski4

ALONE is quite an interesting release and appropriately recognized: "Skowronski: ALONE is a winner! You'll play it again and again."

Chicago Daily Herald


Skowronski: Classical Recordings

April 6, 2007 at 06:32 PM · A neglected, but fantastic piece is George Perle's Solo Sonata. Roger Session's Solo sonata is a great piece, but the harmonic motion is so fast that it is difficult to comprehend.

April 7, 2007 at 09:58 AM · In addition to playing some of the above selections at weddings I have occasionally played some songs with CD piano accompaniment. OK, it's not he best, but hey, it adds variety.

April 7, 2007 at 10:14 AM · sorry - wrong post

April 7, 2007 at 12:36 PM · One work that I have played many times everywhere and really enjovy and is very effective is the Improvisation for Solo Violin by the Canadian Composer André Prévost. It is a wonderful dramatic work of about 7 minutes that really works well.

Of course, one can never go wrong with Bach, Ysaÿe or Bartok.


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