Concertos on a recital program?

April 7, 2007 at 05:15 PM · With the great wealth of sonatas and pieces for violin and piano, plus unaccompanied violin selections, there are enough recital selections for a life time. But what about the violin concerto literature? How many of you have programed a concerto, with piano accompaniment, occasionally into your recitals?

Replies (26)

April 7, 2007 at 05:20 PM · Not being a professional, I don't think I can give you the answer you're looking for. As an amateur and a student, however, I certainly have played the usual Vivaldi/Bach/Mozart concerti or movements with piano accompaniment.

There is a CD of a 1950 (or so) Library of Congress all-Paganini recital by Zino Francescatti in which the major piece is the complete 1st Concerto with piano accompaniment. It is rather spectacular, and the piano accompaniment makes it a decidedly different experience than the usual orchestra backup.

April 7, 2007 at 05:32 PM · I've played Wieniawski d minor Concerto on recital programs. There are some concertos that lose more than others from piano reduction. I would not be inclined to play Sibelius Concerto with piano accompaniment. The feeling of this piece seems to depend more on the orchestral timbres than do some other violin concertos. I enjoy hearing, or playing, a violin concerto on a recital program from time to time.

April 7, 2007 at 06:47 PM · I'm smiling right now because I was practicing the Sibelius last night, knowing that I will never get to play this with an orchestra, knowing that it would not be a good idea to play it at a recital, yet wishing that I could have the experience of sharing it with my students, friends, and the community.

April 7, 2007 at 07:39 PM · I have a wonderful recording of Milstein playing the Mendelssohn with piano; delightful!

April 7, 2007 at 08:44 PM · Gary Kroll wrote: "I'm smiling right now because I was practicing the Sibelius last night, knowing that I will never get to play this with an orchestra, knowing that it would not be a good idea to play it at a recital, yet wishing that I could have the experience of sharing it with my students, friends, and the community."

Who is to say that your fervor to share the music won't overcome by double any minuses that the piano reduction may present?

April 7, 2007 at 09:16 PM · I've played Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart 4 on recitals. Note: do not put Sibelius in the second half...bad idea :) I think people occasionally enjoy hearing concerti on recitals, it's out of the ordinary and occasionally educational hearing them without the orchestra.

April 8, 2007 at 02:25 AM · I know that Perlman did Bruch G- at one point with Rohan Dasilva.

April 8, 2007 at 05:58 AM · On one of my ten minutes (I played one on viola also), I played a movement of the DeBariot Concerto in A minor for violin.

On my half hour, I played mvt. I of Lalo Symphonie Espagnole

On my hour, I will be playing mvt. I of Mendelssohn

And I've heard of big names playing them too. Personally, I don't see why some people are against it. I like being able to show a variety of genres/works in my recitals, and the concerto, especially for the violin, is a pretty significant chunk of rep.

What were you thinking of playing?

April 8, 2007 at 10:39 AM · i tend to leave the recitals to the sonatas and smaller works such as..zigeunerweisan and chaccone by vitali.

how do you get the same feel playing scottish fantasy or tchaikovsky with a piano?

April 8, 2007 at 10:56 AM · I don't think it's a huge deal as long as the reduction isn't so terribly not close to the orchestra sound. Actually, I find Sibelius to be a less offensive reduction, especially compared to Brahms and Beethoven concertos.

April 9, 2007 at 07:10 PM · I find it awkward to perform conertos with a piano, which I've had to do on several occasions for competitions. I preffer to perform sonatas with piano as this was the composer's original intent for the peice. (I'm a composer as well as a violinist, so I'm really sensitive about these sorts of things.)

April 11, 2007 at 05:02 PM · I am not an expert on this subject, but from what I have observed, playing concerti with piano accomp seems to have been far more widespread in the past. The Schubert Club in St. Paul has a big recital series, and I saw an old program on which Heifetz played the first Bruch concerto with piano accompaniment, despite the availability of the SPCO and MO. Yet I have never seen any modern violinists do this, in fact, I have never seen showpieces on a recital, except as encores. Perhaps a matter of respect to the pianist?

Of course, the high school senior recital is rampant with piano-accomped concerti, but that is more a matter of the inavailability of orchestras.

April 11, 2007 at 05:20 PM · There is one other consideration that should be taken into account as to whether to play a concerto with piano and that is the talent of your pianist. I've worked with a pianist who was a student of Arthur Loesser that can get more colors out of a piano than some conductors I've heard(how about worse than most) can get out of an orchestra. So the question is not simply the instrument but the talent of the person playing it. Think of the Liszt Beethoven Symphony reductions--no lack of colors there!

I've also heard comductors of great orchestras manage to make a monochromatic sound despite the palette available to them(a horrible Scheherezade with the Cleveland ORchestra on tour this years with a small talent conductor, for example). I'm not so sure it's the instrument, rather the instrumentalist!

April 11, 2007 at 05:23 PM · I thought I read that Heifetz used to infrequently program concertos on his recitals. Can anyone confirm that?

I've done Wieniawski, Barber, Mozart, Bach and others with piano on recital programs before. It does and can work but as already stated, sometimes you can lose a lot of the essence of the piece in a piano reduction. I recently turned pages for a friend's performance and she did the Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 and I was actually suprised at how well the piano part worked.

April 12, 2007 at 05:11 AM · I think if properly placed a violin concerto can work on a recital program. For instance a Concerto by Conus, Wieniawski F# minor, Ernst, or a one movement work like Dvorak Romance, Vaughn Williams Lark Ascending, or Chausson Poeme can work very well on a well devised recital program.

April 12, 2007 at 04:33 PM · I would say go for it if you need the experience performing it for something like a competition or future performance with orchestra. For professional recitals, it seems a little odd to me; there are so many great sonatas, showpieces, and salon pieces that playing a concerto without the full-fledged orchestra... well, it seems like "why?" but like I said, if you are doing it for friends and family to help make you nervous before a competition or something, it's a great idea.

April 12, 2007 at 04:50 PM · For a professional recital as in somebody with a career, yes, no, except for some good reason.

On the other hand a professional with no solo performing career, then why not really, if you want to?

What about even a "concerto recital" with a recorded orchesta accompaniment, in that case?

April 12, 2007 at 05:17 PM · It depends on the concerto. If it's a concerto where the colors of the accompaniment aren't important then it shouldn't be a problem. If there's a lot of back an forth play between the soloist and the orchestra then it may not be a good idea (from a musical standpoint).

Vivaldi or Bach concertos, or even Paganini, where there aren't as many colors or where the soloist is meant to be the focal point would be fine, but something like the Berg concerto probably wouldn't be a good idea in my opinion.

April 12, 2007 at 11:18 PM · Greetings,

I suspect Mr. Perlman comes to Japan to practice his up coming engagements in front of a sympathetic audience. He`s played the Bruch with piano quite a few times...



April 13, 2007 at 12:17 AM · Everybody there wished he'd ripped out the Kreutzer sonata instead though.

April 14, 2007 at 09:31 PM · I believe when Perlman or Rosand perform concerti on recitals, it is a throwback to the beginning of the twentieth century. I mean, would you rather hear 4 sonatas, or a sonata, showpiece, and concerto? Good for them :)

April 14, 2007 at 11:09 PM · Depends what sonatas.

May 10, 2007 at 05:51 AM · Actually - it was very common in the 19th century to perform concerti with piano accompaniment. With the grammophone and later more sophisticated recording techniques, however, it became more important competitively to play with an orchestra. It doesn't suprise me at all that some people have an aversion to playing concerti with piano - not in this era of "perfection." My feeling is that if Milstein did it, if Ysaye did it, if Joachim did it, let us do it too - providing, as Amy eluded too, the piano transcription is well thought and sufficient.


May 10, 2007 at 07:00 AM · I think part of the reason that no one does it now is because the orchestral reductions are depressing. The opening of Sibelius makes me wish I was dead...

I think some good pianist/composer should make reductions for very talented pianists, who can accomodate a harder piano part for a better result.

May 10, 2007 at 07:01 PM · Violin concertos are good as recital pieces if they are well written. I have played Rieding, Millies, Mozart, Vivaldi, and Bach. All of them went well and the audience loved it. The thing is if you don't know your audience then you've got yourself a problem. You should try to play a piece that you know your audience is going to like. Let's say that your audience is composed of quiet people who keep to themselves. The body language suggests a more dramatic piece that starts out quiet and intense and grows to this huge intense feel and then drops back. If your audience is a roudy bunch than I would recomend a piece that is lively and has some bounce to it. The quality of the piece is important but so is knowing your audience.

May 17, 2007 at 07:11 AM · So... how exactly do you predict this, if they're going to be rowdy or reserved? I must say, I've never come across an audience in which every person is alike, nor an audience that prior to the concert forms a concensus of their demeanour for the duration of the concert.

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