Chausson Poeme

August 6, 2007 at 05:24 PM · how difficult is the Chausson Poeme? How does it difficulty compare to such works like Intro and Rondo Capriccioso, Havanaise, Khachaturian VC, Bruch VC, Saint-saens VC, mendelssohn VC? What are suggestions/tips for learning to play it?

Replies (24)

August 6, 2007 at 05:38 PM · Poem has some technical challenges, octaves in a high position, a few runs, bunch of doublestops but they are all incidental. It is all about the tone and expression. Your technique must be superb so that you don't have to worry about the technical side and can enjoy playing the beautiful melody. I find that it requires different kinds of vibratos. For instance to make the first violin Bb note sound good is a challenge (at least for me). It requires a slower vibrato, and unless I am warmed up really well, my relaxed vibrato is just too fast. Anyway, this is probably not what you want to hear.

Just to master the technical side, I think that having done some Paganini capricces at least is a must. I don't know how to compare it to other pieces. It is way more sophisticated music than lets say Bruch or Saint-Saens or Mendelsohn. It is more like Ysaye's Ballade, although that one is more technically demanding than Poem.


August 7, 2007 at 03:03 AM · Lucia, perhaps you are aware of this already, but your comparison with Ysaye's Ballade is most apt. It was to Ysaye that Chausson turned to seek help in how to effectively write for the violin the solo passages that include the arpeggiated accompaniment along with the main theme.

August 8, 2007 at 03:25 AM · How difficult (technically) is the Poeme compared to Zigeurnerweisen? If a teacher gives me the option of playing sarasate carmen fantasy, do you think that she will let me play chausson poeme for this coming school year?

August 8, 2007 at 04:26 AM · Poeme and Zigeunerweisen are two entirely different styles of can't really compare them one-on-one. And given that we don't know your teacher, it's impossible to know her opinions on what repertoire you should be playing.

August 8, 2007 at 05:46 AM · I find the technical challenges of the Sarasate Carmen Fantasy greater than those of the Chausson Poeme or the Zigeunerweisen. The Chausson, however, is a very different piece of music- its virtuosity completely woven into the musical texture and of far greater profundity than the Zigeunerweisen and Carmen Fantasy which are definitely vehicles for virtuoso display. More crucial, I think, are the kind of preparatory exercises one can do to meet the technical challenges of each piece. If you wish to know, feel free to e-mail me regarding that since it would take up considerable space here although I am not at all averse to offering detailed advice like that here. Sometimes, choosing a particular sequence of pieces is tricky because in the case of,say, the Mendelssohn concerto and the Lalo Symphonie espagnole, I find the first movement of the Lalo technically easier than the first movement of the Mendelssohn yet I find the last movement of the Lalo much harder than the last movement of the Mendelssohn, so I usually opt to teach the Mendelssohn concerto before teaching the Lalo. I do this also because the Lalo is of a more advanced style harmonically and rhythmically with more rapid key changes and unusual rhythmic patterns than the Mendelssohn and most students , having learned Mozart concerti and the Bruch G minor prior to studying the Mendelssohn, will find working on the Mendelssohn a more natural next step compared with the Lalo. If the choice were between the two Sarasate pieces, I'd definitely learn Zigeunerweisen before tackling the Carmen Fantasy. It would also be beneficial to have begun some work on Paganini caprices in preparation for the Carmen Fantasy. Though you did not ask about this, as regards Paganini, I find a good entry level Paganini piece to be his Sonata in E minor which Perlman has recorded quite nicely in versions with violin and guitar as well as violin and piano. That piece will certainly help with melodies in parallel thirds , rapid shifting, learning to play higher up on the G-string, as well as with left hand pizzicato- all skills used in a more technically challenging way in Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy.

August 21, 2007 at 03:14 AM · Is anyone up on reliable editions of the Poeme, etc.? I have some textual questions...

August 21, 2007 at 03:14 AM · Is anyone up on reliable editions of the Poeme, etc.? I have some textual questions...

August 21, 2007 at 09:59 PM · From: Skowronski: Classical Recordings

Dear Mr. Klayman:

Mr. Skowronski recently recorded -with piano- the Chausson 'Poeme.' If you have a specific question relative to 'something violinistic' in the score, please feel free to contact us.


Skowronski: Classical Recordings

August 21, 2007 at 10:13 PM · From: Skowronski: Classical Recordings

To: Chris Meyer

It seems your 'technique meter' is running helter-skelter! YES, the Poeme is a very difficult work. But, until you feel absolutely convinced that the Poeme will become a 'walk in the park' for you, we would advise that you steer clear until things that you have already mentioned above have been learned and then properly digested.

There was once a motion picture entitled, "The Deep." That's perhaps perfect imagery of how enigmatic, wonderfully elusive and mysterious the Poeme can be.........and that's only on the surface!! Nevertheless,.......let the big horse run!

Bona fortuna........S:CR

August 21, 2007 at 10:55 PM · "let the big horse run"

I love it !!!!

August 22, 2007 at 03:09 AM · OK - I currently have two editions. One is edited by Raphael Bronstein as part of the book, "The Science of Violin Playing". The other is the International edition, edited by Francescatti. Here are my questions:

In the Bronstein there is an editor's note citing "corrections which Chausson made in collaboration with Ysaye after the first publication". I'll only cite the ones where there is a discrepency between the two editions. (I also won't deal with Ysaye's rewrite near the end.)

1. 14 bars after #11 - A natural in the 1st triplet, A# in the 3rd triplet.

2. 1 bar before #12 - A# in the 2nd triplet.

3. Number 20 - last beat D natural and C natural descending, C# and D# ascending. same thing an octave higher , 2nd bar after 20.

Do you agree/disagree with these corrections? I tend to agree with points, 1 and 2. I'm not so sure about the 3rd point.

August 22, 2007 at 04:19 PM · From: --vps/S:CR--

Dear Mr. Klayman:

As for my experience with the POEME by Ernest Chausson, I used a Carl Fischer, Inc. edition published in 1940. This edition is listed by Fischer as the "New Edition Revised by GUSTAVE SAMAZEUILH." If you do a Google search, you will discover that Mr. Samazeuilh was well-connected to and with Mr. Chausson, which may have led to the revised 1940 edition. By the way, how is your French?

As to your questions: the Samazeuilh revision reads as follows--

Your #1: A-sharp in 1st triplet; A-natural in 4th triplet AND A# in 6th triplet which leads to the downbeat of bar 15 on a B-natural!

Your #2: A-natural in 2nd triplet; 6th triplet is spelled high G-sharp, B-natural, G-sharp and E-natural which resolves on the downbeat to No. 12 with a high A-Natural Octave.

Your #3: At Score No. 20, the 2-bar, 9/8 insert has the following-- as indicated by the Key Signature...F-sharp and C-Sharp BUT with an accidental D-sharp appearing throughout the 2 bar insert. At the 6/8 FF molto espressivo.....all returns to 'normal.'

WHEW!! "These are the facts," according to the "New Revision." I trusted Carl Fischer's edition, so I played what was on the page. Moreover, Chausson's student, --noted French critic, author, composer and scholar--, Monsieur Samazeuilh, is herein held accountable for his revision.

August 22, 2007 at 09:30 PM · Listening at half speed (without pitch change) to recordings of Milstein and Heifetz playing the Chausson Poeme, reveals that they play exactly what is printed in the Carl Fischer edition ( mine is a slightly later reprint from 1958)as outlined by Mr. Skowronski. I also note that Robert Gerle, my teacher at the time, had taken great pains to mark in my part which accidentals to not forget to play also in keeping with the printed score.

August 22, 2007 at 11:22 PM · Very interesting! I'll to more comparing. I wish I could get hold of Aaron Rosand's copy, which is supposed to have Sammetini's markings that he in turn got from Ysaye. Anyway, thanks!

PS - Ronald, how do you do that half-speed thing with no pitch change?

August 23, 2007 at 03:48 AM · Hi Raphael,

Regarding the playing at half speed: Using Window Media Player 9, copy the track from the CD then play the track from the "Library" then select from the play menu "play speed" and choose "slow" which is half speed. (You may find this option in a different place on other versions of Windows Media Player) In addition to revealing the actual pitches for comparison,the dead-on intonation of Heifetz in this passage was also revealed, with that tricky fifth slightly cleaner in execution than Milstein. A similar technique can be seen on the Heifetz video in which he plays Scherzo Tarantelle in slow motion showing a remarkable efficiency of left hand movement.

The Aaron Rosand CD containing the Chausson Poeme is available on Amazon - it also contains performances of Lalo Symphonie Espagnole and Saint-Saens Third Violin Concerto.

I am also going to check pitches in the passages you had questions about on my Oistrakh, Francescatti and Perlman recordings and report back to you what I find.

August 23, 2007 at 05:03 AM · I have now finished checking the Oistrakh, Francescatti, and Perlman recordings. The Oistrakh and Perlman play exactly what is in the Carl Fischer edition, with the exception that at the downbeat of Rehearsal # 20, Perlman plays a "B" above the repeated "G" from the end of the previous bar one assumes to break free of the repeated G's and create a greater climax to the phrase. Whether this is "kosher" or not I leave to others to debate. Francescatti is the lone performer who plays an A natural in the first group of triplets in 3 measures before rehearsal #12. Interesting. Well, there you have it.

August 23, 2007 at 05:34 AM · I'm not a huge fan of this piece sorry, but I would say that it's a pretty difficult piece to play well. It's not as technically difficult as Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy or Wieniawski's Polanaise, but in terms of its musicality it's tougher than the others listed because it's not as showy and it's a big work as well..

August 23, 2007 at 11:40 AM · Thanks!

December 31, 2007 at 03:26 AM · how hard is Chausson compared to Wieniawski #1 and Ravel Tzigane?

December 31, 2007 at 04:56 AM · the wienawski suggestion was more of a joke...

December 31, 2007 at 05:18 AM · Yeah...Chris, just for a little taste of things to come, Wieniawski 1 OPENS with a passage in tenths.

January 2, 2008 at 05:23 AM · k, how about compared with Ravel Tzigane?

January 2, 2008 at 07:01 AM · chris... don't take this like I'm being rude but...

Just pick a piece, get over it, and learn it. They're all hard and they all take great facility. You have a ton of suggestions, just go buy the music already, and learn it. You'll be fine.

January 2, 2008 at 07:24 AM · Wieniawski that's an easy piece!

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