I NEED an unaccompanied solo work by a 20th century composer

November 19, 2008 at 05:53 PM ·

Hi everybody !I need your help with suggestions.I have to quickly decide over a solo work for violin ,of a 20th century composer.I have decided to participate to a competition that will take place in 3months from now on(  it will take place in March 2009 .) I just found out  about it , and I know that the time is a bit short , but most of the repertoire required I already know.

Here are the other pieces I will play:

1.complete Sonata 1 by Bach in G minor

2.complete Sonata 2 in F minor by George Enescu

3.either the Mendelssohn , either the Paganini no 1 Concerto. (one of them is more musical , the other one more technical , I need to decide if I want to convince more through musicality , or through technique )

4.a Paganini Caprice ( it will probably be Caprice no.24)

5. here is where I need your help: 1 unaccompanied solo work by a 20th century composer. I really don't have too much clue....

Please, do you have suggestions for a work that is in the range of the other pieces I play? In the mean time , I don't want a work of the difficulty of a Paganini Caprice , because I will not have that much time to spend on it , to perfect it. It is a piece that I would have to squize in my schedule . I also need to decide pretty fast , to start working on it .

Replies (26)

November 19, 2008 at 06:02 PM ·

Polish Caprice by Graczina Bacewicz....very cool, short and impressive. 

November 19, 2008 at 06:13 PM ·

Hello Larisa,

The only things I can think of off the top of my head are the Penderecki Cadenza for violin solo and Caprices for solo violin by Mark O'Connor (very difficult). When I get home can give you some more possibilites.

Hope this helps,


November 19, 2008 at 06:26 PM ·

These are all unaccompanied, by American composers

Songs of Solitude, John Harbison

George Rochberg, Caprice Variations (you can choose which of the 50 variations you wish to play)

Joan Tower, Platinum Spirals

George Perle, Solo Sonata (rhythmically and technically challenging short 3 mvt. work)

November 19, 2008 at 06:28 PM ·

How about one of the Ysaÿe Sonatas? Perhaps he is considered more 19th century, but he died in 1931 and I'm pretty sure the Six Sonatas for Solo Violin Op. 27 were written in the 1920's

November 19, 2008 at 07:23 PM ·

Miklos Rozsa wrote a solo sonata, about which I know little.

There is the Bartok, of course.

November 19, 2008 at 07:32 PM ·

Hindemith wrote a couple of really good sonatas for unaccompanied violin.

November 19, 2008 at 07:53 PM ·

Prokofiev - Sonata

Nielsen - Sonata ( i think!)

John Coriglione - Red Caprices

Reger - Various sonatas & other works, all written after 1900

Good luck!

November 19, 2008 at 08:52 PM ·

Second vote for the Prokofiev  Sonata here - given the difficulty of the rest of your programme, I think it would work really well for you from the point of view of having to study it in a fairly short time period and would also make a good contrast of playing style too.

November 19, 2008 at 09:04 PM ·

Solo Sonata by Erwin Schulhoff, published by Universal Editions. Great if you like a central European sound.

November 19, 2008 at 10:27 PM ·


Phil. the Nielsen is mind bogglingly difficult,



November 20, 2008 at 06:44 AM ·

Prokofiev unaccompianied Violin sonata?  It's a really beautiful piece..and best of luck.

November 20, 2008 at 08:43 AM ·

 I love Esa-Pekka Salonen's Lachen Verlernt.

November 20, 2008 at 09:38 AM ·

I heard Lachen Verlernt in a concert about four year's ago and thought it was a great piece of solo violin writing. Highly recommended.

November 20, 2008 at 10:09 AM ·

A beautiful piece nearly nobody ever plays, is the Paul Ben-Haim solo sonata. To a not-violinist like me, it seems not too difficult.And is really lovely.

November 20, 2008 at 05:45 PM ·

Ysaye unaccompanied sonatas...all of them are good but especially 2, 3, and 4.

November 20, 2008 at 07:01 PM ·

I second the Bacewicz  Capricci. I played these when I was sixteen and they are very effective and written by a woman. There was a very interesting article on her in a Strad issue published a while ago. You can learn them quikly.


Good luck Larisa


November 20, 2008 at 07:02 PM ·

There is a short unaccompanied work for solo violin by Swiss Composer Alfred Felder. It is entitled:  Variations (Victimae pascale laudes).

I have played it several times. It is very effective. It is variations on an ancient chant for the Easter Mass. Ancient and contemporary. Written in 1980 for the 1,000 year anniversary of a cathedral in Switzerland. It is accessible and virtuosic at the same time.

Good luck.

November 21, 2008 at 03:34 AM ·

     Wow, everybody , thank you for responding so quickly ! A lot of good suggestions you gave me , and I am opened to  any others you might have. I still didn't take a decision . I went and looked up either the sheet music , either  a recording for the things you suggested me here. Couldn't find all of them online , but this Saturday I will write all these pieces on a sheet ,  go to a music store and ask permision to read through them all, and hopefully that will help me decide. My teacher's word will probably weight a lot too in the choice I make.


I just love violinist.com! :) Once again , thank you for your inspiring responces.

November 21, 2008 at 04:21 AM ·

In case you didn't know, you can download music for the Ysaye solo sonatas from IMSLP for free

November 21, 2008 at 05:38 AM ·

please don't forget the bloch suites for unaccompanied violin!!!!

November 21, 2008 at 10:08 AM ·

Here's a link to a site worth checking out for new solo violin works: http://violinfutura.com/ 

November 21, 2008 at 01:12 PM ·

Sorry, I don't know if someone mentioned this already, but there's the Red Violin Caprices, by John Corigliano.  You could do a small collection of those, especially the more difficult ones.

November 21, 2008 at 02:44 PM ·

The Prokofiev unaccompanied violin sonata Op. 115 is great but maybe not technically challenging enough.

Kreisler's Recitative & Scherzo Op.6 is an amazing unaccompanied piece.

November 21, 2008 at 02:50 PM ·

Scott, it's actually spelt Ervin Schulhoff with "v" as he was Czech. But anyway, nice choice. Schulhoff rocks!

November 21, 2008 at 03:48 PM ·

wow, you guys! I had a great experience , and I need to share it with you! This morning I started playing through Max Reger , the Preludes and Fuges. I don't know what even to say , I was mesmerized!! So wonderful works ! I didn't think I would find such a profound , emotional style. And they are not very hard. Also , this morning I started reading through Lachen Verlent . Again, WOW!

I started to be amazed by my ignorance! How could I not pay any attention before to 20th century composers? These , and other works that you recommended me here , are incredibly beautiful. And, to think that if it weren't for this competition  , I would still be drawning in my ignorance. I definetely need to open my eyes more from now on . The great masters of the past , yes they were giants , but isn't it a pitty to ignore geniouses of  your own era?

I think this discovery by itself is more important than winning or not  the competition  , because I will be more enriched as a musician from now on.


So , Thank You ! I feel so good now. ( and please, any more suggestions about pieces , or sites where I can find them are welcome)

November 30, 2008 at 04:55 AM ·

nvm-- already covered.

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