The greatest violin & piano encore piece? (your opinion)

April 13, 2009 at 12:25 AM ·

I know everyone has their favorites. But which violin & piano encore do you feel is the greatest combination of melody, technique, and audience involvement? It doesn't necessarily have to be the most profound. My vote is Paganini's "Witch's Dance" (it was his favorite, too). It's structure is the model for a great encore piece - a beautiful introduction, an appealing melody, variations that display what the violin is capable of technically, and a spectacularly brilliant ending. What's your choice?

Replies (27)

April 13, 2009 at 12:57 AM ·

The Hot Canary by Paul Nero. One of the most charming, funny, virtuosic pieces I've ever heard. :) Great for audiences of any age.

April 13, 2009 at 10:52 AM ·

Scarlatescu's Bagatelle. A fantastic piece. Neveu's recording is so extremely beautiful that nobody

plays it after her.

April 13, 2009 at 02:37 PM ·

L'ouange a l'immortalite de Jesus - Messiaen. From an audience standpoint.

April 13, 2009 at 09:59 PM ·

Ruth is clearly correct.  :-)

April 13, 2009 at 10:08 PM ·

I vote for Liebesfreud.  I don't care if you're all tired of it.

April 14, 2009 at 08:57 AM ·

I vote for Elgar's "Salut d'Amour." But I've always been partial to slower, more reflective, non-flashy encores...

April 14, 2009 at 08:21 PM ·

3 Oranges March~~Prokofiev/Heifetz

April 15, 2009 at 01:38 AM ·

I heard Midori play the Meditation from Tchaik's Souvenir d'un Lieu Cher.  I thought that was a very appropriate encore.

April 15, 2009 at 09:18 PM ·

The Hora stacctao

April 15, 2009 at 11:40 PM ·

Great question - and all the pieces mentioned would make fantastic encores, but I think responses are always going to polarise along the lines of:  Do you prefer a violin recital to end with something incredibly flashy/technically brilliant with a real "Oh Wow!" factor?   OR:  Do you find it more fulfilling/satisfying  to end up with something quiet, slow, melodious, perhaps even "simple" in some respects, but of course played absolutely gorgeously...

I've been to recitals that have taken one or the other approach and I have to say that for me, the quiet, reflective and breathtakingly beautiful encore seems to provide a more "complete" ending to a fine recital for me...  Ideally the best of both worlds - 2 encores - the first something completely dazzling and pyrotechnically brilliant, the 2nd quiet and thoughtful.

It would be fascinating to hear from those violinists on here who are regularly performing recitals, which kind of encore ending you personally find more rewarding as a player.

Can never go wrong with a movement of slow solo Bach, can you?

P.S.  I'm ashamed to admit I'm not sure if I know Paganini's "Witches Dance" - anyone got a favourite recording?!

April 16, 2009 at 12:32 AM ·


Perhaps you know "Witches Dance" by it's other name "Le Streghe."


April 16, 2009 at 02:41 AM ·

"Witches Dance" or its equivalent (Le Streghe) - the very very best recording of it in my opinion is the one made by Riggiero Ricci accompanied by his teacher (Louis Persinger). In recent years it's been re-issued on a two-CD set, including vintage records of Sarasate pieces and a few others (like a spectacular Bazzini). Le Streghe is the best on record by anybody, and the Sarasate and other bon bons are tossed off with an elegance, charm, and technical panache that's impossible to forget. Ricci was, I believe, in his 30's when these were made.

April 16, 2009 at 12:05 PM ·

Thanks gentlmen <bangs head on wall> yes, of course Le Streghe!   Actually that Ricci re-issue has been on my wish-list for ages and given I have a couple of Amazon vouchers sitting around I think temptation may get the better of me today...

April 16, 2009 at 03:07 PM ·

Sarasate's Ricci-Persinger was IMHO the best on record. Ricci was on top form in the 50s.,and had an obvious affinitity and love for the pieces.His virtuosity is amazing, and Persinger was a very good pianist (besides violinist, Ysaye's pupil and teacher of Ricci, Menuhin,Camilla Wicks and Stern)

April 18, 2009 at 11:01 AM ·

The recording of Paganini's Witches' Dance (Le Streghe) I admire most is by a v.commer, Emil Chudnovsky. It's a sparkling combination of charm and virtuosity.

Every time I hear it, it puts me in a state of thoroughly enjoyable envy.

And it's on the Net, free, by permission of the artist, here.

More on topic, but still off: the most memorable encore I ever heard was André Gertler playing the third movement (Melodia) of Bartók's Sonata for Solo Violin.

April 22, 2009 at 05:05 PM ·

I vote for the Ysaye-Saint-Saens Valse Caprice.  Devilishly hard and worth every bit of it!


April 23, 2009 at 05:41 AM ·

I think an encore piece shouldn't be too long. I personally think the Saint Saens Valse Caprice (which I am working on right now) is a bit too long. I vote for Estrellita by Ponce/Heifetz

April 27, 2009 at 04:04 AM ·

Recuerdos de la Alhambra

if you can play it

April 27, 2009 at 11:44 AM ·

That beautiful piece is know through the great recording of Ricci, and it's think his own transcription, but really it is a work of the great english violinist Philip Newman, almost unknown today except to specialists.

April 27, 2009 at 08:52 PM ·

I have the sheet music but didn't know there was a to assume it's a rare recording?

April 27, 2009 at 09:42 PM ·

BTW, is there going to be some kind of poll or voting thing for this?

April 27, 2009 at 10:40 PM ·

Jonathan: Ricci's recording is on a CD label ONE ELEVEN, I think now defunct and very difficult to find. The other is a SYMPOSIUM with all the known recordings of Josef Hassid and Philip Newman. This one is a MUST have for every violinist or student. A true collector's item you have to have before it's lost for ever.

April 28, 2009 at 04:55 PM ·

here is Leonidas Kavakos

August 22, 2011 at 07:36 PM ·

Elite Syncopations by Scott Joplin, arranged and recorded by Itzhak Perlman

It's a great ragtime tune written for piano that sounds even better when arranged for violin/piano

August 23, 2011 at 12:03 AM ·

I heard that Heifetz (at least) once played the Kreutzer Etude No. 8 (E major) as an encore.  Of course that would have been unaccompanied.  It doesn't really meet any of your criteria, but I bet the students in the audience enjoyed it tremendously.  Those were simpler times.

August 23, 2011 at 10:19 AM ·


Girl with the flaxen hair.

Scherzo Tarantelle

Suk-Opus 17

Tchiak- melodie.

Danse espagnole


Is this more than one?


August 23, 2011 at 10:37 AM ·

Anything from KREISLER :-)

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