My Next Concerto

May 21, 2009 at 05:07 AM ·

Hi everyone,

I know this isn't the best place to ask this considering you all don't know my personal level of playing, but I would like to make a selection from an eclectic list.  This past semester at college, I was working on and finished Saint-Saëns' Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso.  My teacher thinks I should play a concerto next, but she is not returning next semester and did not make any definitive suggestions.  

I last worked on the Mendelssohn concerto and I have also played Mozart 5, Bruch, and Barber.  She tentatively suggested Saint-Saëns 3, but I don't want to play that right now because I just played Saint-Saëns and my brother is working on it.  She also suggested Wieniawski 2, but that's not my top choice right now and I don't want to be cornered by lack of suggestions.  She also mentioned the first movement of Sibelius and, while I love the concerto, I don't know how difficult it is.

What I'm looking for is a fairly standard concerto and something that I can play well, but not something that brings me below the level I'm currently at.  Please give me lots of suggestions!

Replies (21)

May 21, 2009 at 10:19 AM ·


I recommend the following roughly in order of preference:

Vieuxtemps no. 4 in d minor op31.

Lalo Symphonie Espagnole.  You don`t mention this. It would be a superb choice at this stage!

Lipinski no 2 op21 in d major.

Glazunov A minor op. 82.

Sinding Suite in a op 10

Conus Concerto.

Khachaturian d minor op 46.

Spohr 8-  Check out Ms. Hahns recording.

Viotti 22 (Much harder than people think....)

Myaskovsky d minor op44.

Of course,  Mozart 4. 

Also it is very sueful to learn the Vieuxtemps Ballade and Polanaise,  Ries Moto Perpetuo and  and Paginini Moses Fantasy,.

I wouldn`t bother with the Sibeliuus until you are really on top of things and confidently do all of it. Its a work you will have many years of palying and if you cna only do one movement it`s proabbly too soon.   These works will segue into it and other works very well.



All very mainstream of course. Its just my mainstream is more eclectic than the main mainstream.

May 21, 2009 at 01:26 PM ·

Excellent advice! We may not agree on who makes prodigy but Buri's advice on musical matters are always impeccable. 

May 21, 2009 at 05:17 PM ·

My standpartner recently won our university concerto competition with the Khachaturian 1st movement.  Really a cool piece.

I 2nd the Vieuxtemps concertos.  And everything else Buri said. :)

Good luck.  Do let us know what you choose!

May 21, 2009 at 08:21 PM ·


thanks Ihnsouk. At least we agree on prunes.




May 21, 2009 at 10:15 PM ·

IMHO, the Khachaturian is a student concerto.  I'd go with Vieuxtemps or Wieniawski, or the Lalo if you haven't done that yet.

May 21, 2009 at 10:41 PM ·

Break out of the mold.

Gian Carlo Menotti Violin Concerto.

May 22, 2009 at 01:25 AM ·

which is almost an anagram of `log in,  not car time.  `That just about clinches it I think.

May 22, 2009 at 01:58 PM ·

How about Lalo Dance Espagnole? My friend who is at a similar level as oyu is playing it and she loves it. It´s challenging for her but not too much.

May 23, 2009 at 05:04 AM ·

 I'm going Lalo (Symphonie Espagnole).  Thanks everyone for your input!

May 23, 2009 at 07:55 AM ·


splendid.   Do listen to the original Francescatti recording.  It was his first and many say greatest recording.  Also Huberman.   He is pretty rough in some patches and sometimes very retro but in the swing of things his playing is awesome and offers a glimpse of a kind of technique not seen so much these days. Much to be learned.



May 27, 2009 at 04:22 PM ·

 Sydney - hi! No suggestions, just... hi! Are you back in KS for the summer? Does it feel strange? (I guess you spent a year in Germany as a teen, so it's not like you've "never left the farm," so to speak.)

July 15, 2009 at 01:48 PM ·

 Not directly related to the thread, one question I'd like to ask, what recording do you suggest to listen to when learning the piece? I mean Lalo Symphonie Espagnole. Thank you.

July 15, 2009 at 07:39 PM ·


I think one of the all time great recordings of the Lalo i Zino Francescatti.  It was the first recording he ever made and is said by many to be his best.  Bit of a downer that.  Suceed early and then downhill all the way....

The nastiest recording I have listened to is a recent release of Heifetz.  Absolutely coarse , harsh sound.  probably why it wasn`t actually releasedin the first place.

Then there is Huberman.....



July 15, 2009 at 10:03 PM ·

 Buri, Thank you. Google turned up two Francescatti recordings; one with Columbia Symphony, the other w Mitropoulos. Are they about the same? There seems to be only one Huberman recording made in 1935. If you have to pick one, which would that be?

July 15, 2009 at 11:25 PM ·


I`m very sorry. I forget which Francescatti recording came first.  However,  the early one is -definitely- rated as the best by far. Hopefully someone can remind me whihc it is.  I can check tonight.  All the old favorites are good in this work with one exception I think:  menuhin never seemed to get to grips with this work and eschewed it after his first (?) recording.

Vengerov provides an over the top modern version whic is worth listening to.  Repin does not really get it in my opinion.   Huberman is full of bumps and such but technically, in spite of this, he is doing stuff that only the very best can do.  An artist well worth ex@ploring but perhaps not immediately accesible to a young player used to perfection.  Warts grow on you in your old age both in reality and metaphysically.



July 16, 2009 at 01:28 AM ·

I guess that's how you become a guru, with warts. With reissues, it's hard to tell which is the earlier. They seem to list reissue dates not the original recording dates. If you have it handy, I would apprecaite much. 

July 16, 2009 at 01:58 AM ·


I belive it is the 1946 recording with Cluytens.  Released by Pearl, it includes the Franck sonata and various other goodies.  A lovely CD.  Incidentally Francescatti toure dwith Ravel playing the Tzigane. He probably knows a thing or two about that piece....



July 16, 2009 at 11:23 AM ·

 Thank you. That's perfect. They are using Francescattie edition on top of it.

July 21, 2009 at 04:52 AM ·

@Brian Lee:

The Khachaturian is hardly a "student concerto." It's not exceptionally difficult in a purely technical sense, but frankly neither is the Beethoven. The Khachaturian concerto was written especially for David Oistrakh, whose recording(s) of the piece I recommend you listen to in order to shine perhaps a bit of a new light on its merits.

July 21, 2009 at 03:07 PM ·

 Hey there Sydney! Long time no talk, we really need to get together sometime!

I have to put in my recommendation for the Vieuxtemps #4, the piece I am currently working on (my last works being the Bruch g minor and Sinding Suite.) I'm told it's a common concerto to give students at our level and yet it isn't one of the ones everybody plays (Mendelssohn, Bruch, etc.) I always enjoy playing pieces that are a little off the beaten track but not out in the boondocks so to speak. ;-) 

Anyways, give it a listen- I'm finding it challenging but not daunting at all; it flows well under the fingers. I'm also personally attracted to darker, brooding romantic pieces so maybe I just connect to the gypsy-like opening melodies and light but macabre scherzo more than other people. :-)


Let us know what you pick!!

July 21, 2009 at 03:13 PM ·

 Well, this is what I get for posting before reading responses!!! 

Lalo is an excellent choice...played it for college auditions and had lots of fun. One of those openings where you say a prayer before you start. ;-)

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