My first (and last) full recital

December 29, 2010 at 05:05 AM ·

Hi everyone,

I'm going to be graduating college in the spring with a BA in Music and decided to put on an elective recital. I have a list of pieces I'm going to play and I was wondering if I could get some feedback on the pieces and if it sounds like it'd make for a good recital. I'm especially worried about length since the recital is just going to be me since I couldn't find anyone to share it with. Ideally I'd like it to be 45-1 hour. Here are the pieces I'm thinking about for the big day! (In no particular order)

Romanian Dances-Bartok


Concerto No. 4 (3rd Movement)-Mozart

Romance No. 2 in FM-Beethoven

Symphonie Espagnole-Lalo

Partita in EM (Prelude and Gavotte)

I'm not sure if this is 45 min-1 hour worth of music but I was told by a friend to take into account time for walking on and off the stage. Should I look into adding a quartet or duet performance to change things up? And/or play one less piece? Is there any particular order I should put the pieces in for the program? Also is it awkward to only play the last movement for the Mozart concerto? Please let me know what you think! :)

Replies (19)

December 29, 2010 at 02:23 PM ·


Based on my calculations you have around an hour of music here (maybe a few minutes over depending on tempos). I don't think playing only the last movement of the Mozart 4th to be a problem (it is a Rondo after all and he did compose two other concert rondos to be played by themselves). With that said there are some people who have objections with incomplete performances of concertos.

I think the Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach (in that order) would make a nice first half, and the Lalo taking up the second half. You could always play either the Bartok or Tchaikovsky as an encore at the end.


December 29, 2010 at 03:48 PM ·

If this were my recital, I would play, in this order:

- Bach
- Beethoven
- Mozart
- Tchaikovsky

A program like this could run 40-45 minutes -- again, as Wayne mentioned, depending on tempos and, as you pointed out, allowing for time to get on and off stage.

I would scrap the quartet and duet.

The Bach gives an energetic start to the program.  I like to start with high-energy, aggressive material that helps me burn off some adrenaline right away.  Then I can simmer down for the more lyrical Beethoven Romance.

The Mozart picks up the pace again and adds contrast.

The Tchaikovsky gives a little breather and, again, a nice switch from the high-energy Mozart finale to another lyrical interlude.

The Lalo, as a whole, is a heavier, more dramatic work than the preceding four selections -- out of whack, to my mind, with the rest of the program.  But the finale is a great way to bring down the curtain.

I would skip the Bartok for this occasion.  "Less is more."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
For an encore, I would have a short crowd-pleaser like Monti's "Czardas" or Kreisler's "Liebesfreud" ready.

December 29, 2010 at 05:14 PM ·

Goodness, I hope it won't be your last! ;)

December 29, 2010 at 05:41 PM ·

 While I like the rationale for Jim's ordering, I have never cared for the 'evolution of music' effect of a chronologically arranged program. And, personally, I prefer recitals to feature 'recital' pieces rather than concertos, tho I know that music school performances have different criteria!

And I second the previous poster's comment that I hope it won't be your last!  Recitals are  a particular variety of gift, and I mean both to audience and performer(s).  Good luck! and enjoy. (wear comfortable shoes)

December 29, 2010 at 05:46 PM ·


I think you have wonderful pieces. I would still advice you to maybe do a bit of different program.

The pieces you are suggesting are quite intense for you as a performer, all of them, and will require you always being the exposed one. Maybe you can afford to share the attention a bit with your pianist, for your relaxation, and as well as the relaxation of the public? I don't believe that a piano arrangement of the Lalo will be so musically satisfying, but be only about showing off your technique when played in these circumstances.

I would suggest the following:

1) Start with some Bartok.

2) Beethoven Romance.

3) A complete sonata, ca 30 minutes.

4) Encore, if you get the heart of the public.

December 29, 2010 at 05:59 PM ·

Consider the pursuit of a degree as only one of many reasons to put together a recital.  There's no reason this should be your last recital, unless you absolutely hate recitals.  There will always be people out there who want to hear you play.  I hope you enjoy it, and don't fret too much about your program.  Be sure to run it through as a dress rehearsal to see how it feels.

December 29, 2010 at 07:22 PM ·

One more thing: how about a web cam? :D

But why DID you say 'last recital' I'm intrigued to know...

December 29, 2010 at 10:21 PM ·

I forgot to mention that for the Lalo I would only be performing the first movement. As an alternative to the Lalo I've also played the Praeludium and Allegro by Kreisler but I thought the Lalo would probably be more appealing to a nonmusical audiende?

I agree with Lena about the pieces being intense for me, I think a sonata would fit in nicely somewhere as a breather....maybe an alternative to the Beethoven? (not my favorite to be honest even though you all suggested it lol). I've played the complete Sonata No. 4 by Handel in high school or I've played the  first 2 movements of Sonata No. 3 by Leclair....not sure which would be appropriate for a recital.

I know the Romanian Dances and Tchaikovsky were least popular here but I  those are 2 pieces (along with the Mozart) that I definitely want to play. I probably should have mentioned that lol.

I'm thinking of combining suggestions and doing something like this?






Leclair or Handel Sonata? (probably only 1 or 2 movements)


Also, I was thinking about putting a quartet in there because most of my family hasn't heard me play with one before. I just found out we're going to be playing Mozart's "The Hunt" (1st movement) so that also might be a possibility to throw in to replace something else.

And for those wondering, I said last recital because as much as I love the violin, I don't plan on going into performance. I'll probably join a local orchestra and perform for my private students recitals or something but I don't think I'll be giving another full recital like this one.

Oh and yes, my dad will be taping and I'll put clips up on youtube lol.

December 31, 2010 at 01:31 PM ·

Good luck with your recital. I really like the program you´ve put together. A pretty sonata is always a good breather between some of the more heavier works. I personally am not very impressed qith Handel´s sonatas but Leclair is lovely. And Mozart composed some lovely light sonatas.

But I´d also reccomend not playing all of Lalo. It´s a pretty heavy work and some individual mvt. are often better than the whole.

But again good luck!


December 31, 2010 at 04:00 PM ·

Okay.  No lecture -- you can't tell people what to enjoy. :)

However, it is a good way to keep oneself in the public eye, and in such a way that you are not another violinist in a crowd of twenty, nor "preaching to the choir."  People approach me, not infrequently, and say "That was just wonderful -- do you give lessons?"  (I always try to help my friends with a referral.)  Maybe you have all the students you want, but you never know.

I am certain your students will get a kick out of your playing in their recitals.  I sometimes forget how amazing a player my teacher is because she is so down-to-earth; there is not really anything of an ego there to remind everybody.  It's always inspiring to hear one of her performances or read the accolades for her recordings.

January 2, 2011 at 01:56 PM ·

I actually didn't think of that.....getting more students by putting on recitals. Thanks for the idea! :)

January 2, 2011 at 02:38 PM ·

 ...not only "get more students" but provide a good example for those you have.  I never studied with anyone who wasn't, at some level, performing.  To me, it seems like having an English teacher who doesn't like to read, or a swimming instructor who hates the water--there's a lack of integrity in a non-performing person teaching a 'performance' practice.

If you had said, after college I plan to be a physician, or a lawyer, or something, that's one thing, but if you plan to teach, I sincerely hope you continue to play--in public!  Good luck with the program.  Recitals really should be fun.

March 8, 2011 at 04:17 AM ·

Hi everyone :) My recital is coming up in a few weeks. This is my program of pieces (in order.)

Partita No. 3 in E Major-Gavotte by Bach

Melody by Tchaikozsky

"The Hunt" by Mozart (1st movement, quartet piece)

Romanian Dances by Bartok (all movements except 3rd)

Symphonie Espagnole by Lalo (1st movement)


Can someone let me know how long this recital would be? I've been kind of worried that it will be too short. There's not length requirement since I'm doing this by choice, it can be as short or as long as I'd like. I'm just worried because I have family driving a few hours to come and see this and I want it to be worth it for them! Please let me know. I was thinking about adding the first two movements of the Sonata in DM by Leclair but I'd have to run it by my teacher first.

March 8, 2011 at 06:31 AM ·

 Lisa, similar to Pierre's number, my estimate for your program is 28.5 minutes (3:15 + 3:45 + 8:30 +5:00 + 8:00).  

You may want to start with the Mozart quartet.  You will feel more confident starting with a group.  By the end of the energetic first movement, you will be pumped up, and the momentum will carry you through the recital.

March 8, 2011 at 08:22 AM ·

Love your program - I'm working on the Hunt too and adore the T Melodie (though can't play it yet).  Though I might play the latter as the penultimate piece for a change of pace,

Do you have one more short and expressive piece in hand for an encore?  Good to do something everyone knows and that is unlikely to fall apart.


March 8, 2011 at 03:17 PM ·

I actually really like the idea of having the quartet come on first :) I'm sooo afraid of going out with Bach first, unaccompanied ugh. Would you suggest moving the quartet first and leaving the rest of the program as is (having Bach follow it?) The only thing I would worry about doing that is that I'm playing 2nd violin and I feel like it wouldn't be presenting myself. Plus I'd be sitting in my awesome dress lol. But I guess that wouldn't be that big of a deal? Thanks for the suggestions! It's really helping :)

March 8, 2011 at 04:48 PM ·

Lisa, your quartet can play standing up (except for the cellist), with first and second violin (you) split on either side,  viola and cello in the middle.

Following the quartet with the Bach solo is good.  The rest of the concert order is fine.

March 8, 2011 at 05:44 PM ·

 If you're going to play standing up (like the Emerson Quartet does) make sure you have a raised platform for your cellist (a podium will do just fine) so that he/she is more at eye level with all of you.

March 8, 2011 at 06:49 PM ·

I asked my teacher, she said I could add the Leclair  sonata and put the quartet first (that was easy?) but I think this is going to be my order of seems the most logical to me.

Leclair, Bartok, Mozart quartet
Bach, Tchaikovsky, Lalo

Leclair isn't too hard so I think it will be a nice warm up and I won't be going out all alone, Bartok seems like it would be a good contrast, and then the quartet can go on right before intermission. Then I can return with the Bach (I'll be all warmed up/comfortable on stage), play some Tchaikovsky (since it is easy and will contrast w the Lalo), then end with Lalo ( the hardest piece.)

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