After de Beriot Scene de ballet...

June 27, 2011 at 12:21 AM ·

I'm currently working on both the Beethoven Romance in F and de Beriot Scene de Ballet and I think both are achievable within a few months.  I really want to do the Bruch in G but its too big a technical jump from these.  Any suggestions which piece(s) I should do in between to best prepare technique?

Thanks ..

Replies (23)

June 27, 2011 at 01:52 AM ·


June 27, 2011 at 02:10 AM ·

I thought about that - unfortunately one can not look over the score because its not on IMSLP yet (just under the limit I think).  I did listen to it on utube though and it sounds like a very interesting idea as its a more modern form than I have tried yet while being approachable.

thanks :)

June 27, 2011 at 02:18 AM ·

I'm an amateur violinist and not a teacher, and I shouldn't be giving advice, but I don't think the Bruch concerto would be that big a technical jump after the pieces you are working on.  The last movement may take more work that the first two, but you could get a lot out of the first two movements if you've already worked on the De Beriot.  Go ahead and try it.

June 27, 2011 at 02:49 AM ·

well... I did have a look.  The first part of both the first and second movements 'play themselves', as were - least for me as I'm very much theme driven and these are surely some of the best melodic themes in violin repertoire.  its just after the first bits ... :)  Perhaps I should have another look, it just looked a bit intimidating.  What I don't want is to get into something where I'm too technically bogged down and get bored.  Maybe the correct lesson is which etudes should I have mastered before trying this concerto I'm not sure... I'm sure I'm not strong enough in double stopping....

June 27, 2011 at 02:50 AM ·

Have you already done a Mozart concerto? If not, that is probably a must at your level. After I did De Beriot 9th, I played the Mozart 5. Then I went onto Mendelssohn, which I feel I must recommend AGAINST. I didn't do as well on Mendelssohn as I would have if I'd studied Bruch or Lalo beforehand. I think if you've played a Mozart concerto and the pieces you've listed, you are probably ready to play Bruch. Generally teachers use it as the first major romantic concerto for their students, and it works well in that regard.

Good luck!


June 27, 2011 at 03:01 AM ·

Oh and I just read your comment about the etudes. I think that you if you haven't, discuss that with your teacher as soon as possible. Kreuzter Etudes are probably the best choice. They will take you a longggggggg way on your road of learning the violin. Also for your double stops, Carl Flesch's scale book is a WONDERFUL tool that sticks with most violinists throughout their entire careers.

June 27, 2011 at 03:05 AM ·

I started Mozart 3 and worked hard on it to about 2/3rds of the first movement but then stopped when I changed teachers.  Perhaps I should really go back and complete that first - though it might be more inspiring to start a new Mozart  I'll give that a thought too...

June 27, 2011 at 03:20 AM ·

I started on Kreutzer etudes too early - at this point I think I can play two of them pretty much :)  and needed more grounding so I went back to more etudes - the Whistler pre-Kerutzer I and II etudes were a natural place to start.  They are excellent because they in essence sample the best of many different etude books and are very diverse indeed, I use them as a technical encyclopaedia - there is something for everything that ails you.  I also have the Melodic double stops (a great collection and also fun do to).  Recently my teacher gave me Dont 37 - they are like puzzles and quite challenging for me.  Maybe after then I can go back to Kreuzer. 

June 27, 2011 at 04:47 AM ·


Vieuxtemps Ballade and Polonaise is excellent preparation for the Bruch.  While you are learning it you should get into the habit of playing through the Bruch a couple of times a week without worrying too much about accuracy of tempo.  Try to play things though a few times while pasying careful attention to what might be different and seeing what happens the next time.   DOn`t do anty focused pracitce perse.  This kind of practice can co-exist-with real pracitce for months.  Then when you pick the piece up for the real work it is surprising how much you may have already absorbed from letting it stew in your subconscious.



June 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM ·

interesting Buri - and thats exactly what I do and why I posed the question now well before I'm really ready.  To play anything well I have to get it into my head musically first - that way my brain drives my fingers rather than the other way round (if you know what I mean). 

I took a look at the Vieuxtemps when you mentioned it last time - at the time I thought it looked difficult - perhaps harder than the Bruch (least the first two movements)!  But maybe thats the best strategy - 2 years later you turn to the Bruch and say, wait a mo, this is easy :)  I'll give it another look....


June 27, 2011 at 12:31 PM ·

it just looked a bit intimidating.

Everything looks intimidating when you look at it for the first time.  If you don't try to tackle anything that looks intimidating, you'll never advance.

June 27, 2011 at 03:48 PM ·

I think Buri might shoot me for this but people also make cuts on the Vieuxtemps, maybe that could be an option... Watch the versions on Youtube. I don't think there's a single one that's the least there wasn't about six months ago.

June 27, 2011 at 05:07 PM ·

BIll: heh!  If I wasn't prepared to face the intimidating I don't think I would have picked up the violin again 3-4 yrs ago!  I should have expanded (maybe I did elsewhere) while its great to attack the intimidating, there is also prudence in not taking on the impossible because that can sap your sprit.  For example, I don't think I will do the chaconne or the paganini caprices quite next.. ;)

Emily: you know, I've never even thought of that - it feels like cheating and the bit you skip is probably the bit you will learn the most from.  I'd rather hack through than omit (well, in my study anyway).  Being a perfectionist, once I let myself start cutting I would probably end up with 5 line concertos... But what an interesting thing to do - find out what others are chopping.  I suppose once you master a piece any omission by someone else playing it will hit you like a 2X4...

June 27, 2011 at 07:04 PM ·

 no shooting.

there`s a great recprding by Huberman that makes massive cuts.  It@s definitley easier than the Bruchinterms of the big picture,  but polishing the knotty passages makes the Bruch that much easier to pay attention to the musicicla aspects.





June 27, 2011 at 09:27 PM ·

OK... that planned my life for the forseable future ...


July 23, 2011 at 02:13 AM ·

Update:  well, I was doing pretty well on the de Beriot but its not finished - but I could not resist also playing the Bruch (with some extra time during the last few weeks I've been able to read it over as part of my practises).  So tonight I took it to my lesson and pretended that I was going to play the Scene de Ballet as a trick on my teacher.  Unfortunately she spotted the title and my ruse was undone - but she encouraged me to have a go. 

Well to cut a long story short, its also one of her favorites and she agreed that it was a good idea to drop the de Beriot for now and stick with the Bruch.  The Scene de Ballet has been fantastic as a bridge from sonnata to concerto - it has such a terrific introduction to so many 'modes' - cadenzas, an amazing spectrum of bowing , shifts up to 7th, slow beautiful themes and fast runs  etc [I can see why its one of Buri's favorite stepping stone pieces]. 

But now Bruch in G is mine and I will work on that and continue with the Beethoven romance in F - two gorgeous and complimentary pieces - and I am over the moon....


October 8, 2012 at 12:28 PM · I just found this topic again and its interesting to review and update. I have to admit that I never got into the Vieuxtemps. I worked hard on both the Bruch and Beethoven F but reached a plateaux and decided to leave both for a while. After that I focused on the Mozart G - getting it to the point where I can play through the first and second movements pretty well. My summer project had me go back to the Bach Aminor, which I continued till a couple of weeks ago. Its first two movements are not that far off performance level now (for me). With a new teacher I've worked on the Beethoven F again and I really could perform this.

And, the point of looking at this topic, I've just started the Bruch again! This time instead of reasonable islands between seas of challenge its the other way round. Meanwhile my etude level has improved with work on Mazas, Kreutzer a little Rode and now some fiorillo (which I think are fantastic) and I'm slowly catching up with scales.

But anyone with more ideas for etudes for Bruch go ahead. I've read often that the third movement is the hardest - but reading it over it does not seem so to me - maybe thats because double stops are now less intimidating. I think the most technically challenging now are the chromatic and rapid string-crossing passages. But I think ultimately getting the second movement in tune and in time is going to be the hardest.

I'd love to hear a student version of this - someone playing it reasonably well to give me a more realistic idea of the goal. Listening to Ehnes (for example) is inspiring but also totally daunting!

October 8, 2012 at 01:57 PM · "But anyone with more ideas for etudes for Bruch go ahead."

I always take two approaches to finding etudes to go with my repertoire pieces. One is to find etudes that have many of the same technical problems, and that is the usual way. But I like to also just find etudes that are in the same key as what I am working on (especially if it is not one or two sharps).

At Suzuki Camp over the summer I heard a 12-year-old boy play the second movement of the Bruch, and he played it nicely, with superb intonation.

October 8, 2012 at 03:11 PM · I would go for the Haydn violin concerto!

October 8, 2012 at 03:49 PM · Paul - I've done the same wiht the key thing and its a neat way of letting etudes find you rather than the other way round (meaning taking on an etude that you would not pick since one naturally picks the ones that are easy for you, defeating the object rather). Suzuki kid? thanks... Maybe I should go back to dancing... :p

Sverker - I assume you mean the Haydn C, not the G? I did the latter. Actually, I shied off the C because I think its too similar to the G.

October 9, 2012 at 12:41 AM · Elise,

Whenever I hear a 12-year-old Suzuki kid playing much better than I do, I am only reminded that future of music would indeed be completely hopeless if there no such children. The day my daughter can play better than I will be a happy day indeed. Of course I'm trying to keep ahead of her as long as I can, but if she continues on her present trajectory it is inevitable. Makes me feel better about spending all that money on her lessons and gear.

October 9, 2012 at 05:42 AM · Paul, you are of course right - in the general case - the problem here is only in the specific one!

Actually, my experience is that while a 12 yr old might knock your socks off in a paganini caprice, they have nothing to say in the Brahms lullaby or a slow movement lament ;). Of course there is always the occasional exception where passion as well as technique is prodigious - Smiley posted a youtube of a pianist example recently.

October 19, 2012 at 03:21 PM · Elise hate to temper your self-esteem, but we adult amateurs should not feel so easily superior to children who are technically much superior to us. the thing is, if one's playing is technically lacking (like mine is), you may feel all the emotions and all, but your playing is going to be poor because you lack the technique to express what you feel, and moreover, by technical problems like intonation or ugly sound, you distract the audience from the message. the technically proficient child, on the other hand, just by playing cleanly what is written, can let the music speak for itself and is already a long way with that. I guess I'm just in a humble mood right now.

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