Your favourite piece, and the most overplayed concerto and sonata

October 15, 2011 at 10:49 PM ·

hello everyone,

Just posing the same old question, what is your favourite piece and why? I would also like to know what do you think is the most overplayed concerto and sonata? Thanks guys it's for a school report.


Replies (25)

October 16, 2011 at 12:21 AM ·

You do not give a venue, but for college auditions, especially at the graduate level the most played has to be Sibelius Concerto.

October 16, 2011 at 02:17 AM ·

Can't list a favorite, because I love different ones for different reasons.  Narrowing this down to violin concertos, I'd have to say that Mozart 5, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Bruch g minor, Sibelius, and Glazunov are among the front-row contenders.  Brahms, Bruch, and Sibelius, in particular, appeal to the Romantic temperament and passion in me.  To my sense, these three concertos have a gutsy red-bloodedness -- something I readily connect with.

Most overplayed concerto: Haven't got any stats on this, but Mendelssohn e minor comes to mind first.  I think it's a really appealing score; but during my student days, I got quite tired of hearing it in recitals and auditions.  I'd be happy to do it informally in studio; but don't ask me to do it in recital -- I suspect quite a few others are a little tired of it, too.

Most overplayed sonata: I'd have to think about this one, because I don't recall offhand any sonata(s) that I disliked or that I heard too frequently.

October 16, 2011 at 02:42 AM ·

Most overplayed sonata surely has to be Beethoven Spring... I'm actually not very fond of it, find it a bit lacking in message ...

I'm still working through listening to the options so I'm going to hold off on favorite concertos etc for now.

October 16, 2011 at 03:04 AM ·

 My favorite concertos as of now are Concerto Russe by Lalo (not played quite often but sublime) and Khachaturian vc (since it's my piece haha). For me, the overplayed concertos are the Bruch g minor, Mendelssohn e minor, and Bach a minor. Here in school, I always get tired of hearing people practice these pieces all day long. These concertos are good, but hearing them almost everyday is tiring (the Bach a minor in marimba is a favorite of our perc majors).

The most overplayed sonata for me is the Grieg 3. :)

October 16, 2011 at 11:04 AM ·

My favourite piece is the Franck sonata.  However, while I take Elise's point about the Beethoven Spring sonata, the Franck also gets my vote as the most overplayed sonata - though naturally I am quite happy to hear it often.  For me, Bruch's violin concerto no. 1 gets the award for the most overplayed concerto.  I have nothing against the work, much as I prefer the Mendelssohn (the well-known concerto, not the early one) in terms of orchestration; I just think it's hackneyed, at least over here. (Incidentally, the same goes for Rachmaninov's second piano concerto, but this is a violin site.)

October 16, 2011 at 11:32 AM ·

I think one of the most overplayed concertos is Vivaldi's concerto in A minor ... a lower level and I love the piece but I do think it is a little over done sometimes :)

October 16, 2011 at 02:43 PM ·

Most Overplayed Concerto: Bruch g-minor

Favorite Concerto: Sibelius (played often, but never overplayed)

Most overplayed Encore: Sarabanda from 2. partita, d-minor

Note the relation in tonality!

October 16, 2011 at 03:01 PM ·

my favorite piece is almost always whatever piece my kid works on.

but in the process of her working on it and me listening to it at its ugliest forms, it becomes the most overplayed piece.  

then i look forward to the next piece and the vicious cycle continues...


October 16, 2011 at 06:29 PM ·

 Brahms and Tchaikovsky concerti.

Most overplayed? Mendelssohn

Sonata - Beethoven Spring probably.

October 16, 2011 at 09:16 PM ·

Most overplayed sonata surely has to be Beethoven Spring... I'm actually not very fond of it, find it a bit lacking in message ...

Do you get messages from other Beethoven sonatas?  I don't seem to be able to get messages from any of Beethoven's sonatas, much as I enjoy the music. 

October 16, 2011 at 10:06 PM ·


October 17, 2011 at 01:39 AM ·

Bill - I don't know the others well enough to say yet (got a lot of catching up to do) - excepting the 10th which I've worked a bit on.  Grumieau/Haskil's version is anything but superficial and I think hte gold standard.  I've listened to the Spring since childhood and havep played it on and off (played through I should say).  Its still just a nice tune that doesn't seem to take me anywhere.  The 10th is a different composer...

October 17, 2011 at 01:53 AM ·

Ha - I was just going to list Beethoven "Spring" as most overplayed sonata.  Apparently I'm not alone.

Most overplayed concerto:  I vote Tchaikovsky.

My favorite concerto:  Beethoven (not that anybody cares).

October 17, 2011 at 03:15 AM ·

 Working in a violin shop you get snatches of the same things over and over until you start to fear them. If I never hear the opening bit of Bruch again, it will still be too soon. (Unfortunately, it's an especially good phrase for getting the whole violin all at once, so I won't get my wish.) By the way, he wrote another concerto that no one plays that I actually prefer, and there's a very nice Accardo recording of it.

For cellos, it's the Brahms Sonata--from hearing cellists play it over and over I developed a whole piano part for the first ten measures or so that turned out to be completely wrong when I finally heard the non-violin shop version. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the piano is off beat! :-) After hearing that, I'm convinced most cellists play it in a way that the composer never intended, but, again, never again is soon enough. You'd think that everyone would play Dvorak, but they don't and consequently, I still enjoy that one as much as the first time I heard it.

October 17, 2011 at 04:54 AM ·


Michael, Heifetz recorded Bruch second concerto,  but you are right that it doesn`t get a decent airing. Used to be a little popular at one time.  Excellent piece.  I think you will also find there is a third cocnerto (not the Scottish Fantasy either)   which gets evn more not played than the second is not played.  what is the sound of a cocnerto not being played in a forest?



October 17, 2011 at 12:19 PM ·

If you have only one favorite piece, you are missing a world of great music. And I also think that whether or not some pieces are overplayed, NO great piece of music is ever, ever over-listened-to.

October 17, 2011 at 12:30 PM ·

My vote for the all-time most overplayed piece of classical music ever:  Pachelbel's so-called "Canon."  It was charming the first 3 times I heard it, but after the next 18,273,497 times it's lost a lot of its magic.

October 17, 2011 at 12:40 PM ·

I'll put in a vote for Schubert's death and the maiden as a favorite.  The 2nd movement is absolutely sublime.  Bill, I still like Pachelbel and I've heard it over 30 million times.

October 17, 2011 at 01:04 PM ·

Bill: how could anyone write a piece with such sublime musicallity (think back to your first hearing :D ) and then not write another with any impact at all.  I know we have one hit wonders but I don't think Pacabel wrote this at all - my guess (conspiracy theory) is that, as is too common still, is it was a student that he lifted it from.

October 17, 2011 at 03:59 PM ·

P.S.  there's a pretty fabulous recording by James Ehnes of all the Bruch concerti + the Scottish Fantasy:

October 17, 2011 at 04:11 PM ·

?Bill: how could anyone write a piece with such sublime musicallity (think back to your first hearing :D ) and then not write another with any impact at all.  

I didn't write "sublime musicality"; I wrote "charming."  There's a big difference.

And how do you know he never wrote anything else with any impact at all?  Have you listened to all of these?

I certainly haven't, any more than I've listened to all the compositions of Sweelinck, Buxtehude, Frescobaldi and other major keyboard composers of the 17th century.

Pachelbel apparently had some impact on J.S. Bach through B's big brother Johann Christoph.

October 17, 2011 at 06:07 PM ·

Bill: "I didn't write "sublime musicality"; I wrote "charming." There's a big difference."

I know you didn't.  I didn't say you did - that was what I wrote.

But maybe I am not being fair and I should listen to more.  All I can say is that the work I've listened to and played is simply not in the same ball park.

October 17, 2011 at 08:06 PM ·

What Al Ku said.  Right on!!

October 18, 2011 at 03:52 AM ·

  I love berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique
I think vivaldi's violin concerto in a minor in suzuki 4 is way seems like everywhere I go that's what I hear

October 18, 2011 at 08:38 AM ·

I find that the violin concerti I don't love are the ones I haven't heard yet. My favorite is the Sibelius one. Once I thought I didn't like a Bach concerto, then I've heard it again... and I fell in love with it (the Bach double). Because I'm so ignorant about music, there's always a pleasant surprise around the corner.

The preludio of the Bach 3rd partita is by now the piece of music I've heard the most. I'm so addicted to it. I feel euphoria, incredible happiness, overwhelming pleasure, when I listen to it. I love to see Milstein playing it on the youtube video. I don't know the rest of the partita, because I rush to the preludio and I put it on "repeat". I'm also very partial to the first sonata (Bach).

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