Your Milestone Piece

January 11, 2012 at 05:43 AM · Hello,

Just out of interest I just wanted to no what your milestone piece is/was. Mine has always been the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, I no it's not the hardest piece out there but as soon as I heard I fell in love!!!!!! So what is yours???

Replies (40)

January 11, 2012 at 06:59 AM · It would be the Faure A major sonata (When I've done that I'll worry about the E minor). It'll be a while, because I don't want any technical issues to hamper my interpretation in the least. After that, the Poulenc sonata is the one I want to play the most.

January 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM · One of these days I'd love to do justice to the Bach Chaconne. I've played it, but not anywhere close to my (or anyone else's!) satisfaction.

January 11, 2012 at 05:36 PM · @Terry you can play the Chacconne. If I can play the other four movements decently then I'll feel pretty darn good.

January 11, 2012 at 06:40 PM · Wieniawski Scherzo Tarantelle-- a LONG time ago, spent 6 months with my teacher, practiced like a maniac. Got through it, but just barely. Sooo much easier to play a Heifetz recording.

January 11, 2012 at 07:52 PM · Ysayë please :-)

January 11, 2012 at 08:15 PM · A milestone piece? Impossible. Each time before I’ve done a piece I’d already be looking for the next. What I’ve got is a bucket list, which has Mendelssohn VC, Bach Chaconne, Ysayë, Brahms and Beethoven VCs among others. This year is all about Mendelssohn for me.

January 11, 2012 at 11:16 PM · Mine is Sibelius too, wich I am working on right now. Much technique ;) Other Pieces: Brahms & Beethoven VC. Heavy stuff, but thats why I chosed play violin, we have such a great repertoire. Also Ysaye and Bach Solo-Sonatas I would consider as somehow a peak of violinistic musical expression. But fortunately I don't care too much about specific pieces anymore. I find nearly everything enjoyable as far as it's done good. :)

January 12, 2012 at 02:29 AM · I think every piece that is ahead is a milestone and every one behind is one too. But you are right, some are larger distance markers than others.

I was trying to think of my milesone pieces. I think the trouble is I don't feel I've really mastered anything; every one from the past can still be improved and there is of course the north face of the Eiger in front. Always.

Perhaps Kreuzer #2 is one. I finally managed to play through it without stopping. Since I've been trying on and off for 3 years thats truly a milestone! I can't think of a piece that I would hang my hat on as it were.... Maybe when and if I perform something significant that will become my marker. ee was here.

January 12, 2012 at 04:03 AM · Paul,

I started looking at the Chaconne again, just to see if I thought you were right. I bet I could do it better this time around, but I still feel like I've got a few things to work on in the meantime. I'd love to be able to really really play that piece!


January 12, 2012 at 04:09 AM · I would consider myself "arrived" when I can play "Long, Long Ago" and make people cry. :)

January 12, 2012 at 04:33 AM · Sometimes it's not just the piece, but the circunstances and venue. None should be despised, but Carnegie Hall is still Carnegie Hall. And to be a concerto soloist with a major orchestra - "'tis a consumation devoutly to be wished."

I would love to do almost all of the major concertos with orchestra .(I've done a few, as well as innumerable recitals.) But if to choose one, somehow I think Sibelius.

And if technique, stamina, etc. were no obsticle, one crazy fantasy I have, which I think no one has done, would be over the course of 3 unaccompanied recitals in one weekend - Fri. and Sat. eve and Sun. afternoon - ALL of the 6 Bach, the 6 Ysaye and the 24 Paganini caprices! Each recital would have 2 Bach, 2 Ysaye, and 8 caprices. The pieces would not be in written or printed order, but rather selected for balance and interest, and relationship. For example, one program might start like this - and I actually did so in my last unaccompanied recital: the Bach E major followed by the Ysaye "Obsession". Then for an encore, to each of the first two, one of Pag.'s unaccompanied pieces like "God Save the King". And at the end of the final recital, the encore would be Milstein's "Paganiniana".

Then after all of that, I'd probably have to spend some time in a sanitorium!

January 12, 2012 at 06:10 AM · I told myself at the (relatively recent) start of my violin journey that I will eventually play the Chaccone and the Handel-Halvorsen Pasacaglia duet for cello and violin with my brother. Not just play them through either, play them to their full musical extent.

January 12, 2012 at 10:21 AM · Raphael, that is quite ambitious ;) I heard very good violinists struggle through all the Bach Solo. Its maybe more amazing for the performer than for the listener.

January 12, 2012 at 10:25 AM ·

January 12, 2012 at 02:53 PM · It's just a fantasy!

January 12, 2012 at 03:15 PM · Well in the very distant future, the Kreutzer Sonata. But I'm chuckling writing it down. I can't even bring myself to look at the music, b/c it's an incredibly long road ahead. If I never get there, oh well, it's the journey right?!

In the nearer future, I'd like to play the Bach Double with my son. He just started Suzuki Bk 4, and I look forward to playing this together - it will be a milestone for us both.

January 12, 2012 at 07:52 PM · Joyce- I'm confident I could make people cry by playing my violin at them... regrettably, though, not in the sense you mean.


January 12, 2012 at 08:42 PM · This year will be about Bartók, if Wonderful Teacher will let me continue. It's all somewhat in the spirit of brave Ryan Vaughn. I'm at the stage of "how am I ever going to play this", but it's now or never. I'm OK with never, but not without trying.

January 13, 2012 at 03:15 AM · Now going back from future fantasy to past reality, a couple of seasons ago I played the Rondo Capriccioso for the first time - and from memory.

Last season I came out with my 2nd CD, which includes the complete Bach D minor Partita (with Chaconne) the Brahms A major sonata and 3 short pieces.

A couple of seasons before that I came out with my first CD with all short pieces, including a couple of my own arrangements.

A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the production of the CD's, from the initial practicing, to the recording sessions, to the editing, then the actual planning and physical production of the CD's, including program notes, photography, graphic design, etc. After my 1st CD came out, a colleague asked me what I was most proud of - meaning what piece, which track? I said "hmmm... let me get back to you on that." The next time I spoke to her I said "you know what I'm most proud of? Just doing it - finishing the project from start to finish."

I'd call the above milestones.

January 13, 2012 at 07:15 PM · I'd love to be able to master the Glazunov.

Or to be able solidly memorize anything. I've never been able able to memorize violin music, even though I can sight read choral pieces from memory. :-)

January 13, 2012 at 07:23 PM · How does one sight read a choral piece from memory?

January 13, 2012 at 07:54 PM · Mind's eye does it:)

January 13, 2012 at 07:56 PM · I think you have to write the music on the inside of your eyelids.

January 13, 2012 at 08:05 PM · christian - LOL! But maybe we could get special glasses that do just that - like a fighterpilot's helmet.

So you think the audience would the audience be bothered if I wore a fighter pilot helmet on stage? Might also be useful if things didn't go quite to plan and there was a barage of rotten tomatoes. Just thinking...

January 13, 2012 at 11:52 PM · SIBELIUS CONCERTO.

January 14, 2012 at 03:33 AM · How does one sight read a choral piece from memory?

Stand in the front of the bass section, and listen closely to the bass line on the piano. It's not too hard to figure out the baritone line from there.

Oh - and read the director's lips.

January 14, 2012 at 03:51 AM · My teacher laughs at me (in a good way) because every time I hear a new piece I tell her I want to play it someday. Bruch, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Sarasate Carmen Fantasy, Saint Saens, Vivaldi Four Seasons, Ysaye, Shostakovitch, the list goes on and on. I'm not sure how many I'll actually get to do, but I'm gonna try my hardest for as many as I can!!

January 14, 2012 at 04:14 AM · I'm the same Betsy - except I go one step further and buy the actual music - so now I have a dream library and a fantasy ability!

January 14, 2012 at 05:53 AM · elise, lol... same here! :p

January 14, 2012 at 06:31 AM · The Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams, definately the piece I want to play before I die!!! That or Hebrew Melody by Achron, which I've played but never performend publicly.

January 14, 2012 at 06:40 AM · Haha! I would buy the music too, but I kinda have this weird medical condition called hunger, so all of my money goes toward medicine for it at wally world...but whenever my brother has a guitar lesson at the local music store I tag along and annoy the salespeople by pawing through all the sheet music. When I actually get to buy something I do a song and dance in the store, and then annoy my teacher by playing through it with all the wrong techniques before my lesson.

January 14, 2012 at 10:31 AM · Betsy - I hope you've discovered - every classic for free?

January 14, 2012 at 04:33 PM · Elise & Betsey - same! I like to read them in bed, even I don't dare try them (yet!).

January 14, 2012 at 04:38 PM · Elise - I knew it existed, but I didn't know how to get there. Thank you so much!!

January 20, 2012 at 11:20 PM · How does one sight read a choral piece from memory?

I know someone who claims to have photographic memory and "sees" sheet music in his head, so his memorization is actually sightreading the entire piece from memory.

January 21, 2012 at 01:41 AM · Well, y'all are more advanced than I am. Bach Double. :)

January 21, 2012 at 08:00 AM · Erica: another piece thats grossly underrated because (I think) its in a mid-level Suzuki book. There's nothing easy about this piece and there are also some wonderful versions on you tube by the very, very best.

The very thought that it is a beginner's piece is ABSURD. I would love to say it was one of my milestones ...

January 21, 2012 at 08:03 PM · Thanks Elise. I am very honored to be playing it, and I treat it with very much respect. I think I must have 6 CDs of this piece. The more I listen to Baroque music and listen to my teacher (Baroque performer-period instruments) work with my kids on the cello suites (on viola) and the S & P's (on violin) and some Bach concertos the more I learn (and am in awe of) the special sensitivity it takes to play Bach and why it is so beautiful. I get to listen to a lot of amazing music in their lessons. Of course they played the double ages ago, and I am just getting there. :)

January 22, 2012 at 03:27 AM · Mendelssohn VC; in the (distant) future: Bach Ciaccona, Sibelius VC, and Dvorak VC!

January 22, 2012 at 06:54 PM · well so far in my journey, mine would have to be De Beriots Scene De was after i used an excerpt from this peice to audition for an orchestra when i made the commitment to go to college for the violin. less then six months later i almost done with the base learning of Saint Saens and i have been selected for a masterclass with a solo bach movement.

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