Which piece of violin music do you dislike the most ?

April 26, 2012 at 03:46 AM · Which piece of violin music could you quite happily do without ? Either you are sick of playing it or you never liked it in the first place.

Replies (57)

April 26, 2012 at 05:52 AM · I know this 'may be wrong' but the ones I 'really' dislike I refuse to go anywhere near them and therefore do not play them, but there again I am only an adult amateur so perhaps I can 'afford' to be like that LOL :D

the ones I dislike the most are:

Ashokan Farewell (this is the one on the very top of the list) and Vivaldi concerto in A minor

The first probably as it really is not a style of music I like yet I have heard too many people playing it and I am really 'fed up' with it, the second as I've heard it way too many times played so badly and I think I only heard a decent rendition after I've heard it played badly a million times, so by that time in my head it sounded like a very bad/boring piece already LOL ;)

April 26, 2012 at 09:17 AM · Any kind of well-meaning rubbish written by well-meaning but un-talented violinists: Seitz, Rieding, Viotti etc. I prefer transcriptions of proper music.

Life is too short to play ill-written or tasteless "music". We don't feed our children junk food!

Or do we?

April 26, 2012 at 10:04 AM · Ravel's Tzigane: it has great difficulty; you need a superb technique, you must put in so much hard work, and it ends up sounding like that.

Horrible. Gah!

April 26, 2012 at 01:42 PM · Beethoven's F major Romance op. 50. I disliked this as a teenager because - if I remember correctly - my teacher, very good though he was, set me to learn this straight after the Spring sonata. I wasn't happy about learning two Beethoven works in succession and would rather have learnt Bach's A minor concerto. I thus took against op. 50 and found learning it to be rather a chore. Since resuming playing about two years ago, I have relearnt it by way of building up a repertoire. I admit that I was formerly prejudiced against it, but I still don't think it to be Beethoven at his best or particularly inspiring.

Edit: The same goes for the violin part in Schubert's Trout quintet. While I have heard this work with pleasure in the intervening years, I once allowed myself to be co-opted into learning it as one of the players over an extended period. Though I was 16 at the time and had been playing since age 7, I still wasn't really good enough for the part and thus didn't feel on top of the music and didn't enjoy the experience. I won't be playing it again. Though the work is good for easy listening, I have bad memories.

April 26, 2012 at 01:52 PM · lol. Jo. I'm working on both of those right now. What can I say? I'm just following the lemmings.

April 26, 2012 at 02:58 PM · "Meditation" from Thais. I never much liked it to start with, and after it was used at my sister's funeral, I just can't bear it in any way, shape, or form.

April 26, 2012 at 03:10 PM · I agree with Graham, Ravel Tzigan. Bolero, though is even worse.

April 26, 2012 at 03:25 PM · Somehow, I never did care for "The Lark Ascending." I've never played it, and have no desire to learn it. It seems to me to be the musical equivalent of watching grass grow.



April 26, 2012 at 03:32 PM · "Any kind of well-meaning rubbish written by well-meaning but un-talented violinists: Seitz, Rieding, Viotti etc. I prefer transcriptions of proper music.

Life is too short to play ill-written or tasteless "music". We don't feed our children junk food!

Or do we?"

I love this stuff...guess I have no taste.

My least favourite: Williams Lark Ascending...perfect for insomnia...

April 26, 2012 at 03:36 PM · Gotta take issue with Adrian. Some of the student concertos, I give you, are less than well done. I have to list Kuchler as a personal un-favorite. But some of them--and I think Rieding at least, from your list, fits this category--are real miniature musical gems; maybe not at a Beethoven or Bach level, but worthy nonetheless! Call it the amethyst to the diamond, but by no means a fake :)

actually, some of my least favorite pieces--and this is terrible--are the first couple Bach transcriptions in Suzuki 3. I love Bach but these are the pieces I've heard butchered too many times :)

April 26, 2012 at 03:46 PM · Accolay...

April 26, 2012 at 03:53 PM · I agree with Kathryn. My favorite "student" piece is the Viotti Concerto #22. While it may not be the most technically challenging piece for a violin virtuoso, musically it is as compelling as anything ever written.

I think there is a difference between:

1. Playing and/or listening to a piece so many hundreds or thousands of times that it is like constant elevator music in your brain, in which case you simply get saturated with it,


2. Playing or listening to a piece that simply rubs you the wrong way, whether you've heard it once or a thousand times.

Someone once asked Zino Francescatti how he is able to keep from getting stale after having played a piece like the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto for the thousandth time. He said that he always tries to find something new and different every time.



April 26, 2012 at 04:14 PM · Kit Jennings: good job I am 'not' your neighbour ;) hahahaha (probably good for you also as you wouldn't want to hear 'me' playing anything! LOL)

April 26, 2012 at 04:31 PM · This kind of thread is dangerous, as everybody is entitled to love/dislike whatever they wish, and there are bound to be wide disagreements. The key, of course, is not to take things personally, and just agree to disagree. Tradition (as in liking/hating what's traditionally "supposed" to be liked/hated) and personal taste-as well as our individual, given personalities-often also play a role here.

Take the beautiful Beethoven violin concerto, which to many traditionalists you have to be 157 years old to really play with any sort of musical maturity. While I enjoy the music, I cannot relate to its godly status in the violin literature (nor to that given to many of his output, just because he's Beethoven.) Wonderful music (I LOVE many of his violin sonatas myself), and VERY influential to many who followed him, but also one of those big names that makes other "lesser" composers look "bad" or even "tasteless" in comparison, when in fact everybody should be able to compose/craft their art whichever way they prefer, and not just according to one inalterable standard/musical aesthetic. For instance, Paganini wasn't meant to be Beethoven-therefore, his music shouldn't be compared unfavorably to that of the celebrated composer, and just be heard/enjoyed for the niche it was supposed to fill; it can subjectively be great fun and beautiful in its own right, after all. Indeed, one of the works quoted above as "tasteless" and the work of an "untalented" composer (no offense to the poster meant at all) happened to be loved by both Joachim and Brahms, who also were great admirers of Beethoven's concerto masterpiece-the hauntingly beautiful and concert hall-forgotten Viotti Concerto No. 22.

I cannot say I dislike any piece of music in specific, although certainly I sometimes prefer some lesser played gems (whether "rightfully" neglected or not) than some other hackneyed works of the "standard" repertory. I do have less appreciation for the more subjectively "jarring" works of a few more modern composers, even though they have/had the right to compose whichever way they want/wanted, and not they way I'd rather have them to (I am also not a huge fan of minimalism, although I don't deem it "garbage"-to each their own.) In the end, music is music, and I just like what I like, and just tend to ignore (perhaps to my own detriment), rather than despise/hate/have personal disdain/mock the works I don't really enjoy as much (whether I am "supposed" to like/dislike them.)

April 26, 2012 at 04:51 PM · I have to agree with Kathryn that the Kuchler Concertino is just about the worst thing written for the violin. It has less musicality than Kreutzer No. 2.

April 26, 2012 at 05:52 PM · Ronde des Lutins! aaaaggghhh!

Daft, daft, "music" that needs great violinistic prowess. What a waste.

and, yes, Meditation from Thais is one of the most lugubrious and maudlin pieces of music I know.

PS - yes, Adelberto, maybe it is a bit destructive to focus on those pieces we dislike or even hate. Still, sometimes we don't even think about the quality of some of these works. we just get on with them, and I believe that, ultimately, that is even more destructive of our sense of aesthetics.

All the samne, if it moves you, thenit has done its job, no matter.

April 26, 2012 at 07:57 PM · I can't think of any music I hate - but for whatever reason I highly dislike the Schubert's Konzertstuck (Concert Piece).

I have actually performed this piece and even when in the middle of my performance I remember thinking how much I didn't like it and knowing I wouldn't have played it if my college professor hadn't insisted.

Fifteen years later...I still feel the same way. Weird huh?

April 26, 2012 at 08:21 PM · No, not weird, just consistent.

April 26, 2012 at 08:41 PM · I've been thinking about this since the "I Hate Bruckner" blog. There are a small select number of pieces I love, and an larger, but still limited, number of pieces I really like. But I can't come up with any music, or composer, that I really dislike, or hate. There is a lot of music that doesn't do much for me, but nothing I'd single out for particular animus.

Almost invariably, the more I hear or play a piece, the more I like it. Pieces that I thought were just "meh" when I first heard them have grown into some of my favorites. So I don't really have the experience of having something become worse with repetition, only better.

April 26, 2012 at 08:46 PM · I was being deliberately provocative, now I'll be a bit more precise:

Rieding's little Concertino in B minor is charming, as is the "Hungarian" concerto; I was thinking of a D major one, which is utter rubbish, poor themes, badly harmonised, pointless modulations etc. Ear polution!

The Viotti A minor is in another category, well written, and varied in expression; but it leaves me with the same dissisfaction as I feel playing Karl Stamitz after Mozart: music belonging only to its time, whereas the "greats" trancend their periods to seem "timeless". It's hard to pin down, but I have the impression of being shown a sequence of pleasant views rather than of being led through a vast and varied landscape. This has nothing to do with technical challenges, but rather with the way themes seem to grow out of one another.

Another provocation: Paganini!

If I ever had the time to practice his works I would rather spend it on music that gives me back more than I put in! His music is beautifully crafted, but to me it is icing sugar withe price-tag of caviar..

So, my pet hates are music which is badly written (e.g. compare Wolfhart and Kayser) or pieces which waste my time, and more importantly, my students'.

With all due respect to you all,


April 26, 2012 at 10:11 PM · @Adrian,

"e.g. compare Wolfhart and Kayser". Which are we to consider the better composer? I'm not acting thick: instead, I've never found that comparison made up to now, hence have never had to think about it, and hence my view that this question may not be self-evident. I have my personal opinion, but don't want to look silly if I get it wrong.

April 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM · Sacrilegious as it may be, there are some movements of the Bach Sonatas and partitas that are deadly. I have tried and tried to find the gem within and just can't do it. Thankfully he follows up with beauty.

Wagner. I felt my soul being sucked out playing that guy. So much effort for so little reward, and music I have never bothered to listen right through prior to that. Having now had to play it right through, I am glad of the xtra few minutes I didn't spend listening. (shades of Emily's blog).

and the meditation from Thais, I never did get an affair going with that either.

Do I hate them? Not sure if that is the correct term, but I certainly don't have them in a favourites box.

April 26, 2012 at 11:45 PM · Karen - you forgot Ponce's 'Estrellita' :D

I don't hate any really - there's two main catagories: music I understand, and music I don't. I can't hate the latter, except that is if it causes me physical harm (like hip hop) since to hate you have to surely know.

In the former there's music I find trivial, boring, and I guess irritating - and then music (a whole lot of it) that I just WANT TO PLAY! I guess I like that last catagory....

Must be something.... rap? But its not music....

April 27, 2012 at 03:28 AM · The main two that come to my mind are Czardas by Monti and the Accolay concerto.

April 27, 2012 at 07:05 AM · Four seasons..cause it's overplayed and it's the one piece my mom asks me to play every time she sees me.

Chausson: Poem....for some reason, it really bothered me. It woke me up in my sleep a couple times. It was the nightmare piece for me lool

April 27, 2012 at 07:39 AM · Nicky,

Studies are usually repetetive from a melodic point of view, but they are still musical compositions, with impied harmonies, modulations, periods, cadences etc. While concentrating one some specific technical point, they also should build our sense of musical "shape", unlike scale variations, basic drills etc.

In my own, semi-intuitive, opinion, Kayser is "better" music than Wolfhart, Kreutzer "better" than Dont.

I was lucky to start with the piano, and had two years as a choral scholar, and so I "soaked" in good harmony before starting the violin.

Like my own teachers before me, I an very selective about my students' repertoires.


April 27, 2012 at 12:36 PM · Mozart 4th Concerto, The 1st 50 measures is just pure torture for me. It's just to damn happy.......After that it's fine though, toning down on the happy meter a bit.

April 27, 2012 at 12:38 PM · Dear Skylar: maybe thats why I love it!

yours, Polyanna.

April 27, 2012 at 04:09 PM · I was going to mention Llyod Webber but then I saw you said "music".

Cheers Carlo

April 27, 2012 at 07:10 PM · "Any kind of well-meaning rubbish written by well-meaning but un-talented violinists: Seitz, Rieding, Viotti etc. I prefer transcriptions of proper music."

Just because you don't like something doesn't mean its rubbish. Giovanni Battista Viotti was a better musician and composer than any of us will ever be. His music is beautiful and loved by many. By no means do you have to like it, but show some respect. It kind of makes you an immature snob to call it rubbish.

If there is a piece that I flat out don't like listening to, I guess it would have to be Beethoven's Fur Elise (I know, not violin; I love violin music). Its beautiful and all, but I've heard it (my mother is a piano teacher) way too many times.

April 27, 2012 at 07:36 PM · Thomas, my second post clarifies my thoughts on Viotti, whom I shouldn't have lumped with Seitz & Co. And my reserves about his music do not make me a snob; immature maybe (I'm only 63!) I really like many of the short, often over-done pieces "hated" by by many of you; I love "gems": I have played many in my dance-band days. But there are some styles which I find over-inflated, even pretentious, even when finely written: I don't "hate" them, I just have other things to do (at my age!!)

April 27, 2012 at 07:54 PM · Elise-

LOL, it's two 'L' in Pollyanna, at least, you Are talking about the Pollyanna Principle right??

I hate too 'happy' stuff, not Goth or Emo or whatever, but I can't stand happy tune for too long, especially if it's 'Classical Happy'. Moi prefer to be left out of that.

Maybe that's why I love the Schindler's list so much while my bubbly airhead best friend can't stand it...and she's the cello =.=

April 27, 2012 at 07:55 PM · oops, double post.

April 27, 2012 at 08:14 PM · some sonatas of beethoven bore me... also the last movement of brahms requiem...

but why speaking of dislike? Why not the opposite? Mostly someone dislikes something because hes not listening good enough or was in a bad mood as hear first time.

With mozart I can agree that his music is also "too enjoyable" to me, but maybe that is what makes him genius: He was able to feel the most childish joy and when he was in trouble he felt worse than anybody of us could (under)stand. only speculation of course. but he knows how to put emotion in music!

April 27, 2012 at 08:16 PM · I'm afraid that calling respected music rubbish does indeed make you a snob. You did, however, clarify your thoughts on Viotti. If you indeed feel his music is well-written but lacking inspiration to yourself overall, I would hope you might think of a better descriptor. Rubbish usually implies worthless, unwanted material, of which Viotti's music is not.

April 27, 2012 at 09:44 PM · I LOVE mozart!! Happy day... :) :) :) :D

I'm working on #3 now - and the 301 sonata for good measure (and when I get bored I play the Adagio or #4 or practice a quartet...


And yes, I'm a naturally happy person. Which Mozart must have been too when you look at his life and then look at his music. How was that possible?

Maybe I should try composing...

Pretty Polllyanna...

April 27, 2012 at 10:07 PM · look at his late music elise. Mozart can be very dark, not just the requiem!

April 28, 2012 at 12:06 AM · Simon: later OK? No dunking in ice water please, I'm still in my early happy era ... let it be, let it be, let it beee, let it be... wisper words of gladness, let it beeeeee

April 29, 2012 at 12:31 AM · I do not enjoy de Beriot concertos either.

April 29, 2012 at 12:38 PM · In my case, it's not limited to violin pieces: anything by John Cage.

4' 33" is definitely his best-sounding work. It is an absolute relief compared to his other stuff.

I'd also put in any minimalist composer. Come on, get to the tune!

April 29, 2012 at 01:32 PM · I found a tiny toy piano at a garage sale when I was a kid and my dad bought me "Suite for Toy Piano" by John Cage. I remember the score was expensive. I fancied playing it at "Solo and Ensemble Festival." But the piece was simply not musical at all. As I recall it had no redeeming value. It wasn't even fun in a novelty sense. So I played Chopin -- and not very well.

Cage's 4'33" reminds one of the sculpture "Fountain" by Duchamp. It's mildly funny, once. It would have been just as funny if it were 0'33". But then, Duchamp proved capable of the extraordinary (e.g., "Nude Descending a Staircase"), which clearly sets him apart from Cage (and most of his contemporaries for that matter).

April 29, 2012 at 04:57 PM · Anyone figured out a good fingering for 4'33" ?

April 29, 2012 at 05:25 PM · I have...it's the one high-brow piece I have nailed...

April 29, 2012 at 05:49 PM · I have repeatedly tried giving the Rode concerto #7 to students, but have given up. They all seem to dislike it, despite its pedagogical usefulness.

April 29, 2012 at 09:01 PM · For me it's the piece I am going to play tomorrow. The day after tomorrow, the same piece is often my favorite.

April 29, 2012 at 09:04 PM · Zen Master John Tarrant wrote something enlightening (he would!) about 4'33": "anything that happens ends up being the piece".

April 29, 2012 at 09:15 PM · There is no doubt that the Heifetz recording of 4'33" is in a class by itself. Not only is it technically perfect, but the famous Heifetz shifting and peerless octaves and the downbow spicatto that sparkles like diamonds and the passionate vibrato marks this recording instantly as a Heifetz performance.

Anyone who disagrees with this hasn't been listening.

April 29, 2012 at 11:11 PM · When I was at school, aged not more than 17, we were given a performance of 4' 33" at morning assembly. During the performance, one of the students got out a tin whistle (flageolet) and started playing on that. This initiative gained widespread audience approval. Come to think of it, 4' 33" could be performed in a solo violin arrangement.

April 29, 2012 at 11:44 PM · I played Ravel´s bolero in two different orquestras. I did not particularly like it before, but after that, I really, really, dislike it.

April 29, 2012 at 11:59 PM · I love the piece (Bolero). Well to be honest its not the music its just that that was the ONLY way I could get my son to go to sleep when he was a baby. Bolero did it. I'm not sure Ravel would approve tho ...

April 30, 2012 at 03:46 AM · Ah, I don't even know where to start.

Yes I do.

Dubstep violin.

April 30, 2012 at 08:57 AM · Emily LOL! But its nonetheless strangely engrossing - and look, the violin as supercool... :-

wonder what strings you use at -40C...

April 30, 2012 at 04:50 PM · From Anita Perez:

"I played Ravel´s bolero in two different orquestras. I did not particularly like it before, but after that, I really, really, dislike it."

You are not alone-- Ravel himself didn't think much of it:

"It constitutes an experiment in a very special and limited direction, and should not be suspected of aiming at achieving anything different from, or anything more than, it actually does achieve. Before its first performance, I issued a warning to the effect that what I had written was a piece lasting seventeen minutes and consisting wholly of "orchestral tissue without music" — of one very long, gradual crescendo. There are no contrasts, and practically no invention except the plan and the manner of execution."

For some fabulous Ravel fiddle parts, check out his String Quartet.

May 2, 2012 at 08:32 AM · For that very reason, I love it.

May 2, 2012 at 03:48 PM · Yeah, I always thought Ravel should have been prouder than he was of that piece. What other composer could have employed the orchestra so effectively for so long with so little? Drawing a blank.

May 2, 2012 at 05:06 PM · When I was very young, I remember being enthralled at how nastily the horns shouted "Three! Blind! Mice!" to put an end to it all.

May 2, 2012 at 10:59 PM · I give Bolero a perfect 10!

I like Devil's trill but there is a version on you tube by Vanessa Mae that had me in stitches!

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