Challenge my repertoire!

June 9, 2015 at 12:19 AM · Hello Folks,

Haven't been here for a while, because teaching takes a lot of my time and energy at the moment. My problem is, that I want to work on classical violin repertoire, but usually don't have many major concerts with difficult repertoire to come. So I ask you people, from wich I know some like "personally" or from the past years here in the forum, to tell me, what piece you want to hear from me. After you send me suggestions, I will check out, if I can imagine it being possible and then post the result on my youtube channel.

One request I have for the music you suggest: If it is difficult, may it be short. ;) I really haven't got too much spare time.

I thank you all for suggestions, you doing me a great favor. Because I am kind of stuck in the same repertoire over and over again.

If you want me to play a simple beautiful melodie, I will also be glad to upload a video for you! Just give me some Input :)

Replies (44)

June 9, 2015 at 12:46 AM · What are some pieces that you have recently played? What level player are you?

June 9, 2015 at 02:40 AM · Siciliana from Bach Unaccompanied Sonata No. 1

June 9, 2015 at 02:41 AM · I like the spanish dances by moskovski, and the first movement of spohr no. 2, that would inspire my own work on this piece. Have you a willing pianist?

June 9, 2015 at 04:11 AM · Viuextemps tarantella, Reger Preludes and Fugues for unaccompanied violin, Nielsen Sonatas, Paginini Barucaba Variations and Moses Famtasy.

June 9, 2015 at 09:19 AM · Kreisler arrangement of Albeniz Tango, please.

June 9, 2015 at 10:30 AM · Thank you for your suggestions so far. The Siciliana of the first Sonata, I pretty much have it in my repertoire, but still, its a nice Idea.

I Will listen to all other suggestions later, have to go teaching now.

About my level: I studied violin, so I can read and play most repertoire. Still I am not the one, who can afford 6 hours of practice every day, due to teaching. So, the last rose of summer I will not necessarily be able to play in the next 3 years.

I uploaded some of my performances on Youtube. YOu can check it out, if you want to know exactly what I can do and what I can't.

Keep em coming and I will pick one or two later and let you know!


Pianist time is difficult to get a hand on, because everyone I know has pretty close schedule, but its possible!

June 9, 2015 at 11:00 AM · What about a few simple scales and arpeggios?!

Heifetz said that's all he needed to hear ...

June 9, 2015 at 01:14 PM · I'd love to hear a recording of even the Introduction of my work here: Introduction & Tarantella. It was premiered at Weill Recital Hall NYC, and the only thing that came close to getting it recorded was a phone picking up what was coming through the intercom! I was able to hear what tempo it was played at but not much else, so for all practical purposes we can say it's not yet recorded.

June 10, 2015 at 07:36 AM · I think I might post an audio file with scales. The first file will have the first note of an A major scale (I believe that might be an A?)

If you like it i could send the next note which I'm told may be a B natural, whatever that is.

Any hints would be welcome, please send on a postcard, care of Mr J Heifetz ...

June 11, 2015 at 08:53 AM · The spam is real! Scales in itself are great, but why would someone enjoy them on youtube? Stephen B: Thats some nerdy stuff you suggested, I must disappoint you, that I cannot manage that kind of repertoire, without having no freetime anymore. Plus for example the moses Fantasie will sound horrible on my violin. When I manage to get a pianists time, I will stick with the Albeniz Kreisler Tango! Thanks for the suggestions!

Nigel: I would love to play your composition. But as I said before, I am not a professional, who has 100 % time to prepare repertoire. I have to see, what time I have. I could not do your work justice like that, but I keep it in mind!

June 11, 2015 at 11:24 AM · Greetings

I suggested the Reger because I think it helps one to look at Bach from interesting perspectives. I think it would feedback nicely into your excellent Chaconne. One can just learn it in ones head.....



June 11, 2015 at 01:01 PM · Maybe could sponsor a video competition for Nigel Keay's Introduction & Tarantella.

June 11, 2015 at 05:56 PM · Thx Stephen, I will look more closely into the Reger then! And TY for you comment about the chaconne. I will actually make a live recording in summer in a very special environment!

Kevin, Maybe you can be initiator! :)

June 11, 2015 at 06:25 PM · I gave Keay's piece a quick reading this morning. It's a bit difficult for me. I'll pass this time. :)

June 11, 2015 at 07:11 PM · Hi Simon,

I dont recall him playing it in public much but Milstein was a -big- fan of Reger`s unaccompanied works and studied them quite a lot when he was young.



June 11, 2015 at 09:18 PM · Simon and Kevin - thanks for taking a look at my Intro & Tarantella. It was a rather special request for a specific concert, and Eugenia asked for "fireworks" so I felt obliged to deliver as best I could in that direction. I enjoyed working on it. It's a long time since I've played violin (having switched to viola) but tested out all the passages on it. I don't have the intonation on violin anymore but could slowly feel it coming back, so had a bit of fun. I'll try and write a more broadly playable piece soon, as I've got lots of incentive being surrounded by violinists (daughter, spouse, neighbor etc.).

June 12, 2015 at 02:58 AM · Simon the reason I suggested the Moszkowski Spanish Dances is because (1) They're on IMSLP, (2) They're nice pieces, (3) They're not Ernst level stuff, (4) They were not written originally for violin so the youtubes are kind of a mixture of child performances and piano duos, etc. Likewise with the Spohr No. 2, it's a nice piece (Roy Sonne agrees with me!) but not super hard (well, it is hard for me, but my level is not like yours) and there are not really such a good selection of recordings of it.

Finally, in defense of some of the others who have suggested tough literature, you did say in your original post (i.e., in the title) that you wanted your repertoire to be challenged. But it seems that's not really true because you don't have time, which is okay, but maybe be more clear about what you are asking for.

June 12, 2015 at 04:08 AM · Gretings,

the Mozkovski Gitarre arranged by Heifetz is moderately difficult. one of my favorite concert works. Is it from this set?



June 12, 2015 at 08:27 PM · Just because I love the piece: Love Song, by Josef Suk.

June 12, 2015 at 08:36 PM · Greetings,

now there`s a fgood choice for Simon:

Suk Four Pieces Opus 17. All have ben standard rep for Neveu, Ricci, Milstein et al. But we don`t hear them so much these days except one of them is often butchered for ARCM Grade 8.



June 14, 2015 at 05:39 PM · Fratres by Arvo Pärt is not too difficult but it is a fun and nice piece to play in my opinion.

August 11, 2015 at 09:43 AM · Hey Folks. I am now in my holidays and I started practicing the albeniz Kreisler Tango. If I catch a willing pianist, I will make a recording the next weeks. The piece is fun, more salon music than tango, but still charming.

Last days I finally finished my Chaconne recording, wich I made in an old german factory. I would like to share it with you, so here we go:

Hope you enjoy!

August 11, 2015 at 10:36 AM · Bravo! Sounds pretty good! :)

August 11, 2015 at 11:18 AM · Gorgeous clip, Simon - I've shared it to my Facebook page. Thank you.

Would be happy to hear anything you chose to play, but what about some music from a Lully ballet or opera? J'adore Monsieur Lully!

Alternatively, any piece of French baroque that you like - I'm sure I'll like it too. Merci bien!

Enjoy your holidays.

August 11, 2015 at 11:34 AM · Or one of Biber's Rosary Sonatas? That would be fab.

August 11, 2015 at 12:33 PM · Great job Simon. To be honest I played the video planning to skip parts here and there, but I ended up listening the whole way through!

August 11, 2015 at 01:53 PM · "To be honest I played the video planning to skip parts here and there, but I ended up listening the whole way through!"

I like that compliment a lot! Bachs music is just epic! I am happy to get it across somehow!

French baroque sounds interesting! I had some lessons on phrasing and stuff in University, maybe I will find a good piece for me in that direction. If you have any specific suggestions I would appreciate much!

August 11, 2015 at 03:26 PM · Hi, Simon -

Any French baroque that you have the music for & fancy playing would be fine by me.

But I always love the suite from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Lully - particularly the Marche pour la ceremonie des Turcs; also the Premier and Seconde 'Air des Espagnols' and the Chaconne des Scaramouches, Travelins et Arlequins. (See pages 9, 16 & 18 of the sheet music book cited below.)

Some sheet music from the imslp site is available from this link:


What a generous offer you have made: this music is such great fun & so dance-able. These pieces are short, so they wouldn't cost much time or trouble, hopefully.

But if you fancy something more ambitious - what about one of Rebel's Violin Sonatas?

Rebel from IMSLP - facsimile

This is for reference - I don't know if you can find some more modern copies? In any case, I'm sure I'll like whatever you are kind enough to play, judging by your fabulous YT video!

Best wishes

August 11, 2015 at 03:56 PM · Simon, congratulations on that video. The music is nicely played and the video is really cool. The youtube that came up right after yours was Viktoria Mullova's 2010 recording in Holland (!!) with baroque bow, and of course it's not a fair comparison because she's a professional soloist, but actually there were some parts of your video that I liked better than hers. I like the faintly gritty and slightly anguished sound of your sustained passages, including the main theme. I feel that some of your quieter sections could be even more delicate, that's one thing that Mullova does really well.

August 11, 2015 at 05:40 PM · Thank you Paul. I know the recording of Mullova. It is very refreshing and different. I once tried to play like her, but came back to my way, wich I feel more. Of course her technical level is much higher than mine, she is one of the best violinists around, although she has a quite small tone live, her recordings are ear opening and the interpretations are thoughtful.

But I like the old, dramatic way of playing the chaconne aswell, like Milstein or Stern. Not that I can, want or could compare to them, but especially Milstein is a personal hero of mine.

At this special recording i played around 4-6 takes cold. That means no scales or other exercises before the recording. It was really spontaneous and I didn't expect such a nice outcome to be honest. I remember that my fingers in the last passage of 16-trioles were getting cold from the wind (wich you can hear in the microfone before aswell) and clumsy because of the lots of playing without warmup I did that day. But no excuses. Some grittyness is wanted, Bachs music is down to earth in my opinion ;)

August 13, 2015 at 06:01 AM · What about the 'Danse Macabre' by Camille Saint-Saëns, ever tried that one?

August 13, 2015 at 12:36 PM · Simon I totally agree with you about the correct sound for Bach. It's good, however, that everyone does NOT agree because then we have such a lovely variety of renditions to enjoy.

September 3, 2015 at 08:55 PM · I have a new video with the third movement of the d-minor Partita from Johann Sebastian Bach. It is easier for me to record without piano. Maybe in the future I will have other opportunities with pianists aswell. One pianist is actually behind the camera ;) Enjoy the video and let me know what you think about it:

September 4, 2015 at 01:31 AM · Paganini Witch's Dance?

September 4, 2015 at 10:20 AM · I actually plan to record the 24th caprice ;)

September 4, 2015 at 03:17 PM · Simon that's very beautiful playing in the D Minor Sarabande. The melodic line is very lovely and the chords are tastefully rendered. I wish I could play it like that. Your bowings gave me some ideas to try on my own too.

I have to say that my own preference is for a little more obedience to the clock. Not metronomic playing, certainly, but I think tenutos and pauses could be more subtle. Otherwise some of the local structure gets blurred out and it transforms a slow dance into more of a reverie.

September 4, 2015 at 03:52 PM · Simon, I had never heard this Sarabanda played so nicely (and I have heard a lot of versions)!

People have such a habit of screeching through it, hurrying, and adding vibrato like they're having a seizure, that when you started I barely recognized it. Congratulations, it is truly beautiful! I tip my hat to you, I'm really impressed!

...can't wait to hear what you do with the 24th Caprice! :)

Question, what violin (and bow) do you play with? I love the sound, even just through the recording.

September 4, 2015 at 06:23 PM · Very nicely done, Simon! It's great to see your performances on YouTube recently (especially since it's Bach). I hope to find time to record more of my own one day...

September 4, 2015 at 08:24 PM · Thanks Guys! I like to hear some feedback from you fellows! Paul, I certainly am on the "more free" side in this movement. When I listened to it after recording I noticed it aswell and thought, some places could need a more steady metrum. But on the other hand Bach wrote all his Sonatas with the dance distriptions, but I don't think they are really dances! Of course the metrum gets destroyed too often, but sometimes the description like "sarabanda" can indicate a character and the tempo has to breathe aswell. Also this depends on the acoustics. In a church for example I might play this one even more free, or in slower tempo. Its adanger to keep it together then i admit!

Fox, thanks for your kind words! I like to hear that you like how I play it. I actually don't think too much about how I play it. I have a certain way of doing Bach solo and I actually can't even change it, so its good that someone likes it ;)

I play on an Lorenzo Bellafontana violin from 1950, I am not sure if its actually genuine. My bow is from a very famous living maker in vienna, named Thomas Gerbeth (Anne-Sophie Mutter plays also bows from this man, I heard that after buying the bow). Its a great bow, although I want to bring it to him for some tweaking when I have time for the trip. I really learned a lot from this bow and it changed my sound to the better! Even on my old violin it was like day and night, compared to my old bow!

Gene, thank you! Yes I try to get more videos out, since I enjoy the process of making them. And its also nice to have something out there. I try also to get the quality up and make it interesting with some different perspectives. I will not start to dance or make intentional faces, don't worry :D

September 6, 2015 at 11:12 AM · Beautiful playing.

And I agree that often folks want to turn Bach's dance movements back into dances, when he so marvelously turned dances into meditations?

September 9, 2015 at 12:06 AM · Thank you Adrian! By the Way, Hanover Violin Competition starts next week, I think. I'm sure there will be a live-stream! I remember you are interested in this kind of stuff!

September 9, 2015 at 10:27 PM · Ponce/Heifetz Estrallita please! with piano.

If no pianist is available...I'll be that guy that says Ernst Erlkonig or Last rose of Summer :p

If you record one of those ill try playing it on viola and upload it!!!! XD XD

September 9, 2015 at 11:16 PM · Man, you are crazy :D Don't forget I teach for a living. But last rose of summer I actually want to play as an etude sometimes, but for performance I am not sure, it is as hard as it gets! But thanks for the suggestion! I like the idea ;)

September 11, 2015 at 03:06 AM · Last rose of summer would be hard for TWO violinists.

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