La Rondes des Lutins

August 25, 2015 at 07:04 AM · Hello,

I'm curious, how many people can play La Rondes Des Lutins? I think this is one of few pieces that I will stop to listen to and watch the person playing regardless of the condition(even if my hair was on fire).

I'm just amazed by the shifting fingers then quickly up to artificial harmonics, and the crazy left hand pizzacatos. I have heard many recordings on youtube by various artists with different instruments. I think my favorite one is by Chloe Hanslip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lACoAxJkfO8

I find her style almost identical to Itzhak Perlman, I think the difference I hear is probably the recording technology.

Replies (28)

August 25, 2015 at 12:55 PM · I've fooled around with it and hope to perform it one day. I love Itzhak Perlman's comment on this piece: he wan't sure what else Bazzini wrote but it hardly mattered. It seems like Bazzini used up all of his allotted notes on this piece alone!

August 26, 2015 at 03:24 AM · too many to mention...

August 26, 2015 at 12:27 PM · I agree with Rocky - but will mention a couple more, anyway: Francescatti, Ricci. When Ricci plays those fast left-hand pizzicatos, it sounds like a machine gun! Perlman had a cute bit of showmanship in ending the piece: he'd play the last 5 notes, LH pizz and at the same time take the violin off his shoulder with a flourish!

BTW I did study back with my first teacher, another piece by Bazzini - "Allegro de Concert". As I recall I found it very difficult, but not nearly as fun, musically, as "Le Ronde..." - more academic.

August 26, 2015 at 10:17 PM · Many Bazzini's pieces were recorded by great Luigi Bianchi, a fantastic violinist and violist.

And how may of you had listen and know his string quartets and quintet?

August 27, 2015 at 01:42 AM · Hmmm...so apparently Bazzini did NOT use up all of his allotted notes on "Le Ronde"! Actually I was inspired to start reviewing it today. It's fun!

August 27, 2015 at 04:09 AM · Bazzini, ever the showman, was a teacher of Puccini. Let that one sink in...

Vengerov played it well at his 20th birthday concert in Amsterdam.

August 27, 2015 at 09:23 AM · Here it is played by a very courageous 10yo:

Ronde des Lutins

August 27, 2015 at 01:11 PM · She's 10? What took her so long? Why when I was 10...Oh wait, I was just starting! ;-)

Now she needs to come on our forum and ask us what she should play next!

August 27, 2015 at 09:51 PM · LOL Raphael, I believe she's off to the Yehudi Menuhin School now. I trust there are competent teachers there (among which Simon Fischer, if I'm not mistaken) who will help her decide what to play next. And she's not fair competition for you, she started very young, at age 7 ;-).

August 27, 2015 at 11:09 PM · She could play that in 3 years?!

August 28, 2015 at 12:53 AM · Yes. Especially if you practic eight hours a day.

August 28, 2015 at 12:55 AM · I keep on saying this... I wish I were in my retirement already...

August 28, 2015 at 01:14 AM · When you can play like that, playing most likely has become work and you will want to be playing golf instead. :)

August 28, 2015 at 01:28 AM · Violins and string music are my recreation, I don't think I can live making it my career...

I really re-started playing my violin when I had a second surgery on my left shoulder and decided that I need to do something to stretch it for few minutes a day. After a year, arthritis struck my fingers so I stopped carving chess pieces and violin fully took over my hobby side. Now... Everytime my research/study gets stuck, I go to my office and disappear with my violin for a few hours. I also wish I didn't live in an apartment complex.

August 29, 2015 at 07:22 AM · Yehudi Menuhin has a video of a different piece by Bazzini and an audio of the "Dance of the Goblins". Perlman says of his audio recording, "Nobody better". It has never been clear to me why this is considered a nearly impossible piece. It's certainly instrumentally challenging, but no more than most of the Paganinni caprices. All of the tricks in the Bazzini are playable, and there's nothing in it that a well-trained violinist can't do. The four F sharps and the four E's, for example, do require that you know how to shift: very flat fingers; shift with the hand as a whole (not with the fingers); make sure the left shoulder is free, so as to allow the arm to move with the hand (If you don't do this it will be physically impossible to reach the G string.); release the thumb during the shift; stop the shift by the onset of vibrato, aim with the ears, not with the fingers; lead with the bow. If all this is working, but you're still having problems, it's because you're tensing up.To be able to play, you need to be aware of tensing up and practice for not doing it. I spend almost all of my practice time working on being aware of tension and letting go of it (or in the language of the Alexander Technique, "inhibiting the tension response"). It is astonishing how quickly and reliably one can learn a piece this way.

August 29, 2015 at 01:19 PM · Hey Charles - nice to see you back!

For the last 2-3 days I gave myself a fun, cursory review of "Le Ronde". (Now I have to turn away from it for some serious chamber music preparation.) At that cursory level, a piece can seem harder or easier than it might ultimately prove to be with serious work. What I mean is - at such a point or review level, I don't hold myself to too high a standard. I have fun going through it and getting a feel of whether I think a piece might suit me musically and technically for a possible performance of it one day. When I hit a snag, I might think "well, with a little work I don't think that passage should be too much of a problem". If I decide to work seriously on the piece, that may prove to be true - or that pesky challenge may remain a sticking point even after a lot of serious work.

For me, far and away the hardest passages in "Le Ronde" are the double harmonics, and frankly I don't think the piece would lose too much to play just the top notes. At the end, the rapid-fire left hand pizz. would need work on my part to articulate well enough to clearly project. Otherwise, for me it's not so amazingly difficult. It's a question (like any other piece) of a lot of slow careful practice to really try to get everything in place and not just "almost" and not running away with it. I think that "Le Ronde" is one of those cleverly-written and very effective show-pieces that in many passages sounds harder than it is. So if someone has only heard it but never seen the music or tried it, it may sound like one of the most extreme violin pieces on the planet.

I also agree on the importance of self-monitoring for tension.

August 30, 2015 at 02:49 AM · Hi, Raphael- I totally agree with you about the double harmonics, and I think you agree with me that it's not really unplayable. I've heard Perlman play it and leave the double harmonics out altogether.

August 30, 2015 at 03:01 AM · I wish someone would propose a contest for this piece. Although I can imagine what you two mean, but I'd love to hear it, literally.

August 30, 2015 at 04:41 AM · Greetings,

I agree with Charles and Raphael. This is a wonderful work but it is actually a rather small collection of tricks, most of which dont really stretch the advanced players of today to such a great extent. There are an awful lot of other works that are genuinly much more difficult out there (quite a lot of Paginini for example) .

Cheers,

Buri

September 2, 2015 at 10:11 PM · I was at one point obsessed enough with this piece that I arranged it for two violins, without piano accompaniment. In other words, as soon as one voice leaves the solo line, it must immediately switch over to the frantic accompaniment. I did perform it once, and found it more difficult than the original... mostly because of its unfamiliarity!

September 2, 2015 at 10:31 PM · OK, here's a screenshot of the beginning to give you an idea:

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 3.30.15 PM

September 3, 2015 at 12:47 AM · Ronde de Lunatics?

September 3, 2015 at 02:18 AM · Nice job, Nathan! I once thought to arrange the Paganini "Moto Perpetuo" for 2 violins - but I ran out of my allotted notes! ;-)

Before putting my copy away I have a textual question for y'all: I have the Auer edition, BTW, which has a number of "ossia" - recommended alternate easier versions of certain passages. Anyway, in the section that begins with the 4 F sharps on the 4 respective strings, let's call that m1 for the time being. If that can be called m1 momentarily, then in m7, following the 4 E's, I was surprised. Not having looked at it in several years and, inspired by this thread, giving it just a very brief review, the D in m7 didn't sound right to me. Somehow I was expecting some kind of turn beginning on E, not D. I listened to a few performances and they do indeed start on the D as printed. But it sounds like Heifetz starts a turn on E. Any thoughts or feelings?

September 3, 2015 at 03:29 AM · Greetings,

sorry to butt in when Raphael is asking a question.

This discussion reminded me of a long forgotten sound in my head. I first heard this played by Heifetz as a child and have never really found a version to match it as far as my taste goes.

However, whether you prefer Menuhin, Ricci , Vengerov or any other of the myriad violinists who have tossed this piece off in their own inimitable style, I think everyone should study one particular passage played by Heifetz very , very carefully indeed. I am referring to the rit./ral or whatever before the final section.

Heifetz is somewhat out of fashion among young players these days but he still remains a strong contender for being in objective terms the greatest player at least of the 20 c and in many ways one of the most influential players of all time. Thus, any aspiring violinst should try and understand what he was about before rejecting his recordings out of hand. One can hear in his playing a unique skill that, in my opinion, no other violinist has ever had to the same degree. That is the ability to slow down or speed up long passages with such extraordinary subtlety that the listener is unconscious of the process they are experiencing. In the same vein, when one listens to that short section in the Lutins there is one of the most perfectly proportioned reductions in speed ever executed in the history of violin recordings. I have listened to that passage over and over again and no one has ever come quite to that level of pristine rhythmic proportion. It is something to be marveled at and learnt from.

Cheers,

Buri

September 3, 2015 at 11:28 AM · No problem, Buri. And no argument from me re the overall supremecy of Heifetz. It so happens that I grew up with the Ricci record that includes "Le Ronde". The odd thing is that Ricci does play the printed D, so I'm surprised at myself for being surprised by it recently.

On YouTube someone put back-to-back versions of a very early Heifetz (so early that some high notes don't get captured by the recording horn!) and a later one. Anyway, it seemed to me that H. in fact started that measure on an E. But it goes by so fast. So Buri, since you seem more familiar with the H. rendition, what do you think?

September 4, 2015 at 04:27 AM · Mr. Cole, if you accept personal favours, I'd like to hear your duet online.

September 4, 2015 at 04:21 PM · You know, I'll have to look for the recording... I think that we recorded it the one and only time we performed it! I know that a couple other folks have tried it as well. What I can do is post the music if you're interested.

September 4, 2015 at 04:25 PM · I doubt I will be able to play it, but if someone else(a couple of them) takes up the challenge, I'd love to listen to it.

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