After Mozart's Concerto No. 4?

November 6, 2016 at 05:49 AM · I'm currently a sophomore in high school, and I'm looking for a concerto to prepare for the state solo competition. My teacher and I have just about wrapped up learning Mozart's Concerto in D Major, and I'm to choose between Mendelssohn's E Minor, Bruch's G Minor, and Wieniawski's D Minor (which I think is out of the question at the moment, as the difficulty is too high.)

Which of these major concerti would you suggest I prepare for state? What major concerto did YOU learn after your Mozart concerto?

To give you some background knowledge, I'm currently working on Kreutzer with some experience in Rode etudes.


Replies (24)

November 6, 2016 at 06:48 AM · Technically Bruch G minor is easiest of the three and most "seductive", borrowing Joachim's word. Listen to them all, have a look at the music and take your pick. Good luck.

November 6, 2016 at 12:38 PM · Joseph Joachim had a suggestion: see

November 6, 2016 at 01:14 PM · Bruch. It's the easiest of the three and also has the shortest first movement.

November 6, 2016 at 02:10 PM · Far be it from me to argue against Mary Ellen's experience. My only thought is that it might depend on how much time you have to prepare. My guess is that there are more likely to be other competitors who are able to play Bruch well, more than there are who can play Mendelssohn well (or Mozart 4 well, for that matter).

November 6, 2016 at 02:44 PM · You'll probably get a lot of advice -- some of it possibly conflicting; but the fact is that your teacher knows you and your playing better than we can. Did your teacher suggest -- or even hint -- one of the three as best suited to you at this point? I would hope so.

So I won't tell you what to do but will tell my own personal experience. For me, after Mozart, Bruch was next.

Keep in mind that what's more challenging or "too high" in difficulty, as you say, will differ from one student to the next. The Mendelssohn, which Violin Masterclass puts at Level 8, I found more challenging than the Beethoven, which VM puts at Level 9 -- and which isn't on your list above.

Whatever you do, be sure that you have plenty of time to master the material -- and then put it away for a while and let it ripen. The auditioners are going to be more favorably impressed with a well-executed, well-ripened Level 7 or 8 piece than they are with a Level 9 that you have to claw and scrape your way through.

November 6, 2016 at 03:48 PM · I'd agree that Bruch would be easiest.

I agree that a student's individual strengths and weaknesses will determine to some degree how difficult they perceive a work to be, but there's some objective framing of difficulty, as well.

Beethoven is much much harder than Mendelssohn, even though on paper it might seem deceptively straightforward.

November 6, 2016 at 08:36 PM · Lydia, the Beethoven may well have been "much much harder" for you than the Mendelssohn was, and pedagogues generally rate the Beethoven as the harder of the two, based on objective criteria; but some players, like me, have experienced the reverse.

The finale of the Beethoven struck me as the most challenging part of the score, while the first two movements really didn't faze me. Just my own personal experience -- can't speak for the next player. See what member Buri said in a related thread -- at this hour, his entry is the one at the end:

November 6, 2016 at 08:52 PM · between those 3 definitely Bruch.

as for your question i worked on Vivaldi's four season after finishing Mozart 4(that is way harder than 3&5) .and before Mozart 4 and 3 i worked on Haydn C major concerto.

wish you the best/

November 6, 2016 at 11:04 PM · I think I'm going to go with the Bruch.

It seems relatively easier to learn in the period of time between now and spring than the Mendelssohn (which I was more familiar with, but only had the ability to play until right after the octaves).

I worked on the Four Seasons before the Mozart with my old private teacher, as well as the Beethoven Romances/Spring Sonata.


November 7, 2016 at 05:57 AM · Lydia is correct; the Beethoven is significantly more difficult than the Mendelssohn.

November 7, 2016 at 05:27 PM · There's always Conus;)

November 7, 2016 at 09:25 PM · Re Beethoven: Yes, based on objective criteria, e.g., those used in grading standard repertoire, it is harder for the majority of violin students; and it's standard to place it later than Mendelssohn in the performance major curriculum.

Yet a minority of us, I among them, have found the Beethoven less difficult than the Mendelssohn. Whatever -- the OP, who mentioned Bruch, Mendelssohn, and Wieniawski, has decided in favor of Bruch.

November 7, 2016 at 09:35 PM · I'm working on the Wieniawski now, and it is definitely tough, but doable I think. Based on the etudes you are on, you may be ahead of me, but while Wieniawski isn't easy, the difficulties are sort of a series of isolated trials. It actually lies pretty well under the fingers. I haven't looked at either the Mendelssohn or Bruch, but I was under the impression that those were tougher to sound convincing in than the Wieniawski.

November 7, 2016 at 11:22 PM · Could part of why Beethoven is considered so much more difficult have to do with the fact that he has been, to a much greater extent than Mendelssohn, indoctrinated into a canon of "unsurpasssable" divine masters, who's work is held on such a pedestal that one "should dare mess it up"?

November 8, 2016 at 04:06 AM · No, it's actually a true set of technical issues.

The Mendelssohn is nicely violinistic -- it lies well in the hand, and you can hide imperfect play without a great deal of difficulty.

The Beethoven is pretty much written without any regard to whether or not it suits violin technique. And it needs to be played completely cleanly. Plus the structure makes intonation defects glaringly obvious. So if you want to play it well, it requires that your technical approach be immaculate. And that's ignoring the interpretive problem of making it make sense and sound beautiful.

You can slop through the Beethoven more easily than most of the Romantic concertos, but to play it at performance level is another matter entirely.

November 8, 2016 at 09:38 PM · That's good news for me, since slopping through concerto movements is, unfortunately, pretty much the level that I aspire to. LOL

November 10, 2016 at 04:50 PM · I personally think that you should start on the Bruch but if you are feeing virtuosic then go for the Wieniawski No. 2. Mendelssohn is a good choice as well, albeit musically challenging. I'm not pressuring or being biased on either one.

November 14, 2016 at 04:26 PM · I think Bruch is an excellent choice at this point; it'll allow you to advance technically while making important choices about musicality and phrasing, something that I always forget to do when learning repertoire that is very technical and challenging for me. You could focus on Bruch but start Mendelssohn just so you get a feel for it early on (good intonation is super challenging in that concerto)!

November 14, 2016 at 06:31 PM · Your teacher will be in the best place to tell you. Personal preference will also make a difference -- which one the three you love the most and maybe you should start with that one.

As for the level of difficulty/readiness of each VM, you won't get a consensus but a rough idea can be established. For instance, once I asked my teacher to rank the ones I want to learn, here was her ranking:

1. Mozart: Concerto No. 3 in G major

2. Mozart: Concerto No. 4 in D major/Concerto No. 5 in A major (whichever one plays, the first is the harder of the two)

3. Viotti: Concerto No. 22 in A minor

4. Bruch: Concerto No. 1 in G minor

5. Glazunov: Concerto in A major

6. Mendelssohn: Concerto in E minor

7. Barber: Concerto

8. Dvorak: Concerto in A minor

9. Brahms: Concerto in D major


100. Beethoven: Concerto in D major

I skipped Glazunov and right now I'm working on Dvorak and Mendelssohn. I love to play part of Beethoven, but my teacher won't want to hear any of it. Technical issues aside, she thinks it's just disrespectful to chop it through when I'm not ready.

A v.commer Jubin Matloubieh made this list, which I find very interesting:

Violin Concertos/Concert Pieces:

Level 1:

Reiding: Concerto in B minor

Seitz: Concerto No. 2 in G major

Seitz: Concerto No. 5 in D major

Level 2:

Seitz: Concerto No. 3 in G minor

Vivaldi: Concerto in A minor, Op. 2 No. 8

Level 3:

Massenet: Méditation from Thaïs

Vivaldi: Concerto in G minor, from Suzuki Book 5 or another source

Level 4:

Accolay: Concerto in A minor

Haydn: Concerto in G major

Level 5:

Bach: Concerto No. 1

Bach: Concerto No. 2

Bach: Concerto No. 3 (double)

de Beriot: Violin Concerto No. 9

Mozart: Adagio in E major

Vivaldi: Spring

Vivaldi: Summer

Level 6:

Beethoven: Romance in G major

Haydn: Concerto in C major

Kabalevsky: Concerto in C major

Kreisler: Concerto in the style of Vivaldi

Mozart: Concerto No. 3 in G major

Mozart: Rondo in B-flat major

Mozart: Rondo in C major

Mozart: Rondo in G major from “Haffner” Serenade

Tchaikovsky: Sérénade Mélancolique

Vivaldi: Autumn

Vivaldi: Winter

Weinaiwski: Légende in G minor

Level 7:

Beethoven: Romance in F major

Bloch: Baal Shem

Mozart: Concerto No. 1 in B-flat major

Mozart: Concerto No. 2 in D major

Vitali: Chaconne in G minor

Level 8:

Berlioz: Rêverie et Caprice

Mozart: Concerto No. 4 in D major

Mozart: Concerto No. 5 in A major

Mozart (attributed): Concerto No. 6 in E-flat major

Novacek: Perpetuum Mobile

Paganini: Moto Perpetuo

Svendsen: Romance in G major

Tchaikovsky: Souvenir d’un Lieu Cher

Vaughan-Williams: The Lark Ascending

Viotti: Concerto No. 22 in A minor

Viotti: Concerto No. 23 in G minor

Level 9:

Bartók: Rhapsody No. 1

Bartók: Rhapsody No. 2

Bruch: Concerto No. 1 in G minor

Khachaturian: Concerto in D minor

Rimsky-Korsakov: Flight of the Bumblebee

Saint-Saëns: Havanaise in E major

Saint-Saëns: Concerto No. 3 in B minor

Sarasate: Introduction and Tarantella

Sarasate: Zapateado

Szymanowski: Concerto No. 1

Szymanowski: Concerto No. 2

Tchaikovsky: Valse-Scherzo

Wienaiwski: Concerto No. 2 in D minor

Level 10:

Adams: Concerto

Bartók: Concerto No. 1

Bazzini: La Ronde de Lutins

Bernstein: Serenade

Bruch: Scottish Fantasy

Chausson: Poème in E-flat minor

Corigliano: Chaconne

Dinicu: Hora Staccato

Dvorak: Romance in F minor

Glass: Concerto

Glazunov: Concerto in A major

Goldmark: Concerto in A minor

Hao-Kang: Butterfly Lovers’ Concerto

Korngold: Concerto in D major

Lalo: Symphonie Espagnol in D minor

Mendelssohn: Concerto in E minor

Myaskovsky: Concerto in D minor

Paganini: Concerto No. 1 in D major

Paganini: Concerto No. 2 in B minor

Paganini: Concerto No. 3 in E major

Paganini: Concerto No. 4 in D minor

Paganini: Concerto No. 5 in A minor

Paganini: Concerto No. 6 in E minor

Prokofiev: Concerto No. 2 in G major

Ravel: Tzigane

Rorem: Concerto

Penderecki: Concerto

Saint-Saëns: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor

Schnittke: Concerto Grosso No. 5

Schoenberg: Phantasy

Schubert: Fantasy in C major

Schumann: Fantaisie

Shostakovich: Concerto No. 2 in C-sharp minor

Weinberg: Concerto in G minor

Level 11:

Barber: Concerto

Beethoven: Concerto in D major

Berg: Concerto

Brahms: Concerto in D major

Britten: Concerto in D minor

Dvorak: Concerto in A minor

Elgar: Concerto in B minor

Nielsen: Concerto

Prokofiev: Concerto No. 1 in D major

Sarasate: Carmen Fantasy

Shostakovich: Concerto No. 1 in A minor

Sibelius: Concerto in D minor

Stravinsky: Concerto in D major

Tchaikovsky: Concerto in D major

Walton: Concerto

Waxman: Carmen Fantasy

Level 12:

Bartók: Concerto No. 2

Wienaiwski: Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp minor

Level 13+ (ie disgusting):

Gubaidulina: Offertorium

Ligeti: Concerto

Schoenberg: Concerto

November 14, 2016 at 06:39 PM · I have a lot of issues with that list, but I'll start with the observation that rating the Barber concerto as more difficult than Saint-Saens 3, Ravel Tzigane, Ronde des Lutins, or any of the Paganini concertos is just silly.

November 14, 2016 at 07:11 PM · I find Barber last movement is nearly impossible playing in tempo but the other movements are quite manageable. Also, Dvorak is much more approachable than Mendelssohn for me.

November 14, 2016 at 10:04 PM · The ranking of Glazunov there is flat-out insane, too. It's significantly more difficult than anything else on your short-list, save for the Brahms.

Barber is arguably actually less difficult than Bruch, even taking into account the perpetual-motion of the third movement (which is a coordination exercise in patient practicing more than anything else).

November 14, 2016 at 10:53 PM · Lydia, I think you are quite right and come to think of it, Glazunov probably wasn't in my original list. It was a while ago. Certainly I won't be ready to learn it for some time.

November 15, 2016 at 03:22 AM · Technically speaking, I think Wieniawski D minor is on a par with Mendelssohn, although the latter may need more musical maturity to sound convincing.

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