Mendelssohn violin concerto difficulty

December 12, 2016 at 04:39 AM · I am currently learning Vitali Chaconne after playing Mozart concerto no. 3. How long would it take for me to play the Mendelssohn Concerto?

Replies (20)

December 12, 2016 at 05:31 AM · How quickly have you been progressing, and how hard are you finding the Vitali?

December 12, 2016 at 05:26 PM · Mendelssohn difficulty is WAY underestimated. Like it's a mid-level stepping stone work.

It's not. It's more like Beethoven.

December 12, 2016 at 05:28 PM · Based on your current repertoire, I would most likely not give you Mendelssohn next.

December 12, 2016 at 06:47 PM · A senior in my studio played it for a recital recently. She killed it, but the piece also killed her preparing it.

Intonation is tricky, some advanced bowings, and it requires great endurence. Not to mention you better have practiced octaves and thirds!

December 12, 2016 at 08:22 PM · Like Scott says, there's a reason Mendelssohn is on the short list of acceptable concertos for professional auditions. It's no joke.

December 12, 2016 at 10:19 PM · To answer your question, Grace, exactly the way you phrased it, I would say " about 30 minutes!"

Do you just want to read through it, or learn to play it technically and musically well, or do you want to do all that from memory as well. Each, of course, is a step up - and then to understand it musically so you can present your own heartfelt interpretation - still another step up.

When I was a teen-youth I used to read through these things, the Mozarts, Bachs, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, and then work on them - by that time I ddi not have a teacher. I also messed around with the Brahms and Tchaikovsky (whatever music was available in our house) - but I did not really work on the latter two. I spent at least 6 months on the Beethoven (because as my 16th birthday was approaching I wanted to have it in my head and fingers before going to see Heifetz perform it - which I did as my father's present to me.

I had spent less time on the Mendelssohn in those years - but I continued to play at it for at least the next 40 years - just for fun. That last bit was 25 years ago and due to some nerve damage I can't do it any more. The Bruch s another concerto on about the same level.

December 13, 2016 at 02:41 AM ·

If the first page of Mendelssohn scared Heifetz, then you shouldn't take it lightly. And there are quite a few bits later on that are just as hard, if not more so. It is usually cast as the first "real" virtuosic concerto after the Bruch No.1, but being a tad easier than Brahms doesn't make it easy.

December 13, 2016 at 03:06 AM · I'd ask your teacher. I'm around a similar level as you are, and my teacher told me that Mendelssohn will likely be the first romantic concerto I play. It really depends upon your strengths and weaknesses if you play a piece at a certain time or not. I know Mendellssohn is difficult, which is why I hope to do Mozart 4/5 before it.

December 13, 2016 at 03:29 AM · Did you do Bruch G Minor yet? Or Saint-Saens 3? Weeny 4? Most students I have known did those before Mendelssohn.

December 13, 2016 at 04:36 AM · Mendelssohn is quite a bit more difficult than Bruch g minor. I don't think they're comparable at all. (responding to Andrew's comment above and agreeing with Paul).

December 13, 2016 at 05:21 AM · Saint-Saens 3 is moderately more difficult than Mendelssohn, in my opinion.

("Weeny 4"? Vieuxtemps 4?)

December 13, 2016 at 07:11 AM · "("Weeny 4"? Vieuxtemps 4?)"

Heh. This made me go check to make sure Wieniawski didn't write a couple more concertos of which I'd never heard. He did not, as far as I can tell at least, although Wikipedia says there was a third concerto which was lost (

December 13, 2016 at 01:33 PM · For what it's worth, I learned Saint-Saens 3 just before the Mendelssohn. I think they are very similar in difficulty, frankly the Mendelssohn scares me more in performance because those octaves at the very beginning are so exposed.

December 13, 2016 at 01:55 PM · Right, that's the thing with Mendelssohn. It's not blazingly technically difficult on the level of Tchaikovksy or Brahms. It's more like "tough to pull off and nowhere to hide" difficult.

December 13, 2016 at 02:57 PM · Sure I must have meant Vieuxtemps. The origin of that mistake is complicated but I must take full credit for it.

December 13, 2016 at 03:15 PM · I think that if you are motivated and if you did achieve a degree of mastery over the other pieces you mentioned (you memorized them, maybe performed them) then you should be okay learning the Mendelssohn. It's a step up, and a lot of work, but a good challenge. What does your teacher say? And yes the Mendelssohn is deceptively difficult to perform at a high level, but that doesn't mean you need to delay learning it. I would rely on your teacher to let you know if you need a step in between.

December 13, 2016 at 04:02 PM · The problem with Mendlssohn isn't technical. It's sound quality. In order to pull it off, you have to be able to vibrate 8th notes moving at exactly the wrong speed. They're too slow, and they're too fast. It's like trying to run up a long stairs when the steps are in just the wrong place...

December 13, 2016 at 04:15 PM · Technical difficulties briefly aside, the main challenge might in fact be to tell the old story one more time in a quite unique and personal way.

The curse of this beautiful concerto is in its over-recording.... so many cookie-cutter performances , only a few worth listening again.

There is so much to learn and enjoy b.m.! Tons of Baroque repertoire with unlimited musical content and space to explore your emotional expression on-stage.

December 13, 2016 at 06:07 PM · I agree with Laurie that it's not necessary to avoid learning Mendelssohn until one can play it flawlessly, but I think you could also make an argument that many students learn it too early because it is relatively approachable from a technical standpoint.

As always, your teacher has the final say. How long does s/he think it will take?

December 13, 2016 at 08:51 PM · As I have recently finished the Mendelssohn and Saint Saens No.3 Concertos, I can tell you that you're ability to play such concertos well are dependent on your musicality, technicality and ability to practice in a focused manner. However, the Mendelssohn requires more maturity in regards to musicality, and the Saint Saens requires more technical maturity. Regardless of what you want to proceed with next, heed the advice of your teacher. Also, if you have not yet played the Bruch violin concerto, definitely complete that before you proceed onto these works.

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