Elgar Violin Concerto

May 28, 2004 at 09:43 PM · What tips do you have to someone learning this concerto? How should it be interpreted?

Replies (21)

May 29, 2004 at 06:36 AM · Are you sure you want to learn this? It's very demanding technically and REALLY long.. Check out Wha Chung recording!


May 29, 2004 at 06:42 AM · Yes I want to work on it as a project over a year or two...I absolutely love it.

May 29, 2004 at 06:45 AM · ...by the way...what would you rank it in difficulty? Harder than Tchai?

May 29, 2004 at 01:17 PM · Greetings,

different problems. check out Hugh Bean and Heifetz. Kennedy"s is said to be very good, too.



and the young Menuhin...

May 29, 2004 at 03:40 PM · if u didnt know that its harder than the Tchiakovsky....don't learn it.

May 29, 2004 at 04:23 PM · i dont think its harder than tchaik because i dont think u can really compare the two. they are both very different in my opinion. both are hard. buid up endurance for elgar though.

May 29, 2004 at 07:05 PM · Erika not to be dogmatic but this piece is harder than Tchaikovsky concerto surely on a technical level.

May 30, 2004 at 08:35 AM · Yes but what should one think of when playing this concerto...I know who to listen to but i would love to have my own intepretation of it...

May 30, 2004 at 08:46 AM · Greetings,

I once read an interview with hubermann where he said that he believed he could get to the heart of any countries music better than most because he always took the time to learn the folk music which was underlying the culture. I don"t know if you have to go that far but if you take a stroll around the Malverns, soak up the local alcohol and so on, then you might notice that after a time your metabolism appears to be slowing and things are less important (plus it pees with rain all the time).

This is how to get to the real heart of Elgar. And if you get bored with the hills you can always sopend the time watching the SAS sneaking in and out of holes in the ground since this is their territory,



June 16, 2004 at 08:40 PM · This is a most magnificent work! And I commend you Adam, in playing it. I hope to learn it as well - sometime. Technically I believe Tchaikovsky is more difficult - but Elgar offers much more explicit pain in this work - thus musically I believe it to be a bit challenging - actually even provoking. But for me, having read through it and having studied the score, the violin part fits into the hands well, with sound vibrato and a good sense of rubato (Elgar was himself, a violinist). I cannot offer you to many interpretations, beacause then your interpretation would be mine. But, I always thought of this delicate and sophisticated work to express the love for a woman. Infact In writing it, Elgar wrote on the first page "Herein is enshrined the soul of ....." His wife ALICE fits the alotted space, as do many other feminine figures. This concerto calls for the violin to sing a story - about the pain and immortality of love.

June 19, 2004 at 02:41 AM · Hi Adam! I'm also learning the Elgar right now and it's so much more difficult than I thought it would be. When I first heard it, I really loved the emotion it was trying to convey - so much pain and anguish just trying to burst out of its orderly state. Downside is that it's amazingly hard to coordinate both the technical challenges with the emotional ones.

Anyway, had some questions - I have a really hard time with the scales (like at 15, 33, etc.). I tend to crunch down and squeak my way through them. How do you practice those and all the other runs? I've been doing "impulse practice," i.e. go through all the run and stopping on another note until I get that section in tune, then starting over and stopping on the next note until that gets in tune, and so on. Along with just practicing it slowly, of course. Any other ideas?

June 19, 2004 at 03:39 AM · Pretty much I try to relax my shoulders and hands and then slowly play each note of each run. This is starting to get them in tune and fluent.

June 19, 2004 at 01:19 PM · Greetings,

Cindy, try practicing n small units , getting one prgressively faster with the metronome. then do the next unit. then the next and so on. Then put two units together and repeat the prcedure and so on. This method helps uou to reduce a chinuk to the smallest number of commands which is the base of high level technioque.

Another way to approach the probelm is t practice only the first finger notes in slurs. Then it is just a quesiton of filling in the blanks since your finger now have a clear base to work from,



November 21, 2008 at 03:00 AM ·

I was wondering what everyone thought of the Perlman recording of the Elgar 

November 21, 2008 at 02:06 PM ·

The best recommendation I can give for understanding and interpreting the concerto is to get the Naxos Historical recording of Menuhin doing it with Elgar conducting.  That should represent as precisely as possible what Elgar intended.  Listening to Albert Sammons's recordings are also helpful since he played a number of times under Elgar's direction (but never recorded it with Elgar).  The Menuhin recording is excellent.

November 21, 2008 at 02:40 PM ·

The Elgar concerto was written for Menuhin, back when Menuhin was at his prime.  It's one of the recordings that every violinist must have in his/her possession.


November 21, 2008 at 03:11 PM ·



Elgar Concerto was originally composed for and dedicated to Fritz Kreisler, and performed with him and Elgar conducting in November of 1910.  A bit before Menuhin, yes ;>) ? 


Kreisler never recorded it, much to the disappontment of Elgar.

November 21, 2008 at 03:53 PM ·

You might also wish to familarize yourself with a great deal of Elgar's music- from the great cello concerto, to the piano quintet and the classic orchestral pieces like The Enigma Variations,  Introduction and Allegro for Strings, his symphonies,  and the choral work The Dream of Gerontius. There is a somewhat romanticized but still true to the spirit of the composer film by Ken Russell on Elgar if you can find it. All of the above will add to your sensitivity to his style  in addition to listening to the great recordings of the violin concerto mentioned by others.

November 21, 2008 at 04:08 PM ·

I thought Menuhin was only 16 when he and Elgar worked on it together

November 21, 2008 at 04:41 PM ·

I think you are right that he was only 16.  He was quite young, in any case.

November 21, 2008 at 04:48 PM ·

The story of Menuhin and Elgar is detailed quite nicely in Humphrey Burton's biography "Menuhin", ISBN 0-571-19311-0.

Burton points out that in the score, Elgar eventually penciled in "Ye-Hu-Di  Me-Nu-Hin" over the 1st movement's 2nd subject.  

Holzman is right.  Listen to the Menuhin recording!

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