Paganini Concerto no. 1?

August 31, 2004 at 08:36 PM · I recently read an older post on which somebody said to the effect of: playing the Paganini Concerto no. 1 would be a good choice if a violinist has done concerti such as Bruch, Wieniawski 2, Mendelssohn, Lalo, etc. to "bridge the gap" to the harder concertos. (i.e. Sibelius, Beethoven, Brahms, etc.)

I have played several concerti this level (Bruch, Wieniawski 2, and also "Zigeunerweisen" by Sarasate for example) and am well versed in some of the "violinistic" things necessary. I've played Schradieck, Kreutzer, Rode, and Dont etudes and have worked on Bach Sonatas and Partitas (currently on the Fugue of the 1st Sonata) I have an amazing teacher and he emphasizes technical mastery of the violin.

I know the Paganini is difficult as far as technique, but how tough is it musically? Would it be unreasonable for a violinist of my ability to play such a concerto? I had thought it would be, but I was intrigued by that response.

I've heard that playing musically takes years to develop, but anyone with a certain level of skill can master technical difficulties. Do you find this to be true? (P.S. I am a sophomore in high school...that probably makes a difference!) Any answers are appreciated!

Replies (68)

August 31, 2004 at 10:36 PM · Personally, I think that you would have no problem starting to work on Paganini Concerto 1. From a technical aspect, if you've worked on all of those things you've said you have, such as Wieniawski 2 and Bruch and Zig. with all those etudes, I think you'll be fine to start tackling Paganini.

From a musical standpoint, I have to disagree with what you've heard. I think that musicality is unchanging, it just depends on what kind of a person you are. Of course, it may mature, but it isn't really "developed"... I don't think it is quite possible to develop musicality. There are many people who can fake it with technical 'tricks'(such as digging into the string or a wider vibrato and the like)... but it's not quite genuine. I am also a sophomore in high school, and I consider myself musical, and I hear a lot of competition winners at my age who play fantastically but are just really boring and ... unmusical... and yet I know an 11 year old (who, mind you, is also playing Paganini 1; Yes, he is incredible) who is one of the most musical people I know. (wow big run on sentence.) So I don't think it's age. However, Technical aspects of the violin are developed with the amount of time you've spent playing. So if you think you can remember playing musically on all of your other pieces, then you can on Paganini No.1. All musicality is just emotion, and if you have it, it doesn't matter if you're playing Paganini or Bach or Suzuki 2. And technically, given your background, I think you ought to have no problems starting to work on it.

- Wenhao Sun

September 1, 2004 at 03:51 AM · I wouldn't recommend playing it unless you have worked several Paganini caprices up to a performance level. This concerto is really tough, and if it would be your first Paganini experience, then I would wait on it.

September 1, 2004 at 10:44 PM · Not quite my first experience with Paganini...but kind of. I've done "Moto Perpetuo" before, but really, it isn't so difficult compared to the caprices and such.

September 1, 2004 at 11:30 PM · Sorry Ami but I have to disagree im afraid - I dont think the Paganini caprices should be required before tackling the 1st concerto. I would suggest that the concerto is easier than most of the caprices, especially when you consider the lack of fingered octaves and stretched triple stops that the caprices contain. Most of the concerto is fast arpeggios with a few chromatic thirds and tenths, and a short double-harmonic section in the finale. I think that you will be fine with this concerto, if not have a go at the second which is slightly easier. Let us know how it goes,


September 2, 2004 at 01:59 AM · John, I still disagree. I think that the overall technique required for this piece is far greater than that required to play a Paganini caprice. It requires so much stamina. And as far as the fingered octaves go, it depends on what cadenza you play. The Flesch cadenza is almost entirely octaves. I wouldn't recommend rushing into this piece, because it can be discouraging.

September 2, 2004 at 08:17 PM · In response to John: Hi John, I've read your post about how the 2nd Paganini Concerto is "easier" than the 1st. Honestly, I whole-heartedly disagree because the Second concerto Requires much more stable technique and a higher sense of musicality, plus alot of "pazzazz". The Campanella (Final Movement) is probably in the top 10 of the most difficult technical showpieces or movements for violin. In my opinion,since I've played 1&2, and read through 4, Each Paganini Concerto is a stepping stone to the next. So my advice on tackling this concerto, the First, is to make sure you have established a firm, stable technique, left and right hands and you'll be good to go. The musicality of the concerto is quite obvious, you won't have to do too much digging-think of it as an Italian Musical Drama for Violin. If you have the confidence to do this concerto, you can do it.

September 2, 2004 at 09:38 PM · Yes Amy (sorry i mispelt it before), I see your point about needing a lot of stamina for the concerto and yes i think that it would require a lot more time and work to learn the whole concerto rather than the odd caprice. I still think that the actual passage work in the concerto is less straining on the fingers, maybe its just personal preference but i find that after practicing certain caprices my fingers feel realy sore, for example no.2 (basically because of the stretches), but maybe not after playing ones like 19 or 20 which are less demanding. Ive read that Paganini was only able to play his caprices with great effort, and rarely played them publicly. But i think the caprices vary so much in difficulty that there are arguments for both sides, whether which one is easiest, concertos or caprices. As for the cadenza I wasnt really counting that - im sure there are far easier ones.

September 3, 2004 at 01:29 AM · John, you write that "Paganini was only able to play his caprices with great effort"

I am afraid that there is no contempoary account that Paganini used "great effort" to play anything.

On the contrary, Guhr writes that Paganini played all of his composition with an ease that made fellow violinist furious with anger.

As for the caprices, there is no written account of him playing any of them, either on cencert nor live.

They where probably written between 1797 and 1804, and he considered them as youth's works. Just preparing him for his greater tours that took him abrouad for the first time more than 20 years later.

September 3, 2004 at 04:12 AM · i trust mattias on matters such as these.

September 3, 2004 at 04:36 AM · Well thank you Owen :)

September 3, 2004 at 07:52 PM · Paganini concerto no.1 is definetly not at the difficulty level as most of his caprices, in terms of technique. You can certainly play the piece if you have studied the previous pieces you have played, if you really want to. As for preparing the piece, I recommend studying Flesch scales and arpeggios in doublestops (mainly in thirds.)You will be very surprised about how well, and comfortable some of the more difficult passages fit well on the violin. But I have one question, if you have already studied Bruch, Wieniawski, solo Bach, and Sarasate, why do you want to play Paganini? All of those pieces could "bridge the gap" to concertos by Sibelius, Tchaik, etc.

September 3, 2004 at 08:09 PM · Oh, really? I was always under the impression (from a very young age) that only the "masters" could play the pieces such as the Tchaik, Sibelius, Brahms, etc. I've been looked down upon for playing concertos such as Wieniawski and Bruch for my age. I'm only a student. Maybe that's why I'm so dubious about learning a piece such as Paganini 1. I'm so utterly afraid of ruining it. I'm not exactly sure why, because it's not like I can't play the violin. I've been studying intensively for many years.

I guess the main reason I want to study Paganini 1 is because I've always loved the piece and was just wondering if I would even be able to do it. It's hard for me to judge the difficulty of a piece by just listening to it, because pretty much all Paganini sounds hard! Therefore, it's hard fo me to actually tell how hard a piece is by just listening to it.

Oh, and I've done LOTS of Flesch scales with my old teacher for many years: regular scales, 3rds, sixths, octaves, 10ths...but I haven't as much recently, since my current teacher uses the Galamian system mainly. But I still have my old, trusty Flesch book!

Anyway, thanks for the imput! If anyone has anything else to say, I'd really appreciate it.

September 3, 2004 at 11:01 PM · Greetings,

Francescatti advocted practicing the scales in thirds (especially) from the Paginin as a general techncial study. You might take that as a start point. It won"t do you any harm and it might give you a better sense of things.



September 4, 2004 at 05:31 PM · I disagree with Amy. Paganini's first concerto is a bunch of arpegios and thirds (minus the Sauret; I wouldn't do this is you're a sophmore, I'm a senior and it scares me to death.). Paganini put a lot of scales/arpeggios into the Concerto. I think if you're well versed with all the key signatures seen in the piece you'll be fine (ie. D major, B minor, B major, etc etc.)

September 4, 2004 at 05:52 PM · I know this is kind of off the subject, but when did you start? Like how many years of experience have you had? That could maybe help you decide on the piece.


September 4, 2004 at 05:40 PM · Mattias,

Hi there, I have read many biographies on Paganini and have read that he made his carprices as hard as he possibly could without making them unplayable. The violinist Ernst who modelled himself on Paganini followed him about on tour, renting accomodation in rooms next to where Paganini was staying. He rarely heard him practice, save for a few caprices which if he didnt play perfectly first time he made sure that he did the 2nd time. I disagree that Paganini played #everything# without effort - it just seemed that way, due to the perfection of his playing. Obviously his concertos seemed easy to him - but during live performances he treated the material with great freedom, and improvised the cadenzas. He never played them the same twice. Its a shame this style of playing has been lost from modern classical music, its impossible to imagine how Pagaini's concertos would have sounded played by the man himself. Ive read quotes from Paganini himself in which he states that this kind of concert playing left him drained physically and mentally, leaving him shaking and sweating once he had finished playing. Some observers seemed to notice an altered, trance- like state to him whilst playing. I cant remember the exact source of the quotes, I think Paganini dictated them to his agent later in his career, in full knowledge that they could be published as part of a biography. Ill have to get those biographies back out of the library if any of the exact details are requested.


Ps I agree that the concertos are nowhere near as difficult as the caprices - lets put it in real terms, id rather hear a live 1st or 2nd concerto than listen to someone struggle through the 24 caprices...

September 4, 2004 at 07:08 PM · It is a bad quote that it was Ernst that followed Paganini, Ernst states nothing like that in any of his letters, and he mentions every moment that he had with him.

And it was not the capriceshe played, and he didn't use the bow.

The other parts seem correct tho :)

September 4, 2004 at 07:11 PM · So it was not Ernst that followed him.

And It was God save the queen (Heil im dir Siegercrantz) that he made "almost unplayable".

I still argue that there is no written account during Pag's lifetime that paganini Playeds any of his caprices.

We are not enimies John? :)

September 4, 2004 at 08:44 PM · hey this is kind of fun

September 4, 2004 at 10:05 PM · Greetings,

Owen, now you can see why I am so proud of my long lost Swedish son!

He is a bit nuts though...



September 5, 2004 at 06:47 AM · Not nuts, just a swede...

September 5, 2004 at 08:15 AM · Greetings,

Swedes can be nuts too. It"s so hard to tell...

Cheers, burp,


September 6, 2004 at 03:00 PM · Mattais, you have insulted my honour, my father, and my family. And for that you will suffer.

Haha my little joke.

No we are not enemies I hope!Well i thought the story about Ernst following Paganini about on tour was legit, maybe somebody else can spread some light on the matter. I agree that somebody followed him trying to find his 'secret' but gave up when he saw him practise a fast scale up the fingerboard without the bow. But i think there are so many stories about Paganini that are absolute rubbish, like him playing a concert using a cane for a bow, and performing a concert on a shoe (!!), that it makes it hard to seperate the truth from the all the tall tales. But he was in league with the devil - surely everybody knows that ;-)

September 6, 2004 at 03:15 PM ·

September 6, 2004 at 06:05 PM · certainly many tall tales, but also a fair amount of real accounts. I've never seen mattias be wrong when it comes to things like this. we'll probably never know though.

September 6, 2004 at 07:07 PM · John, you freightens me! :)

If you wan't to read a good and mor honest account of Paganini and Ernst and their greatest competitor Bull, I recommend

"Ole Bull: Norway's romantic misician and Cosmopolitan Patriot" by Haugen and Cai.

Bull was a man that loved everybody and never braged about his efforts, so to read his accounts about Paganini's concerts and how Bull and Ernst played caprices togheter is a truly inspiring happening. His letters probably reveals more truth about the violintechnique and the famous musicians during the 19 century then any historical book.

Par ex. Bull writes about his first encounter with Ernst:

[Ernst, a pupil] of the famous Ritter von Seyfried who inturn was a pupil of the immortal Mozart and finally a pupil of the Great Paganini....plays and composes entirely in his [Paganini's] manner."

Another fun episode is when Döhler [the pianist] had his birthday and Bull entered the room with Ernst on his shoulders. Ernst held Bull's violin and used the bow whil Bull reached up to finger the strings. :)

Sorry, seems like we lost the subject!

September 7, 2004 at 04:33 PM · I agree with John! Also, try Sonata #12 by Paganini. It's a good start for playing Paganini. Moto Perpetuo Too. Or how about Le Streghe or I Palpiti? Everyone seems to forget about Paganinis other works.

September 7, 2004 at 05:34 PM · Thanks Theresa, your tenner is in the post... But what do you agree with me on exactly?

Thats interesting Matt, Id like to hear any more anecdotes like that. My favourite is the one where Kriesler was nearly arrested because he took his violin to be valued and the violin dealer thought that he'd stole it.He called the police and when they arrived he played Schon Rosmarin and the policeman said, thats Fritz Kriesler, nobody can play Schon Rosmarin like that! Please dont tell me that that story isnt true Matt! :-)

But back to the main question, I think Mr Faulkner will be fine with the 1st concerto, but if you want some easier Paganini to play why not try his cantable in D or the middle movements of his concertos. Some great music there, it doesnt have to be finger-breaking!


September 7, 2004 at 07:16 PM · Of course that story's apocryphal! You're telling me you believe a street cop would have recognized not only Fritz Kreisler himself but even his style of playing while a professional dealer failed to do so??

September 7, 2004 at 08:49 PM · I would love to see any of you that think that it is so easy play it.

September 7, 2004 at 10:09 PM · Yeah I agree with Geoff. I wouldn't touch that piece with a ten foot pole if I hadn't played a fair number of harder pieces than you mentioned. If you haven't played Saint-Saens no 3, Vieuxtemps 5, Mendelssohn, or Tchaik, then you will have insurmountable difficulty with this concerto. It's fine to study it, but don't expect to be able to perform it.

September 7, 2004 at 11:29 PM · Greetings,

Emil, maybe it was Sherlock Holmes,



September 8, 2004 at 01:11 AM · Amy, and Geoff, I disagree with you totally. You most definetly do not have to play Vieuxtemps, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, or Saint-Saens 3, to play this. Have you actually, seen the score, or played it??, Or are you judjing by just listening to it. G. Faulkner seems he is more than ready to play Paganini no1, with the pieces he's played. The whole concerto is basically ornamented Flesch. And I also don't aggree that the stamina level is very high, atleast not higher than any other romantic concerto.

September 8, 2004 at 01:52 AM · Yes Rick, in fact I did play it. And there's no way anyone could possibly play it well after only playing those pieces. Have you played it?

September 8, 2004 at 01:55 AM · Or actually the question should be if you played it when you were actually ready to.

September 8, 2004 at 11:42 PM ·

September 8, 2004 at 10:36 PM · Damn thats it im not believing anything I read anymore. Im gonna throw my 2 cents in to the Viex.tchaik.Paganini discussion - I think that they are each about the same difficulty, but lets face it unless you are an amazingly talented and confident player you aint gonna be able to do any of these peices justice in public - save that for

September 8, 2004 at 10:44 PM · PS that was quite funny Buri...But where does Buri come from if thats not your name? Just curious.

September 8, 2004 at 11:00 PM · John, there is a certain standard that one hopes to have in a performance, no matter what kind of performance that is. I have played Tchaik, Vieuxtemps 5 and Paganini concerto no. 1. And the technical level of Paganini is far greater than the other two. If you haven't actually played all three of these pieces to that performance level, then you shouldn't say anything about it.

September 10, 2004 at 03:38 PM · Sorry to break this to you Amy but this is a discussion board, and everybody has the right to voice their opinion, which is what I am doing. I am not stating my opinion as fact. Just the same that it is your opinion that the Paganini is much harder than the Tchaikovsky and Vieuxtemps, thats fine, it is your opinion, im not going to deny that from you, so please do me the same courtesy.

September 10, 2004 at 03:46 PM · PS also in my previous comment I was not saying that anyone in particular on here is not capable of playing these pieces to a good performance standard, it was more of a general comment. Im sure there are plenty of virtuosos on this site!


September 10, 2004 at 05:32 PM · John, I'm not trying to start a nasty argument here, I'm just stating my opinion, just like you are. And my opinion is that if you (or any other person who comments) have not played the pieces that you reference, then you should not say anything about the ability required to play them, because it's impossible to judge a piece's difficulty without playing it. I would not comment on the difficulty of a piece I haven't played. I only asked you a simple question, that was if you had played this concerto, and as far as I can tell, you haven't answered my question.

September 10, 2004 at 07:35 PM · OK Amy, hate to break it to you, but I have played this piece, in NINETH grade, when I was like 14!, and I played it for 3 different concerto competitions! Two years after playing Mozart no.5. I know this piece back and front. So I do have a right to voice my opinion. Geeze!! Ok, but seriously why do you think this is so difficult? I played Tchaikovsky right after playing this piece, and I have not played vieuxtemp 5, but I have played no.4.

September 10, 2004 at 11:17 PM · Woww good for you. I yield to your obvious expertise. Butcher away. In fact, I think they should add this ridiculously easy concerto to the end of Suzuki book one.

September 11, 2004 at 03:17 PM · Yeah Amy, I totally aggree with you. You are just so great.

September 11, 2004 at 03:23 PM · "Woww good for you. I yield to your obvious expertise. Butcher away. In fact, I think they should add this ridiculously easy concerto to the end of Suzuki book one."

Whoah, you are really obnoxious, and pretty stupid too. Do you really call yourself a violinist?? How old are you, 12? No wait, even 12 year olds converse with more etiquette then you do. Lets save your comments, for

Have a Nice Day.

September 11, 2004 at 04:44 PM · little twerp violinist studies with one of the most sought after teachers in the country :)

September 11, 2004 at 04:44 PM · Its nice to see the level of maturity on this board...perhaps that's why I don't post as much as I use to. Look, if Mr. Basil is telling the truth, we'll know about it in a few years when he's either a soloist or in a professional orchestra. I know lots of kids who have played major concertos when they were 13 or 14...and they played it with great artistry. Its possible.

September 11, 2004 at 05:45 PM · "Whoah, you are really obnoxious, and pretty stupid too. Do you really call yourself a violinist?? How old are you, 12? No wait, even 12 year olds converse with more etiquette then you do. Lets save your comments, for"

Wow, bring on the personal insults. I don't care what the heck you say, and I never personally insulted you, or said that your opinion was invalid. Seeing as you didn't state before that you played the piece, I simply asked if you did. Take it as you will. At least I'm not the one getting all defensive of their violin playing ability.

September 11, 2004 at 05:54 PM · Wow what a bitch-fest this discussion board is! Well in answer to your question Amy, yes i have played these pieces. Lets leave it at that eh, cant we all just be friends again, maybe meet up and get drunk and burn some student violins :-)


October 10, 2007 at 05:23 AM · I was searching info about Paganini and this is what I found... good reading. So we're now 3 years later... anyone seen Rick Basil on "Live from Lincoln Center"?

October 10, 2007 at 05:51 AM · No, but it brought back memories of Paganini 1, and this novice's first impressions.

When I first listened, I could identify the advanced techniques being used surprisingly well, but I missed the musicality.

There is some music that is organic the first go round-- this one wasn't for me? So, well, yes, I'm a novice. And maybe the world's fave classics are because of repetition thus familiarity, but there seems more.

Since music is passion, and is really like one's breath, because it is alive, there is good reason that those simple nurturing melodies persist in our hearts then minds. I saw Paganini's genius, but not my girlfriend's bosom? I think that,is 'maybe' what I'm trying to say.

Love taken to it's limit, is romanticism. Knowledge taken to it's limit is intellectualism. Music taken to it's limit, is Paganini! I loved

it, but learned to love it.

Now, whatever Witche's Dance come from--that's another story. My man! Emil! ee-hah.

October 10, 2007 at 11:57 AM · hey! wow a blast from the past!!!! well, 3 years on, prepare for 24 caprices to be played in 1 take.....coming soon mwahHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

October 10, 2007 at 12:24 PM · Um... nobody seems to have mentioned the obvious... What does your teacher say about this?

How about doing a Vieuxtemps concerto first?

Cheers from sunny Washington DC.

October 10, 2007 at 06:22 PM · I think there's lots of stuff in this concerto that, if taken slowly could be used as and etude. The runs of 3rds in the first movement come to mind. This would be a great exercise for someone studing their D major scales, arpeggios, and double stops in 3 octaves.

October 10, 2007 at 11:18 PM · Greetings,

that was a practice Francescatti advocated, too.



October 3, 2010 at 08:50 AM ·

Resurrecting this thread...

Does anyone have a time line (how many hours should an average player take) for the first movement? Which edition is the easiest to handle?


October 3, 2010 at 05:08 PM ·

It's diffrent for everybody I would imagine... What may take you 4 hours a day for a month may take somebody 4 hours a day for 2 months. Or if you just get the technique maybe an hour a day for 2 weeks. I've seen this kind of thing happen, what took me weeks to figure out someone else did in half the time, and what took me no time took them forever. It's different for everybody... 

But going on what you've played... give yourself a month, split the concerto movement in half, first half up to the recitative section. (That part only took me a week and half to get, because there really isn't anything but scalic passages in double stops) Work on the recitative section (which I'd give myself the 4th week to work on exclusively) and then work on the other half...  which depending on how good your riccochet is could take a bit more time., and the tenths can be a bit annoying... and since you've already practiced the first half, the second half that is much like the first part at the end of the concerto will come easily to you. this is minus whatever cadenza you're going to play. Give yourself a month to work on the Sauret, any other cadenza you can probably learn in 3 weeks. Try to do the Second movement, at least. It's so pretty.

October 3, 2010 at 09:14 PM ·

Thanks. I took a look at the score again. The first movement alone will be a one-year project for me, no..., make it two.

October 4, 2010 at 12:14 AM ·

You have to believe in yourself!!! You'll be suprised at what you can do with a positive outlook. Forget about whatever you've heard anybody say about how hard it is, think to yourself this is going to be easy... The problem is that we hear somebody else say it's hard and that alone puts all kinds of road blocks in your head...  Like I've said hundreds of times on this site, difficulty is in the eye of the beholder Some people have certain skills that others don't have, and some just need to be generally developed.  Violin is an art, and ALL ART IS SUBJECTIVE! be it in a technical sense, or musical. Comodo fac id! ( just do it!) my latin is a little rusty.

October 4, 2010 at 01:28 AM ·

For sure,Paganini performed his own  Capriccio nu 24 in concert or in private receptions...because he made an arr. for violin and Guitar called "Variations Di Bravura". The violin part remains intact. It was recorded by Scott St-John...

Paganini first is very very hard to perform in concert,especially if you perform the original work with no cuts in the last movement and the Sauret cadenza, as wonderfully played by the young Menuhin, Leonid Kogan and Phillip Hirshorn.  Now,these 3 violinists reached the highest level in that particular concerto. It takes  supranatural gifts and  transcendental technique,with a very accurate bel canto sound to achieve such a level.

Paganini concerto= major league of the very top virtuoso. Even Heifetz did not touch it as written. He played the version of August Wilhemny,the first movement only... Mistein did not perform the work and many other great artists... It is impossible to play perfectly and more difficult than the Capriccios. The concerto is very long in its original form with the Sauret cadenza. The capriccios are short individual pieces...

October 4, 2010 at 03:06 AM ·

My thoughts were more along the suggestion by Buri, of viewing the *first movement only* (minus the cadenza) as a bunch of etudes each with a different technical exercise. The technical equipment required to play/perform the concerto in its entirety (Wilhelmj arrangement or otherwise) appears to be something else and definitely major league (not me).

October 4, 2010 at 12:01 PM ·

VJ: I was not referring to your post...I was referring to the ones below speaking about the fact that the concerto is not difficult and that the Cappriccios are more...I simply do not agree with that...

October 4, 2010 at 08:09 PM ·

I just don't like calling anything difficult, I've done that half my life and the only thing it did for me was to keep me from trying, made me jealous of other people that could and alot of other negative things.

How about the word challenging? The Paganini is challenging, very challenging, but not difficult. Might I also suggest playing Lipinski concerto militaire... in hindsight after having played paganini found that if I had did the lipinski first, I would been more satisfied today.  Because now I feel the Paganini is kind of trite, but I feel that way about all the concertos I've heard too many times. I crave something off the beaten path. I'm happy when I hear anybody play Concertos by Bazzini,Spohr (more than just the vocal scene) DeBeriot,Vieuxtemps other concerti,Dvorak,Saint-Saens other concerti, Bruch other two concertos you know... the stuff they're not famous for. There are so many other pieces that are out there on the same level but all we get now a days are the meat and potatoes, the same old same old... it makes me sad...  I'm happy Hahn is playing a new concerto... I hope it gets added to the same old same old one day..

October 4, 2010 at 10:18 PM ·

Some of the concertos you have cited Vernon are interesting for the violinist and fun to play...but it is not for the public... Many music was popular during some era, but the public has evolved and some pieces are master pieces, others,not...

Difficult means to reach the level of Kogan, the young Menuhin or Hirshorn... because if you do not have what is unique and called a gift or being immensely talented, then,yes it becomes a challenge, and it will be played at your level,and it does not mean that it wont be of interest.

But you can count on the fingers of your hands these rare and uncommon talents... How can you explain that Menuhin played so beautifully ( and I mean with a rare musical talent,not just technical stuff) when he was a young boy of 11...

That is what I mean by being difficult...

October 5, 2010 at 12:25 AM ·

And the more I think about it Vernon, as a composer,I always told to myself, about me when I first started my cycle of five symphonies, that I believed in the project,because it seemed impossible... I covered all styles of writing, beginning with baroque,to classical and romantic,imperssionnist and finally dodecaphonic-serial...

So,you are right in a sense...and I think like you do...

October 5, 2010 at 04:07 AM ·

Marc: Not a problem. It helps to be realistic and recognize one's limitations, mine in this case, and that's what I was trying to say when I wrote that this was definitely major league. I would like to slog (and saw) away at the first movement in small chunks, though. (Inspired in no small part by Smiley's Chaconne exercise). Patience and time, being in short supply in my case, compound all of this.

October 5, 2010 at 11:25 AM ·

VJ: that is exactly how they use to teach in the old U.S.S.R.  I have mentionned that in my youth I studied with one student of Yankelevith and had access to the material they used... And there is a treatise about all the repertoire and problematic passages of the pieces.

I have learned several difficult passages like this, excerpt of concerti for instance,before learning the complete work... So it was with Sibelius ,Tchaïkovski or Paganini... I could play all the difficult passages,but did not have a cue about the complete piece. So when time came up to go through the entire work,it was not a problem really,from the technical point of view... Music was another matter...

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Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine