20th Century Solo Violin Piece?

November 23, 2004 at 04:56 AM · Hi. Can anyone suggest a 20th c. solo violin piece for grad school auditions? THANKS!

Replies (32)

November 23, 2004 at 06:22 AM · The Prokofiev Solo Sonata would be great (although I'm not sure of the standard required for grad school).

Hindemith Solo Sonata, Bartok Solo Sonata and Ysaye would be a much harder...

November 23, 2004 at 09:26 PM · do ysaye ballade

November 23, 2004 at 10:13 PM · How about playing the Schoenberg Phantasy... but perosnally, I would go for Bartok's rhapsodies. If you want to show off some technique, I'd go for the Ysaye ballade. I played that piece recently... a lot of slow practising.

November 23, 2004 at 10:19 PM · I'd recommend Harbison's Four Songs of Solitude in addition to the standard works listed above. If you want something really cool and out of the ordinary, look up the name Gudny Gudmundsdottir, and look for the solo pieces by contemporary Icelandic composers that she recorded about 10 years ago.

November 23, 2004 at 10:46 PM · You can try the Sessions Sonata if you are daring. The Harbison, by the way, is very beautiful.

November 23, 2004 at 11:16 PM · If you've got the technique, try either Ysaye's "Ballade" or Bartok's solo sonata.

November 24, 2004 at 03:14 AM · i still say u should do ysaye ballade

January 10, 2005 at 05:15 AM · Solo: Elgar Violin Concerto

Unaccompanied: Enescu Sonata

January 10, 2005 at 02:07 PM · I would go with Hindemith, either one of his sonatas or his concerto.

January 10, 2005 at 02:26 PM · Ysaye Sonatas.

Milstein Paganiniana, or Mephisto Waltz transcription.

January 10, 2005 at 02:32 PM · The Rachmaninov C# minor prelude arranged by Reed for Solo Violin, technically not very difficult, but it's rare and has so much fun to play.

January 10, 2005 at 03:49 PM · Sophie Eckhardt-Gramatté caprices for solo violin. And more to day,a modern Robert Zuidam's Variations on Paganini's theme (the 24th)

January 10, 2005 at 04:21 PM · Also the Paganini Variations by Ysaÿe.

January 10, 2005 at 04:32 PM · Jeff Harrington's 4 movement Sonata for Solo Violin.

January 10, 2005 at 04:34 PM · Rochberg's Caprice Variations, again, on Paganini's no.24.

January 10, 2005 at 04:41 PM · other than bach, max reger wrote my favorite sonatas for solo violin

January 10, 2005 at 09:25 PM · Paul Creston wrote a nice little suite for Vln and Pno (op. 18) that is flashy with a nice slow movement. Or what about Prokofiev's Solo Sonata?


January 12, 2005 at 02:20 AM · I did the unaccompanied sonata by Vincent Persichetti for my undergrad audition. I guess it would depend on your other stuff as to whether you would want to do it for a graduate audition though.

January 13, 2005 at 06:55 AM · we keep saying rochberg but nobody cares *sob*

January 13, 2005 at 06:58 AM · Greetings,

that`s because you are saying it too quickly and it just sounds like a bad cough,



January 15, 2005 at 09:14 PM · Hi,

There are some pieces also by Eliott Carter which are nice. Although 20th century, the Ysaŷe's don't usually qualify. There is a solo sonata by Erwin Schulhoff which is good, and also a piece called A Paganini by Schnittke, which Kremer recorded. And the Sherhedrin sonata that Vengerov recently recorded. Off the top of my head, that is the best I can add aside from the ones mentioned above.


January 15, 2005 at 09:58 PM · I would never suggest the A Paganini as an audition piece, the piece is only effective as a whole, not an audition length snidbit. I would suggest only the Hindemith #1 Sonata. There are many many many 20th century (the audition requirement really should be worded differently), but the Hindemith would be the most affective and is readily available. Good luck!

January 16, 2005 at 12:02 AM · I second the Eckhardt-Gramatté caprices. The Ysaye Ballade is overplayed and almost becoming "cliche-ed". If you want to do Ysaye play #2 or #6.

Schoenburg Phantasy is always impressive.


April 15, 2005 at 03:52 PM · I might disagree with Jonathan about the Schnittke A Paganini not being a good audition piece (I just succesfully auditioned with it). It's a great piece, and works ok even if you just play the paganini portion.

April 15, 2005 at 05:24 PM · if "solo" includes piano, i'd recommend

debussy sonata

ravel 2

vaugahn williams sonata


i dont see why ysaye wouldnt count as 20th century; something like the ballade strikes me as being historicist (in looking back to bach) but also modernist and even debussy-like (if debussy had written blazing violin showpieces). although i'm always puzzled why blazing virtuosity is an audition requirement for anything other than soloing with a major orchestra -- after all the vast majority of great pieces were written to sound nice, and be played sensitively. At last week's masterclass, Ida Haendel joked that Ysaye is played by students primarily in auditions to show how good they are... (No disrespect to Ysaye; I love his pieces).

April 15, 2005 at 07:16 PM · Haendal doesn't identify with a lot of Ysaye's stuff.

April 16, 2005 at 02:42 AM · If "solo" means unaccompanied, I think you couldn't go wrong with the Bartok unaccompanied sonata. It's hard to find a better merging of technical and musical demands. And it is a piece which, if well performed, leaves the listener feeling really sated (IMHO).

April 17, 2005 at 02:08 AM · its an incredibly difficult piece to pull off though. Something i'd leave til grad school but thats just me.

April 20, 2005 at 02:14 AM · I'd recommend Manuel Quiroga's Emigrantes Celtas, it's not only a flashy little piece, but also very well thought out. I have a huge library of music, my favorite music is for violin alone! You might also investigate Stanley Weiner's Partita #1, very interesting music. Both these pieces were written by violinists, so that might be a plus, depending on how you're looking at it! Please let me know what you decide on.

April 20, 2005 at 12:15 PM · How about Kreisler's Recitativo & Scherzo? I'm surprised nobody's mentioned it. It's a great piece of music in a very concise form, technically demanding but not outrageously difficult, has lots of contrast within only a couple of minutes. And a crowd-pleaser, too.

April 21, 2005 at 11:03 AM · Berio Sequenza all the way. You'll need a good bunch of music stands (4) and a BIG practice mute... Go for it!

April 22, 2005 at 03:02 AM · Are you really Gringolts? Or just a huge fan!? If you're Ilya, let me be one of the many to tell you what a sensational violinist you are! And also offer full access to my sheet music collection! To quote Roy Orbison, "anything you want you go it!" (if this is Ilya,, I'll keep chattin) I saw a recording of you playing the Ernst Polyphonics straight through in Russia when you were a little guy, pretty good stuff ;-) Have you investigated the solo works of Lipinski (op.10,27,29)? Equally as challenging, could be fun, no left-hand pizz for a change!...I'll stop, I could go on for ever frohnen@hotmail.com

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