Zigeunerweisen and other stuff

February 14, 2005 at 06:46 AM · Hey there,

I've been reading these boards on and off for a while now so I decided I might as well register and make use of them. I'm pretty much just typing as I think of stuff so bare with me. I started working on Zigeunerweisen a few days ago and I'm really enjoying it so far. I know this is a pretty vague question but does anyone have any advice as I continue working on this piece? I'd like to have it ready to play in public within a month and a half or so (but it's not the end of the world if I don't). I guess (in hopes of getting more advice) I'll post my impressions etc. of it so far, keeping in mind I've only been working on it for a few days:

*Technically I think it's just right for me, nothing seems insurmountable but it's more than enough to keep me busy, and I think parts of it are going to push my limits playing up to tempo.

*Two parts stick out in my mind as problem areas right now. One is the long up-bow section in the first movement.

*The other part(s) is whenever the marking "gliss" appears by one of those downward chromatic scales. My teacher only had time to briefly go over everything at my lesson but basically he described it as vibrating while I slide my hand down. Sometimes (less than half) I get it to work, sometimes I don't. And I'm not really sure what I'm doing differently when it does work.

*The left-hand pizz part in the last movement isn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and it sounds really cool!

*Above all it just seems like a really fun showpiece especially because frankly, at least IMO, it sounds a lot harder to the audience than it really is =)

Also, not to overlook the Sarasate, but can anyone recommend a concerto to work on after this? Would it be reasonable to try and tackle the Mendelssohn? I'm open to any suggestions.

Replies (4)

February 14, 2005 at 05:14 PM · u have to have alot of flair to play zigeunerweisen.

February 15, 2005 at 02:46 AM · John, don't know your level, but why not to try Vieuxtemps #4, or #2? If you play Zigeunerweisen without technical difficulties and enjoy its fiery character, so you need some bright romantic brilliant concerto like Vieuxtemps. (I like #5 more, but I think, it would be too difficult to play. Maybe I am wrong. I just compare to Mendelssohn...)

About Zigeunerweisen... All passages (doesn't matter how good you are in them) divide by parts, like you practice any scale on legato, thinking by groups of four, three, five, six, etc. notes. Also always feel the first and last note, (I mean, when you are ready to perform, don't slow down because of these divisions). And keep in mind that the last note should be really bright and brilliant. Determine how long you are going to 'show' this last note. Never do it too short or too long.

Chromatic downward glissando practice slowly, listen to each step. Play it separate and feel an accent on each note which you do with slight attack toward you of playing finger, like you practice vibration.

In slow part, use various tone colors, timbres, dynamics... be creative, it's Gypsy music.

Don't press too much fingers when you play thirds. Lighten fingers and make this forte with bow only.

At last- Allegro molto Vivace- just relax.

Good luck.

February 15, 2005 at 06:32 AM · Great points by Rita..That is the way to practice the downward slide.. For the long staccato on the bottom of the 2nd page I would try using a very small amount of bow. The formula to a faster staccato is actually using less bow and vice versa for a slower staccato more bow. Also it might help to learn this passage with flying staccato. Kogan I believe only used flying staccato not on string staccato. To add onto what Erika was saying one must take risks in this piece. I remember Erick Friedman told me the reason he felt this one well known recording of the Zigunerweisen was not exciting was because it lacked that certain dash and was played too carefully. To prepare for this piece on a technical level I would suggest practicing harmonic minor scales in all keys to work on the quick extensions and contractions of the finger. In addition go for evenness before speed in the passage work. Heifetz once said that even passage work can give the illusion of playing something faster. Another thing to be careful about is the last line of the piece in making sure you play true half steps between the repeated b and c naturals. I have heard many people play a c sharp instead which happens when the finger is over extended. It's a tight rope walk up there in 10th position!


February 15, 2005 at 10:43 PM · My tip is, if you stuff up in performance of the 1st movement, no-one will notice, just make it up as you go. Thats what I did at a masterclass at 9 am, having been allowed no warm-up time. Actually somebody did notice. dang

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