Bloch Nigun and Suk's Vier Stucke op.17

January 2, 2006 at 08:07 AM · 2 things-

1. how hard is Bloch - Nigun? has anyone played it?

I have played a couple of paganini caprices almost decently...bruch, wieniawski 2....etc

does it make sense to learn this piece?

2. has anyone played Vier stucke op.17 by josef suk? (4 pieces) how hard are these and is it worth learning them?

thanks everyone

Replies (8)

January 2, 2006 at 08:47 AM · Bloch's Nigun is a great piece, very liberal in the interpretation and is a great show piece.

The Suk is also good, but not as well known. I love it, I've played the Appassionata and I would consider it one of the strongest pieces in my program. It was recommended to me by Buri, if that helps :)

January 3, 2006 at 03:01 AM · Greetings,

I don't think my recomendation is going to help, Ben. :(

For what it's worth, these pieces are, apart from being very fine music, extremely good technique builders. One of them is listed for grade 8 (British level) but I wouldn't let that be a measure of difficulty. Very briefly:

No 1) This simple and repetitve melody is a very thought provoking test of your sense of color and how one is to achieve it through fingerings and bowings. I played this piece in a couple of recitals last year and now I am looking at the score and thinking I have changed so much I need to rework all the shifts and vibrato speeds. Also note that if you play all the dynamics -as written- then it is very subtle and challenging. Incidentally, the Neveu reocrding does not even get close. In terms of what is written I find that perfomance -very- shoddy no matter how it sounds and I think the Suk generations all new what they wanted from string instruments so messing with the dynamics and numerous tempo indications is really not in order.

The middle section of this movement is an incredible exercise in bow control. Each trumpet like fanfare has to be sustained to the written length (longer bow required!!!!) and be in absolute proportion to the preceding and suceeding ones until you explode into mania. Any violinist should be grateful for these few lines of lunacy.

2) This is the Appasionata. Technically, fairly easy but actually a real test of bow articulation, and there are numerous recordings (actually only a few..) by modern players where a lack of decent spicatto in the triplet passages is embarrasing. Some players resort to a lame detache just to be loud I suppose... Again the dynamics are a real test of atistry and must all be in proportion.

No 3 is a really sexy piece I don"t have much to say about. No 4 was a staple encore piece for many great players. The Ricci recording crops up a lot. Then there is Milstein and Rabin. I think the Rabin is quite poor by his standards actually. What makes this piece more interesting than your average moto perpetuo is the contrast with the 'burlesque' theme which when played with absolutely slashing bow speed and brilliance literally makes your hair stand on end.

In sum, just about any reasonable violinst can play these pieces. But to play them well with all the dynamics , changes in tempo, rubato and nuance actually written in the score is -extremely- hard and a player who has bothered to do this actually has in their possession a major concert work which is guaranteed to succeed anywhere.



January 3, 2006 at 03:16 AM · It makes great sense to learn the Nigun! Great piece...what a silly question :-)~

If it's Bohemian repertoire you're looking for (for technical purposes) I'd recommend the Sevcik Bohemian Dances written for Kubelik.

January 3, 2006 at 02:49 PM · Great post, Buri! I think the Suk op. 17 are very fine pieces. It's a great way to learn that Romantic style which is, sadly, no longer in vogue. I used to play them a lot in my previous life as a performer. Perhaps I need to work on my powers of persuasion, but I haven't been able to convince any of my students to study them. :(

January 3, 2006 at 04:31 PM · Don't worry Joey, I'm working on bringing it back!

Very few performers are willing to jump into the unknown, please check out my friend Ingolf Turbans , he's one of the few going into the unknown right now.

I'm not sure if I speak only for myself, but no matter who is performing, I will not go see the Tchaikovsky or Sibelius concertos anymore! Nor will I buy another CD of this standard rep.

I also noticed that you are in New York Joey, Ingolf will be performing Paganini's first concerto in it's original key with the Scordatura tuning in March with the New York Philharmonic...I'll be there!

And before I'm attacked for not "supporting the arts"...if more people had this attitude, there would be more music to choose from...I'm not paying to see big boobs or see someone bend their knees and breathe heavy while they play!

January 5, 2006 at 12:54 PM · Hi Jonathan,

I'm glad you have taken up the piece!

I'll try to be there when Turban plays with the NY Phil. Thanks for letting me know about it!

Best wishes,


September 2, 2008 at 08:29 AM · i'm doing l.mus.a and im thinking about starting the nigun or intro and tarantelle by sarate. Which one should i pick?

September 2, 2008 at 04:48 PM · About Suk, thereĀ“s a IMHO definitive recording

by the Neveu brothers. She was on top form here.

Really fantastic.

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