Anyone wants to talk about Conus Violin Concerto in e mionr?

February 25, 2006 at 05:57 AM · Hey everybody,

My violin teacher just wanted me to start "Conus Violin Concerto in e minor." But I have never heard this piece, not even Conus' name! (It's like an unknown piece for me.) Can anyone tell me something about Conus violin concerto if you have played it before or anything spectacular about this piece that you want to talk about? Is it hard? Is it beautiful? How about the technique? Thank you very much

Replies (34)

February 25, 2006 at 12:10 PM · There is a better e minor concerto, but I can't quite remember who wrote it....*chuckle of sarcasm*.

February 25, 2006 at 12:46 PM · I love the Conus! You are lucky to have a teacher who teaches it. It is such a valuable piece!

Conus was a Russian (actually spelled Konius)who lived in Paris and taught at the Russian Conservatoire of Paris. His concerto is written in a "French" style, using chromatic harmony, but keeps the sweep op big Russian Themes alive at the same time.

Technically, it offers great opportunities to develop your coordination, your ear, your sense of rhythmic flow and especially your focused concentration when practicing. Its an excellent piece. The second movement is very beautiful.

The concerto is in an unusual form. Essentially, it is in one movement because the first movement is interrupted in the middle by the second movement, then resumes in in the recapitulation. There is an extensive cadenza followed by a page long coda to conclude. Cool piece. Hope you enjoy it.

A little-known historical fact about the Conus:

It was premiered by a young Russian man living in the Conus home. Conus' daughter was the pianist at the premier. The violinist was a promising teacher at the Russian Conservatoire in Paris---by the name of Ivan Galamian.

February 25, 2006 at 02:45 PM · Hello,

In case you are interested, there is a fantastic recording of this work by Jascha Heifetz. It should be available on CD - it has been in the past.


February 25, 2006 at 07:16 PM · The work was performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra several years ago, with Norman Carol who was then concertmaster, as soloist.

The violin solo with piano reduction is published by IMC and the orchestra score and parts by Kalmus.

CONUS, Julius (1869-1942)

Concerto for Violin in E minor (Galamian).


IMC 2869 violin & piano $23.00


CONUS, Julius (1869-1942)

Concerto for Violin in E minor.


Reprint of JURGENSON, P.

A1386 large score $40.00

A1386 set (incl strings 4,4,3,2,2) $115.00

A1386 Solo violin (no piano) $8.00

February 25, 2006 at 07:24 PM · Wow, I had no idea Galamian gave the premiere of the Conus.

Get the Heifetz recording--it's amazing.

February 25, 2006 at 08:38 PM · It's a wonderful concerto. The Heifetz recording is one of my top favorite recordings of any violinist playing anything! A must hear recording, in my opinion.

February 25, 2006 at 10:14 PM · The problem with the Heifetz recording is that after Heifetz, it seems pointless to play that piece...unless one is doing it for purely academic purposes.

February 27, 2006 at 06:13 AM · Not many other recordings of Conus. Maybe there are 2 more - other than Heifetz's. They are by Perlman (EMI) and David Garrett (DG).

February 27, 2006 at 07:18 AM · Heard the Heifetz recording about 30+ years ago. As I recall its quite a challenging piece. Good luck and I think you will enjoy it.

February 27, 2006 at 11:01 AM · It's about the same difficulty as, maybe a bit easier than, the Chausson Poeme, in the same vein. It's one of Heifetz's finer ones - wasn't it originally issued onto a 33rpm Medium Play format (a smaller LP)? - perhaps the unique tone quality of his recordings just after the War had to do with this technology, the tone lustre is amazing, IMO not matched by the later LP releases. The first Walton recording is another example.

February 27, 2006 at 11:39 AM · There's a splendid version by late Andrei Korsakoff

on a Russian Disc.,plus Khatchaturian's Concerto-

Rhapsody and Igor Frolov's concet-fantasy on themes

from Porgy and Bess.Very recommendable.

February 27, 2006 at 12:46 PM · While it is difficult to play, I don't remember it being as hard as Chausson's Poeme. It's very chromatic in some sections but the sheer number of notes per beat is generally far less. It's not my favorite piece, but I know it did wonders for just about every aspect of my playing. I have to admit that the cadenza is pretty awesome- possibly one of the best written cadenzas out there.

February 27, 2006 at 01:42 PM · Ah! Yes, Carlos - I have that very same CD too from Russian Disc. Regards - Lee

February 27, 2006 at 04:00 PM · Here are the program notes for the Conus from the Perlman/EMI disc, written by Rory Guy:

"That Julius Conus also was adept at lovely, long-lined melody we have the evidence of his Violin Concerto in E minor, and little else. A violinist, Conus wrote other, shorter pieces for his instrument, but these are virtually unheard today.

Conus wasa Russian, born into a fascinating family of French musicians who had migrated to Russia at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Two of Julius's brothers also were musicians. All three studied at Moscow Conservatory under Taneyev and Arensky, and all three stayed on to teach there. Georgi Conus (1862-1933}, the eldest, had marked influence upon such students as Scriabin and Gliere. For a time, much was expected of Georgi as a composer. Tchaikovsky thought so highly of his promise that he obtained for him the Tsar's annual stipend of 1200 rubles awarded to deserving musicians. Georgi did indeed compose songs, a ballet, a cantata, two symphonic poems, and a variety of other instrumental works. None of these have entered the international repertoire, and Georgi ultimately became more and more immersed in musical academics, formulating an abstruse system he called "metro-techtonic analysis" for the scientific measurement of symmetry in musica lforms.

Leo Conus{187l-l944) was a classmate of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s in Arensky's course in advanced composition. He headed Moscow Conservatory's piano department for a number of years and achieved a sturdy reputation in Russia as a concert pianist. In 1921, Leo left the USSR to reside for a time in Paris. In 1936, he moved on to the United States, settling in Cincinnati where he remained as a teacher until his death at 73.

Julius (sometimes Yuly, Jules or Julien) Conus was born in Moscow in 1869. In 1888 he took a Gold Medal at Moscow Conservatory and taught there until 1895. He also concertized, both as a soloist and as a chamber musician, appearing sometimes in a Trio or other ensemble with Rachmaninoff to play the latter's compositions. Rachmaninoff dedicated his two pieces{Op. 6) for violin and piano to Julius and the two men remained warm friends throughout their lives. {In 1932 Julius's son Boris and Rachmaninoffs daughter Tatiana were married and, a year later, gave their two proud fathers a grandson).

Julius., like Leo, went to Paris in 1921 to teach at the Russian Conservatory. He did not follow Leo's example in emigrating to the States however. Instead, as Hitler's Germany became a threat to all of Europe, Julius returned to his homeland. In 1942, the year of the Nazis' heavy offensive against Moscow, the continuing siege of Leningrad, the fall of Sebastopol, and the heroic defense of Stalingrad, Julius Conus died in Moscow.

Conus composed his Violin Concerto for his own use and was the soloist in its premiere performance in Moscow in 1898. In the early 1900's Fritz Kreisler took up the concerto's cause and gave it its London premiere in 1904. It was Jascha Heifetz who became the Conus Concerto's true champion. He made it a part of his repertoire for worldwide concert appearances, from 1920 onward played it on several occasions in Carnegie Hall, and with his recording of it with the RCA Symphony Orchestra under Izler Solomon in 1952, brought the work to its widest audience thus far.

Listeners invariably heard the Conus Concerto with enthusiasm. Critics as a rule dismissed it as minor, though conceding it to be a grateful vehicle for the fiddler. As with many works written by a violinist-composer, it provides the soloist with an effective showcase for brilliance and fireworks, but the Conus surpasses many another "virtuoso vehicle" in its quite ravishing songfulness.

Conus cast his work in E minor, key of the Mendelssohn concerto. Its three concise sections are played without pause: Allegro molto; Adagio; Allegro subito. A cadenza occurs between the latter two sections.


February 27, 2006 at 07:13 PM · In my humble opinion, there is a reason why Conus Op. 2 does not exist.

Conus and Rachmaninoff were in-laws? Fascinating!

February 27, 2006 at 08:09 PM · "Listeners invariably heard the Conus Concerto with enthusiasm. Critics as a rule dismissed it as minor"

Larry, maybe there's a reason why critics dismissed it as "minor" :P

February 27, 2006 at 09:25 PM · Elman recorded it too. I mean once.

February 28, 2006 at 12:42 AM · Some people may believe that there shouldn't have been an Opus 2, but I don't think this is necessarily true. I would rather play the Conus concerto than Sinding's Suite in a minor or Vieuxtemps 4 (granted, I do like Vieuxtemps 5 a little more). It's way better than the Joachim Hungarian concerto too.... no matter how much Andrew Sords tries to get me to think that it's amazing.

February 28, 2006 at 01:23 AM · Gotta love that Hungarian concerto/Bruch 2/Schumann concerto set :)

February 28, 2006 at 12:01 PM · Disclaimer alert: Andrew Sords does not get his love of the Joachim Concerto from his teacher! ;-)

Hmmm...I wonder if Andrew has studied the Conus yet? All of my students work on it at some time or other.....hmmm... no time like...the...present? :-) (As he runs away, screaming, arm flailing)...

April 26, 2006 at 05:48 AM · Greetings,

yes. You can read a litlte about it in the small but dull biography of him called , I think, Meadowmount.



April 26, 2006 at 12:26 PM · Hi,

I do like the Hungarian Concerto as well. Listen to the opening tutti, one realizes how true Andreas Moser's claims that Joachim actually played a substantial role in the orchestration of Brahms' 1st Piano Concerto really are.


April 26, 2006 at 03:37 PM · Wow, I never heard of this concerto before. Now you make me want to play it. Ah, maybe someday.

January 3, 2007 at 04:57 PM · Very interesting. Are there any particular technical difficulties one should be aware of? My daughter just got this piece assigned and is looking forward to working on it.


January 4, 2007 at 01:10 AM · Well, technically speaking, it doesn't rank as high as most concertos you hear about. It is mostly used as a teaching piece- it's the first piece I learned when I got to CIM and I spent a good deal of time learning it. It develops all aspects of technique- there are many lyrical passages which improve sound, there are octaves, thirds, and arpeggios throughout, and a quite lengthy cadenza, which is in my opinion the best section of the work, that has chords and about anything else you can imagine. There's no one particular technique that you see coming back throughout- there are also no difficult spicatto, ricochet, or up bow staccatto passages. It's just a great piece to beef up your stamina and general left and right arm technique.

While it's not my favorite piece, I do realize how important it was for me to learn. Even passages in pieces like the Barber and Tchaikovsky I was able to relate back to things I learned while studying the Conus.

January 4, 2007 at 01:28 AM · Thanks. Glad to hear it's not overly demanding.


January 4, 2007 at 04:22 AM · I see this has been a topic for quite some time . . . I'm only noticing it now. I just thought I'd add that I love the Conus as well and studied it with Linda Cerone at ENCORE between my Freshman and Sophomore years in college. Later, when I was a counselor at ENCORE I had the privilege of hearing an 11 year old Leila Josefowicz play the Conus on an ENCORE Sunday recital with all the maturity of a 30 year old. Wow. Great memory. (David Russell, were you there??? . . . 1989, I believe)



January 4, 2007 at 06:19 AM · Mrs. Cerone and Mr. Russell are both champions of this piece, and quite wisely. I studied it my freshman year with Mrs. Cerone- in fact, it's just about all I got to study that year (I had a lot to work on!)

I went and relistened to it today, first to a recording I made (that was painful) and then to Heifetz. It's not such a bad piece as people make it out to be- sure, Conus isn't great at developing material, but that cadenza is quite good.

January 4, 2007 at 01:30 PM · Peter, I was there. I remember Leila's performance of Conus. She made it a showstopper!

I think Conus is unique. It provides a bridge into the big repertoire better than anything else I know. It does have its own peculiar style which I have come to love. I played it first when I was 16 and have taught it every year since. that is almost 30 years. I guess its an old friend now ;-)

Enjoy it, double sharps and all!

January 6, 2007 at 07:56 PM · Thanks. The first page is going OK. I guess real life starts later.


January 9, 2007 at 11:37 AM ·

March 11, 2008 at 08:33 AM · arent all of the themes written by rachmaninoff?

March 11, 2008 at 10:51 PM · I heard all post Bach themes were written by Rachmaninoff.

March 12, 2008 at 05:13 AM · I am serious. Several sources have told me that rachmaninoff was writing a violin concerto but then went to his friend (conus) saying he has trouble writing for violin. So conus took rachmaninoff's material and created a violin concerto. is there any documentation of this?

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