Khachaturian Violin Concerto

April 8, 2006 at 07:56 PM · Hi, everybody,

I have been playing the violin for almost twelve years. Recently, I began learning the Khachaturian violin concerto. A couple of weeks after having started to learn it (for a future audition), however, my teacher informs me that this concerto is a terrible choice for auditions. She notes that according to Juilliard adjudicators, the piece is too repetitive and "boring." How on earth can this be true? The Khachaturian is such a beautiful concerto. It doesn't have that much substance to it in comparison to the canon of violin concertos, but why isn't it a suitable piece for an audition?

I'm really sad that I had to discontinue learning the piece. I could have continued, but I have so much on my hands in terms of violin now. My teacher and I decided to learn the Brahms concerto to replace the Khachaturian. I suppose the Brahms is a superior audition piece in many ways...

Replies (99)

April 8, 2006 at 08:30 PM · I'm with you...I love the Khachaturian! But I could see why your teacher would prefer the Brahms for an audition. Brahms is a much more sophisticated piece both technically and musically. It takes a lot of maturity to pull off. If this is something that your teacher feels you are ready for, then go for it! Maybe you can go back to Khacaturian is such a fantastic piece. :)

April 9, 2006 at 01:54 AM · Yeah, I love the Khachaturian... I've always wondered why so few people play it. Exactly how difficult is it? Is it really on the same level as Brahms?

Julie, have a great time with Brahms. It's such a beautiful concerto (it's my favorite), and you can always go back to learn Khachaturian some other time. Good luck!

April 9, 2006 at 02:01 AM · I'm also wondering why few people play it. It's beautiful! In terms of difficulty, the Khachaturian really isn't that hard. The cadenza in the first movement is a bit challenging... but the concerto itself is pretty low-key compared to the Brahms, which is probably twice as hard.

Thanks for your kind message and wishes, Pratik! ;)

April 10, 2006 at 09:02 AM · I used this piece for the Sydney Con audition and it worked very well for me - i.e. I got in :D

Wilkomirska said that this is a great piece because it really "falls under your fingers" and indeed it does - it's an amazing work with such an eastern rhythmic flavour and harmony (especially the ravishing second movement *sigh*) W made sure I learnt the Oistrakh cadenza for the 1st mvt which is indeed better than Khachaturian's own hehe - this piece is incredibly fun and so exciting!

August 31, 2006 at 03:31 AM · I actually have an audition in about a week and have been preparing the first movement for it. It's basically a college orchestra, but not for violin majors, I guess just for general college students who happen to play the violin. They said on the audition flyer that we're supposed to play "a solo piece", and weren't any more specific than that.

I was wondering if anyone could tell me how to actually play this, in terms of what to do at the long rests where the soloist waits 10 or 20 measures, and how to be as less awkard as possible in those periods? How long do I pause in these situations?

Also, do I play the cadenza? Will it be ok if I just play up to the end of the cadenza, since most of the stuff after that is repeated from pre-cadenza?

August 31, 2006 at 05:10 AM · For the record, it's definitely not as hard as Brahms. I can play Khach fairly well, and my teacher won't even let me touch Brahms yet. :)

August 31, 2006 at 05:59 AM · deleted

August 31, 2006 at 01:15 PM · I love Leonid Kogan's (RCA) & D Oistrakh's (EMI) recordings. Since it is not so well known, you perhaps can get away with some slight mishaps during the audition.

August 31, 2006 at 01:33 PM · Well, it IS quite repetitive and long-winded. True, it does have interesting eastern harmonies, but it shows little more than your fast fingers and coordination. I agree that it may not be the best audition piece... I know that whenever it is mentioned to many of my colleagues as a possibility for an audition or a concert, it is met with a loud groan. haha!

If you like it, thats great. It does have a lot of rhythmic drive and such, but given the limited scope of what it shows of your playing, I think your teacher is right.

...Just my opinion...

August 31, 2006 at 02:36 PM · In the right hands, K.v.c.can be very moving.

I've the 4 DFO's recordings, the one by Igor, and

Yulian Sitkovetsky. All of them are excelent.

August 31, 2006 at 11:29 PM · deleted

August 31, 2006 at 11:43 PM · deleted

September 1, 2006 at 03:14 AM · Keith - Yes, definitly one of Ricci's best recordings!

September 1, 2006 at 03:56 AM · Keith-- it's pretty likely that the colleagues Mr. Russell refers to teach either at CIM or at a comparable top-notch institution, as he is on the faculty at CIM. So while I agree that it's a shame that a judge's personal taste in music would inform an admission decision, I would take Mr. Russell's words on the matter very seriously!

Also, musical value of the whole concerto aside (an audition is not a concert, after all), it IS true that the first few minutes of the Khachaturian-- which is all an audition panel will hear-- do not exactly demonstrate your versatility or flexibility! Play a Paganini caprice or a showpiece (modern, if you like) to demonstrate the speed of your fingers. The Khachaturian is a serious and substantial piece, but it doesn't necessarily show its performer in the same light, I find.

September 1, 2006 at 04:47 AM · deleted

September 1, 2006 at 04:51 AM · Actually, if you want to go to CIM, play any piece really well in the audition. That's what matters.

September 1, 2006 at 05:12 AM · Nicholas, you're correct, of course.

September 1, 2006 at 10:53 AM · Nicholas, its true that we look at the playing much more than what is being played, but sometimes a piece can show more of what a player has to offer. (Its always nice, too if it is a piece which can show alot of its character without the orchestration behind it). I must admit there are some pieces we have to look past to see the playing/player. Khatchaturian seems like one of those to me.

(And I like the Oistrakh recording!) haha

September 1, 2006 at 01:19 PM · I'm glad we're all having a hearty discussion about this two days before my audition LOL! :) I've decided to play Tchaikovsky.

September 1, 2006 at 04:43 PM · Tchaikovsky is an excellent choice! I'll be using it for my grad school auditions this year actually. Good luck on applications and auditions, keep us up to date on how everything goes for you.

September 1, 2006 at 07:44 PM · Oh,for the record, I have taught it, do know it well and have played it. ;-)

September 2, 2006 at 05:03 AM · Hey Keith,

For the record, "blasé" is not an adverb...

Also, on the subject of studying at CIM, even if what you said WERE true, NOT playing the Khachaturian is a VERY small price to pay to go to a school like CIM and study with the folks there. Actually, I would gladly give up several concertos to go there.


September 2, 2006 at 05:35 AM · Indeed Mr. Russell, I agree. Good rep choice is important. I just was clarifying how ridiculous is the notion that one would be rejected from any major conservatory based solely on the piece played...though I must say, I do like Khachaturian very much

September 2, 2006 at 01:05 PM · Howard, which other ones would you give up?jk.

September 3, 2006 at 03:18 AM · hmmm.. most Vivaldi, ALL DeBeriot, Vieuxtemps 4th, the second half of the tschaik first movement, and movements 2 and three. This is just a opening offer- I'm willing to negotiate with the faculty at CIM and they can feel free to contact me at my office.. oh wait, I don't have an office.


September 3, 2006 at 03:36 AM · Vieuxtemps 4.... the least favorite concerto I've ever learned.... *shudders*

September 3, 2006 at 10:39 AM · ...Brahms....the boring, slow 2nd movement, Beethoven, all the tuttis, Sibelius...all the solo stuff, Mozart concertos....all the boring arppegios. Just kidding:).

September 3, 2006 at 12:52 PM · OK, before this gets out of hand, let me be very clear:

Anyone who wants to audition at CIM with any piece is welcome to do so. It is the playing we look at. The piece CAN help us see elements of the playing better in some instances than in others, but in no way would someone be eliminated from consideration because of their choice of piece. I think I'll go away now.

September 3, 2006 at 02:43 PM · Hello,

Mr. Russell, please don't go away! I think that the presence of someone like yourself sitting on the other side of the table at a Major Music School is an invaluable asset to discussions like these.


September 3, 2006 at 06:43 PM · Ditto from me. ALMOST everybody here understood exactly what you meant. Teachers are, among other things, diagnosticians, and some concerti are better than others in that regard. Seems like a really easy thing to understand! So yeah, don't go away.


September 4, 2006 at 12:41 AM · deleted

September 4, 2006 at 01:54 AM · "Diagnostic pill" Hmmm. I suggest Prozac, Keith. Have a nice day! :-)

September 4, 2006 at 02:09 AM · Keith, do you come to this site for any purpose other than attempting (and often succeeding) to cause an uproar?

September 4, 2006 at 02:56 AM · Every internet forum since the dawn of Usenet has had trolls... ignore or moderate.

September 4, 2006 at 03:07 AM · deleted

September 4, 2006 at 03:12 AM · Keith - relax!

The thread where you ripped Mr Russell's "threat" from was a thread where that comment had it's place. You draged it out of it's context.

Just relax and enjoy the discussion :-)

September 4, 2006 at 04:04 AM · Keith, please take your disrespect for higher musical authorities elsewhere. I do not want to see it polluting my thread. Thanks.

September 4, 2006 at 05:23 AM · deleted

September 4, 2006 at 05:12 AM · What's all the fuss about anyway, Keith? Khachaturian was a second rate composer, whether measured by output or quality. Everybody here knows that and you do too. Search your soul and you'll realize that the Khachaturian concerto is beautiful, but sort of in the same league as the Barber. As for the "long-winded and repetitive" comment, David was right on the money. I think even you have to see that there's a sort of obsessive-compulsive quality to that concerto which kind of makes a listener want to run screaming from the hall after awhile. Perhaps that was Khachaturian's intention.

As for the prozac comment, are you currently on any medication? I don't mean any disrespect, it's just that you seem a bit edgy and it doesn't take an MD to see that. I think you should consider seeing a professional to talk out your anger issues. Also, have you considered taking some online courses to broaden your understanding of music a bit? Better yet, you probably have a good community college in your area where you could take music history courses and music theory courses so that you could better understand and participate in these conversations. These are just some thoughts Keith. Again, no disrespect intended.



September 4, 2006 at 08:32 AM · deleted

September 4, 2006 at 10:52 AM · Keith - just because there are famous violinists recording him, does that make him greater?

Oistrakh recorded works by d'Ambrosio, Catoire, Kompaneyetz, Levitin, Vladigerov, Daquin and a bounch of other less famous composers. Are they competing to Beethoven's genious just because Oistrakh played them as well?

And fyi second rate does not mean bad. It just means that they don't belong to the group supergeniouses that all composers look up to.

September 4, 2006 at 01:48 PM · Okay, Keith, I understand where you're coming from. But even though adjudicators at prestigious music schools do look past the piece, Khachaturian Violin Concerto still in a way is not entirely a good piece for the audition because it's not capable of showing a player's musicality to the highest degree. It's not that the Concerto itself was unimportant, it's just that there are better selections out there. I mean, if you made the comparison between a Seitz Concerto and the Khachaturian Concerto for an audition, you would obviously choose the Khachaturian over the Seitz for OBVIOUS reasons. In some musicians' and musical educators' eyes, Khachaturian is the Seitz of the canonical violin concertos--those being Beethoven, Brahms, Tcahikovsky, Sibelius, etc.

September 4, 2006 at 01:58 PM · I realize that all parties involved here have valid points, but here is a question: if Heifetz could play the Conus, and make it sound like a musical masterpiece, play Bruch Scotch Fantasy and make it sound like a phenominally deep piece, then why could not a trully taleneted and well-trained player show his/her musicality in Khachaturian? Does it seem like we are placing too little value on talent?

Another thing that comes to mind to me is this. Milstein in his autobio wrote," a Piece doesn't have to be profound in order to be great!"

September 4, 2006 at 02:06 PM · ...oh my...lots of testosterone...but at least we're keeping it reasonably civil ;)...

...this probably shows my complete lack of musical understanding...but I'm very fond of Seitz...

Since everyone is entitled to their own opinion...why do 'we' always seem to get so bent out of shape when someone expresses an opinion different from ours?

September 4, 2006 at 02:33 PM · I agree Mr. T, though I think the K. is great. If you need heavy, just walk out into traffic or something. If it has to be German, make sure a Mercedes hits you.

September 4, 2006 at 02:44 PM · good bye

September 4, 2006 at 03:00 PM · Mr. Mohr, I know your question is probably rhetorical, but there are lots of answers to it. Sometimes the opinion is emotionally-based, therefore its owner isn't prepared to defend it any other way.

September 4, 2006 at 03:32 PM · Keith,

I'm not knocking the school you went to. I 'm sure it was a great school- just not a music school. I guess what I meant (and again I meant no disrespect) is that it's obvious that you have very little training in music. I just wanted to suggest some ways in which you could "broaden your horizons" a bit and feel more comfortable here. I would be happy to suggest some basic courses you could take. Again, I'm sorry if I offended you in any way.

Also, you might consider some ESL courses too. I've noticed that you seem to misunderstand the posts here from time to time and you could probably use some help in that regard.

Anyway, let me know. I'd be happy to help in any regard possible!

Hasta pronto!


September 4, 2006 at 03:28 PM · Khatchaturian's music produce IMO very strong emotional reactions on the listener. They love it or they hate it ; no middle terms. I've the best

example at home: I love his music; my wife can't

stand it. She says it put her hysterical.

September 4, 2006 at 04:57 PM · My wife hates him too!

It is perhaps a sex thing? ;)

September 4, 2006 at 06:13 PM · deleted

September 4, 2006 at 06:07 PM · i don´t know, my ex-wife adore Khachaturian´s music.

September 4, 2006 at 06:08 PM · To change the subject a little, my daughter is auditioning for a youth orchestra in two weeks. They require to play two pieces contrasting in tempo and style. The audition will last under 10 minutes. She was finishing up "Scene de Ballet" by de Beriot before the audition came up. Would it be OK to play Scene de Ballet for one piece and La Folia for the other? Any comment would be appreciated. Thanks.


September 4, 2006 at 06:31 PM · deleted

September 4, 2006 at 07:05 PM · I sincerely hope that Mr. Russell continues to come to this forum and give us his opinions. He is a fantastic teacher and has probably heard more high-level auditions than everyone else on this thread put together. Even if you disagree with him, it's a gift to hear his thoughts.

It's probably also unfair to question Mr. Hernandez's education, although perhaps he invited the response he got.

As for the Khachaturian, well, he pretty much WAS a second-rate composer (not a bad thing), and I don't think the violin concerto is a "great" piece -- but I also don't think that there are more than ten or so really great violin concertos anyway. According to Mr. Hernandez, I should now go get my head examined. ;^)

September 4, 2006 at 08:12 PM · Well, according to Keith, none of us is entitled to call any composer less great than any other unless we ourselves can write better music... so perhaps soon we'll have a six-month celebration of the Buxtehude tricentenial? Or a Charles de Beriot festival at Lincoln Center? On the plus side, I can stop feeling bad about disliking Wagner, since I can't even determine (myself) whether or not he's greater than Vieuxtemps, whose music I also dislike.

If indeed you are as well educated as you claim, Keith, please do not publish comments which are even more illogical than they are impolite.

September 4, 2006 at 08:41 PM · Greetings,

Mattias, do you think playing Khatachurian 24 hours a day would have saved my marriage?

Also, when I was sojourning in Malaysia I invented a game called Catchadurian. Do you think it would be helpful if we all ha d alittle play?



September 4, 2006 at 08:59 PM · Actually, Keith, I thought my "attempt at sarcastic wit" was very successful. I am still laughing, in fact. But don't worry- they say that understanding humor is one of the last things to come in one's second language. Just keep working on it and you'll get it eventually!

By the way, did you go to school in the States? I have a really good friend who plays violin in Mexico City. His name is Abel Romero. Do you know him? He's a former student of Danny Heifetz and he plays in one of the symphonies there. On second thought though, he also hates the Khachaturian so maybe he's not a friend of yours.

Hope you're having a nice day! Buenas tardes!!



September 4, 2006 at 09:04 PM · Hi Buri,

No, playing Khachaturian all day would kill even a healthy marriage. It's a terrible concerto. Just ask Keith and he'll tell you.

Cheers from Capitol Hill,


September 4, 2006 at 09:24 PM · deleted

September 4, 2006 at 09:08 PM · "would kill even a healthy marriage" :)

September 4, 2006 at 09:18 PM · deleted

September 4, 2006 at 09:29 PM · Oye Keith; supongo que no hablas el español,verdad?

Como eres ciento por ciento estadounidense...

September 4, 2006 at 09:42 PM · deleted

September 4, 2006 at 10:43 PM · If you think that unsuited for an audition

maybe you'll prefer his short violin sonata No.1 for violin and piano, or his very difficult

sonate-monolog for violin solo. Nobody plays those!

September 4, 2006 at 10:41 PM · Hi,

I rarely venture opinions on this site, but here goes... I find this thread appalling. It is not about the quality of individuals, nor of a specific piece, but an honest question about the impact of a piece at an audition to an institution of higher musical learning by a prospective student. Secondly, Mr. Russell did not I believe lash out against the concerto, nor qualify it as bad music. Here merely stated the impact and general reaction it seems to create to the members sitting on an audition panel (who go through a lot of auditions during the audition periods). In this sense, his advice is sound. Most auditioners who audition for major music schools are usually in need of funding (i.e. scholarships, grants, etc.) in order to attend the institution. The money is rare and perhaps, though only one consideration in the lot, the choice of repertoire well played at an audition can be more revealing in some way or another to the panel and help guide their recommendations. There are a lot of people auditioning, so...

Secondly, I am appalled also by the lack of respect towards musicians or pedagogues who have acheived much on site at times. I think that people are entitled to their opinions, but that criticism or opinions should be expressed in a respectful way to the addressee without undermining their acheivements. It takes a lot to reach a high point in this profession, and people who do seem to have more respect and appreciation for their colleagues than anything else. Why? Perhaps because they know what it takes to get there and stay. I find that one has more to gain but endeavouring to learn from these people than destroying or undermining them.

That said, Julie C., to try to put some perspective on your question. In choosing repertoire for an audition I would suggest the following considerations. First, is the repertoire showing you in your best light? Are you comfortable playing it and feeling secure? Obiously, this does not seem to be an issue with you. That said, I would tend to agree that perhaps choosing the Khatchaturian, though not questioning the work's value, is perhaps not the best vehicule for an audition if your object is not only acceptance, but also to receive financial aid from an institution. It is perhaps not also the best work to showcase your potential, in spite of a great playing ability, in a way that will be important to those hearing you, most likely for the first time. In this case, one of big concertos in the "Canon" so to speak, might be a better showcase for you and your qualities as a violinist, musician and person.

I hope this helps...

Cheers and my best to all!

September 4, 2006 at 11:07 PM · Thanks Christian...

September 4, 2006 at 11:14 PM · Hola, Keith!

Thanks for the advice. Actually, I don't know much about the community colleges here in DC, but we do have a number of good universities. Yes, I do live in the "inner city", whatever you meant by that comment. I knew you had problems with "young, middle-eastern men", do you have problems with other ethnicities as well?

So I guess I was wrong about your ESL status. That must mean that you were deliberately trying to stir up trouble with, and be disrespectful to David. Be ashamed.


September 4, 2006 at 11:39 PM · Christian, what he said was that when it's mentioned as a concert possibility, his colleagues groan. None of that matters to me personally. I would like to know though exactly why it isn't a good audition piece, as would Julie, I suspect. What does Brahms allow you to show which this doesn't, specifically? I don't need to know this, but unless it's some kind of secret, then why not? Will this thread get that deep?

To me K. is a great concerto because I will leave the hall humming the main theme. Not so with Beethoven or Brahms. Also, what does ESL mean, besides Electrostatic Loudspeaker? :)

September 4, 2006 at 11:48 PM · English as a Second Language.

September 5, 2006 at 12:05 AM · I could have just googled that instead of bothering you.

September 5, 2006 at 12:12 AM · Emily; I suspect that in 20 or 30 years time, all

of you will have english as the second lenguage.And leaving a place you'll say "hasta la vista,amigo"

September 5, 2006 at 12:30 AM · So sorry, Carlos. I was merely trying to annoy Keith. Apparently, I succeeded, but may have annoyed you too in the process. Actually, I speak spanish, as does my wife. In the school system where I teach, about 40 percent of the kids are spanish speaking immigrants or children of spanish speaking immigrants. Most of these are Salvadoran or Honduran with a smattering of Mexicans. Although my spanish isn't perfect by any means, I adore the language and the cultures that speak it. I have been to Mexico and Peru but, unfortunately not El Salvador or Honduras yet. So, mil disculpas amigo!

As for speaking spanish here in this country, it turns out that our spanish speaking immigrants, as a whole, are learning english much faster than groups that have come before them. I don't know whether this is because of newer teaching methods or perhaps more consonance between hispanic culture and "United Statesian" culture. I don't really care what language we speak in the US in the end as long as we (whichever we we are...) maintain our institutions that have worked so well for us so far.

Cheers from DC!


September 5, 2006 at 02:23 AM · My pleasure, Jim. :)

Actually, I taught ESL in Bangkok once.

September 5, 2006 at 03:04 AM · Greetings,

er, actually you didn`t. That was EFL. ESL is occuring when the primary language of the country -is- English and the studnets are from a non-English speaking country.

It is quite a significant point in language teaching because the techniques used in both contexts overlap but are not the same.

Can@t belive this point finally turned up on v.commie. I think I am going to shoot myself,



September 5, 2006 at 03:16 AM · That's right. It's been a while. ESL was Norman, OK. Needless to say, I didn't stick with that venue for very long at all, but I liked it.

Hey, is that your job in Japan?

September 5, 2006 at 03:20 AM · Buri - it would do wunders with your private life now if you play K. 24/7. YOu will hava a baboshka with moustache banging on your door with a healtful dose of borstjii in no time!

And no, I am not talking about my mother...

September 5, 2006 at 05:11 AM · It is amazing how boldly a person speaks when protected by a fake name. You can fool us for a while, but cowards do tend to reveal themselves. Enough!

Sincerely, Darryl Strawberry

September 5, 2006 at 05:28 AM · Greetings,

Emily- yes, although the violin studio is a big part of it. I also write, lecture and am involved in teacher training in the TESOL field.

To live in Japan long term the other viable option is running a bar but I like beer too much.

Mattias, I know you meant you. promise to shave your legs.



September 5, 2006 at 10:11 AM · Back to my daughter's audition for a youth orchestra; If she has enough time to play 2-3 pages of Scene de Ballet, which pages would you recommend? Thanks.


September 5, 2006 at 11:13 AM · Thanks, Christian, for your fabulous contribution to this thread and your really good answer to my inquiries. I appreciate it. :)

September 5, 2006 at 11:21 AM · Julie, I hope you don't mind me asking about my daughter's audition in your thread. It seemed to stray off the original topic. I had assumed the original discussion was over. Sorry.


September 5, 2006 at 11:34 AM · No, go ahead! I'm sorry I don't have an adequate answer to your question.

September 5, 2006 at 01:33 PM · Hi,

Julie C. - thanks and you're welcome! (Emily Liz too... :) )

Ihnsouk - most youth orchestra auditions will require you to start from the beginning so the first 2-3 pages will be fine. The whole piece should be prepared. If ever a committee wants to hear something further in the piece, they will ask for it.

Jim - your question is very good. I will try to answer it to the best of my ability. Most auditions for major schools are notoriously short. For grad schools for example, they last from 5 to 10 minutes, most of the time leaning more towards 5 (sometimes even less if it is at the end of a few days, they are tired and running late). In that, the committee may want to hear more then one work, so there is little time. In a work like the Khatchaturian you will likely play the first page and maybe some of the first slow theme. In that you will show that you play with fast fingers and bow (like Mr. Russell said) and that you feel comfortable mostly in the lower positions. You can showcase a good marteléish stroke at the frog, a good détaché and possibly a good legato if you get to make it to the first slow section.

In works like Brahms, Sibelius or the Tchaikovsky concerti, you will get to play about 2 pages. In that you can showcase a lot more things, like your legato, your ability to make long phrases, your double-stops technique, your sense of timing in between sections, and your control of a variety of bow strokes and high positions, as well as a broad musical conception.

That said, these are not the only works that can be played. If you are not ready or able to play them solidly in a pressure situation, then I would suggest that you choose something else. But even then, there are other concerti that may showcase more of your abilities and potential under such circumstances. Again, this is not a slant against the Khatchaturian, but simply of choosing something to fit the circumstances.

Auditions are a snapshot of your playing with much riding on them: a few years of your life and usually much needed financial aid to accompany them.

Hope this answers your question.


September 5, 2006 at 03:51 PM · Julie - That's OK. It really doesn't matter in her case. It's only a youth orchestra.

I am not a musician and I have no idea of what it takes to get ahead in music world. It just seems unfortunate that there are standard or more desirable repertoire for auditions and concerts that sometimes one has to let go of a piece of greater personal interest.

I wonder if that drives concert programming as well. When my husband and I started going to chamber concert subscription series 20-30 years ago, programming in our local concerts was very uniform. In the span of five subscription series, the Trout Quintet was presented three times. Thankfully, it is no longer like that. Needlessly to say, we groaned at the thought of attending the third Trout in five years.

September 5, 2006 at 01:52 PM · ...well there's a complaint I have too! Hearing the same pieces performed ad nauseum...even buying CDs has become problematic for me...I want to expand my knowledge of the rep., not hear untold different performances of the same work...

...and heaven help it if I come across a work I love but no else seems too! I'm out of luck...

Case in point, I have the piano sheet music for 'Dolores' by Waldteufel...okay, it's 'just' a waltz, but I'd really like to hear it played!

September 5, 2006 at 02:01 PM · ...sorry, double posted...

September 5, 2006 at 02:08 PM · About repertory, I'm tired of the same works and that's why for years now I'm collecting rarities

on violin pieces and chamber instrumental ones.

I've hundreds of works by composers almost nobody

nows,and many of them are just fantastic. A pity

that the "public" is so mind closed and conservative.

September 5, 2006 at 03:52 PM · Christian, Thanks for your comment. I didn't know they start at the beginning of the piece in youth orchestra rehearsals. I just wondered how they cram in two pieces in about 8 minutes.

Carlos, so is it the "public" who demand the same old Blockbusters over and over again?


September 5, 2006 at 04:39 PM · From: SKOWRONSKI: CLASSICAL RECORDINGS

To: Ihnsouk Guim---

Dear Ihnsouk: With your indulgence, our 'two cents' --if you will.

It has almost always been the "traditional producers" at the "traditional record producing houses" that have made and continue to make the decisions as to 'who plays what, where, when, how and why.'

We "Independent Producers" (some of us now in the independent producing business for many years) are the culprits that, beginning very early in the 1970s, offered the classical music listener a truly "quality alternative." Times have changed. "We" are now many, and "they" are but the "few."

We stopped shopping at the 'company store' for many reasons.

Best wishes and good luck to you and your daughter,

Skowronski: Classical Recordings

September 5, 2006 at 04:32 PM · Yes, I think it is the public that demands to

listen to the pieces they know by heart. Try to

give a recital with a Humel,s sonata, one of Joseph

Guy Ropartz, and a selection of the 24 bulgarian caprices for solo violin by Christostov, and you,ll see how many tickets will sell.

September 5, 2006 at 05:01 PM · From: SKOWRONSKI: CLASSICAL RECORDINGS

To: N.A. Mohr----

Fellow Contributor:

May we amiably introduce you to our work at Skowronski: Classical Recordings, which offers quite a bit of varietal repertoire with a bent towards promoting the unfamiliar.



Best regards,

Skowronski: Classical Recordings

September 5, 2006 at 06:18 PM · Thank,s Christian. My own audition was on tape when I started out as a music major. I doubt they listened to more than a couple of minutes of that too:) My audition with a teacher amounted to a first lesson I think. My other violin auditions here and there were basically just anything, just to hear if I could play in tune and in rhythm I think.

I'd like to know what David meant about "hearing through" the K. Maybe having to determine what skills are present by extrapolation. I remember a different auditioner here claiming that he could tell where a player was at even from a spliced recording. Anyway, I like the K. I think when you're a kid you love high drama, but as you get older you start thinking jeez, relax and have some fun for a change. Also, for me, a lot of the supposed power and drama and profundity pales in relation to the real thing, e.g. walking out into traffic, to sum that thought up briefly:)

September 6, 2006 at 12:13 AM · Yikes. I remember reading this thread months ago, and was surprised upon returning to find that it had accumulated so many ... responses.

Anyways, to return to the original topic, I love the Khachaturian concerto. It was the first "big" concerto that I played (recently too; just last year; I'm still very much a youngin'), and therefore I feel quite an affinity with it.

That said, I very much agree with what has been said about the concerto *as audition repertoire*.

From my perspective, this says nothing about the concerto's musical validity. I know many others disagree (a former theory teacher called it "kitschy"), but I find that Khachaturian's music, especially the violin concerto, is very honest, with beautiful melodies, interesting rhythms, and innovative orchestration.

Back to the question of audition repertoire, I think the key "weakness" of the Khachaturian concerto in this regard has to do with length and structure. Khachaturian, in my opinion, wrote in a rhapsodic nature (the three Concerto-Rhapsodies he wrote, including one for violin, imply that he may have been more comfortable writing outside the constraints of the typical "concerto" form), which lent itself to longer compositions.

For example, the first movement of the concerto, which I have heard played between 13 and 16 minutes of length, introduces thematic material (1st rhythmic figure, 2nd lyrical theme etc.) for upwards of 4 minutes, before the inventive development section begins. The development, I believe, shows more of a violinist's ability, with its difficult harmonies, brief fingered octaves, etc. The cadenza also has the potential to brilliantly showcase the player ... The problem is, as already mentioned by others, that the first minutes of the concerto, which a committee, from what I understand, is most likely to hear, simply don't show enough. The 2nd and 3rd movements share the shame problem. If you were allowed to play the entire concerto, for the finals of a concerto competition, etc., then it would be a different story.

Hopefully that helps?


September 6, 2006 at 12:20 AM · Wow, such maturity demonstrated on this thread! I wonder, if Aram were still alive today, what he would say if he knew his concerto caused such controversy.

Also, Laurie, kudos for weeding out those who used pseudonyms. May they be taken out back and shot.


Brad Pitt

September 6, 2006 at 01:13 AM · ...Mr. Skowronski - thanks for listing your site! Are you able to ship to Canada? And do you have any recording of 'Dolores'? I know it's piano, but your accompaniest might?

September 6, 2006 at 01:23 AM · The theory teacher calling the K. concerto kitsch is just weird. I think it definitely belongs in the half of the violin rep that isn't kitsch:)

September 6, 2006 at 11:19 AM · Hi,

Jim - "walking into traffic" - LOL!!! I don't know exactly what Mr. Russell meant by "hearing through it." I think only he could answer that question.


September 6, 2006 at 12:31 PM · Well, I mean to say that while some pieces may not lend themselves to showing specific things about the player, sometimes the player's traits can emerge or be seen in spite of not having a clear opportunity to demonstrate them. Whew!

(that was tough to get out). For example, I might observe that a player has a very good ability to create and sustain a line in what is basically a rhythmic motive paced over a long distance (as in the opening of the Khatchaturian). This would suggest a high level of ability/sophistication in the player. Also, the lack of melodic passagework in any given piece still affords the opportunity to hear the kind of sound/vibrato/ring a player brings to the playing, as well as their rhytm/coordination/spirit,etc. In short, their values are still apparant even if the piece doesn't help make them obvious to can "look past" the obvious and still see the player's attributes. Hope that explanation is clear. ;-)

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