I see a lot of reference to "Bruch level" on this site. I am curious where people would see Mozart 5, Mendelssohn, Vivaldi Four Seasons, and Kreutzer etudes in relation to Bruch level. Or if there's any general reference of graded repertoire, understanding it's only a rough guide, I would appreciate that too.
Here is one: http://www.violinmasterclass.com/en/graded-repertoire/violin-and-orchestra
It is a misnomer. We are not in athletics.
In traditional method in Italy, Bruch g minore concerto is in the sixth or seventh year’s course, which is parallel to Kreutzer, Dont or Rode etudes. Mozart La Major is in eighth year’s course.
Agree with D.Z.; 8 out of 10. One way to judge the difficulty of a piece is to look at its most technically difficult passages. Bruch has parallel octaves, double stops, and that one spot in 10ths. Mendelssohn has octaves, and the last movement should be very fast with spiccato. The literal technique of the Mozart concertos, (except for cadenzas!) are one level less difficult. Grading systems for pieces are published by ASTA, Calif.MTAC-CM, UK/Canada Royal Academy, etc.
Mozart A Major and Mendelssohn are definitely ranked as higher level than Bruch. According to the RCM system, Bruch is level 10, and Mozart A Major and Mendelssohn are ARCT (one level above 10, and the highest level in the system). Kreutzer is right around this level. Don't know about Vivaldi 4 Seasons.
And, it's one of those little controversies. The other way I have to rate difficulty is; if I can play it, its probably not that hard. I can do Mendelssohn and Mozart but definitely not Brahms and Tchaikovsky. :-)
Four Seasons is significantly easier than the others.
Third movement of Mendelssohn mi minore is mi major, which is considered to be more difficult than Bruch sol minore (the third movement is G major). In traditional course of Italian conservatory Mendelssohn concerto is arranged posterior to Bruch as well as Mozart la major.
My own impression is that Mozart 5 is comparable to Bruch, but it depends on where one has specific strengths and weaknesses. Same for Bruch vs. Mendelssohn, but since we live in an age where very often the comparison is among the
And in violin playing it's important to use the right lingo. "Bruch Level" is part of that. That's why you hear it a lot. Also it's kind of a breaking-point kind of piece because it's the gateway to the great Romantic concertos.
I have difficulty seeing in what respect Bruch is less difficult than Mozart 5, even if you factor in the common cadenzas (Joachim) for Mozart 5.
Huh, I've always thought of Winter as being easier than the other three concertos in the Four Seasons.
I might be wrong, but I have read/ saw somewhere that Heifetz stated that one is supposed to be able to sight-read a concerto before venturing into serious work. It amazes me that level is between the lines defined as level of "technical" difficulty. I have heard so many interpretations of Bruch, Mozart and other concertos leaving me bored, like a dead fish. What about music? What about interpretation? Improvisation? zero. nada.
Lydia I agree with you that Mozart 5 is easier than Bruch on the whole.
I'll put it this way: playing a perfect and beautiful Minuet is a heck of a lot harder than playing a really crappy Bruch.
I think these incessant discussions about "what's harder than what" are misguided and immature. As stated above, we are not competing in an olympic sport.
The OP asks for references regarding graded repertoire which says to me he would like to rank repertoire according to “technical” difficulties.
Of course our goal isn't to play Suzuki book 1 perfectly on the first pass. My point is that it's somewhat irrelevant to grade difficulties when you consider how much of a variable quality is during any song. And people who worry about grades are also usually the people that need to be thinking about quality first.
I usually assume that people who ask these kinds of questions are trying to gauge the sequence of repertoire and what it means for *typical* skills at a given level of repertoire.
“My point is that it's somewhat irrelevant to grade difficulties when you consider how much of a variable quality is during any song.”
Thanks for all the replies. My initial question was geared towards general guidepost type information. However the different types of answers here are interesting. True music is not athletics, but there is a lot of muscle work and training involved. And of course there are many ways to play a work (with or without quality or with different qualities). I am very concerned with the aesthetics but one can consider technical aspects in isolation too.
IMHO, the aura of mystery associated with Mozart is related at least in part to interpretative variance. That is, everyone thinks her version is uniquely better and more refine than others.
Mozart is revealing of a player's flaws. Every tiny slip of not-100%-pure-and consistent intonation, every not-absolutely-precise rhythm or moment where it drags or rushes, every bowstroke that's not precisely controlled, every moment that isn't elegantly graceful and effortless -- it's all heard.
Yeah, Mozart tends to have a remarkable ability to take an otherwise decent player and make them sound amateur again.
David, one must normalize for pulchritude when analyzing professional soloists. They are an act which must be successfully marketed.
Jason, I had to look up that word :=) I agree.
Considerations of "what is harder than what" are extremely important for teachers selecting repertoire for students, or for adult independent learners in selecting repertoire for themselves. It isn't immature at all. I'm sure I'm not the only teacher here who has had a new (transfer) student show up with music that was a completely inappropriate (as in, too difficult) choice for them.
In my area there are two high-profile amateur symphony orchestras that won't accept violinists who haven't got at least a grade 8. Never having taken any violin grades at all is therefore why I am not in those orchestras, although at one time I was in both for many years as a grade 8 cellist. On the other hand, other orchestras in the area, some of which are of a similar standing to the two aforesaid orchestras, are quite happy to have me as a violinist - so they must be desperate :)
Time again, figure-scating comes to my mind as a possible comparison. There they have a few (mandatory) technical elements judges are observing. Some skaters can not do "quads", others can do "triple toe"....
Each piece can have its own challenges. I think we're talking about overall difficulty here. Mozart concertos promote finesse and beauty, so many orchestras ask for them for auditions. Bruch concertos and similar don't promote finesse and beauty as much.
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