How controversial is my recital programming?
Greetings all, My intention is to play a free violin recital that will be open to the public in order to raise funds for the local animal shelter (through voluntary donations), and also to have a goal for whipping my playing back into shape and getting serious about practicing. I know the Prokofiev and the Chausson are not actually recital pieces, but I just love the heck out of them and I studied them previously (with my former professor) so I'll be reviving them. In fact, the only piece I'd be learning completely fresh is the sonata.
My intention is to share music that is dear to me but I don't want it to backfire and end up irritating people who'd prefer a more standard program or worse: causing people to walk out because it's too long. So, what do you think?
Faure Sonata #1
Prokofiev concerto #1
Wieniawski Polonaise in A Major
Is your audience likely to consist mainly of music-lovers or animal-lovers? If the latter I'm afraid I think your program is way too highbrow.
Will animals be present too, beside human ones?
Where will you be doing this?
I love the prokofiev.it's captivating. I was listening to it this week.
The first half seems a bit long. Perhaps trading one of the first 2 for something slightly shorter.
I wouldn't say it is controversial, but it's much too long and you start off with a heavy piece. My suggestion: Chausson Poeme, Wieniawski Polonaise, (short intermission), either the Faure sonata or the Prokofiev concerto but not both.
In general, I think mainstream audiences don't have much appreciaton for classical music. They will listen, but I don't think they will care much about it.
Wow, so many great responses. Thank you! I think what Mary and Duane said makes a lot of sense. I will replace the Faure sonata with something shorter and lighter. To answer Andrew's question: I am tentatively planning on doing this at the recital hall in the Lincoln performing arts center in Fort Collins, CO. To answer Steve's question: the audience will be a mix of music-lovers, animal-lovers, local musicians, philanthropists and a bunch of my own friends. I have a local donor who's volunteered to donate a generous sum to the humane society for each signature in the guest book and she is bringing the type of people she hangs out with. So, a pretty mixed group.
Your program seems reasonable. Agree completely with Mary Ellen.
I basically agree with Mary Ellen, but I would probably suggest that you drop the Poeme or the Prokofiev concerto rather than the Faure. You haven't learned the Faure before, which gives you something to work towards, and it's the only work on the program that is actually *intended* for violin and piano. Whatever pianist you're working with will probably be grateful to have a work in which they're not dealing with an ungratifying and complex orchestral reduction.
A mixture of tuneful/showy and whatever else you want seems the most reasonable, I think.
Thank you Lydia. I really appreciate your thoughts. I've decided to prepare everything that's been recommended, and then choose which ones to keep when I start working with a pianist, that way I'll have options and back up plans, and I'll be able to let the pianist in on the decision making as well. I'll probably try to keep Prokofiev unless I can't find a pianist who's willing to do it just because I think if more people were exposed to Prokofiev,they would realize that he was a very melodic and accessible composer if people just give him a chance. Thank you so much for your thoughts. I will take everything you've suggested into consideration and make sure I've got some Mozart, Beethoven, Sarasate and Kreisler up my sleeve as well.
Unless you've got a professional pianist in your pocket who knows the Faure already and can bring it to performance standard quickly, I'd suggest figuring out your pianist now, and giving them plenty of time to learn it. If I recall correctly, the piano part is extremely difficult.
Excellent recital program and it’s for a worthy cause. I don't really agree with the other people commenting on this. Back in the day Heifetz and Kreisler gave recitals almost 2 hours in length. I'm not sure if there's really a 'correct' length for a recital. The Prokofiev D Major concerto is actually a rather short work - it's just about 20 minutes in length. It’s nice to see people doing programs with a sonata in addition to a couple of showpieces and a concerto. It kind of reminds me of the programs you'd see on a recital at Juilliard or MSM Precollege back when I was a student. More often than not today’s violin recitals have turned into sonata marathons which are complete snooze fests. Since you’re doing the concerto in the 2nd half I’ll also recommend taking a look at the Prokofiev-Heifetz March from the opera ‘The Love For 3 Oranges.’ It might make for a nice encore. Good luck on the recital!
Not sure how controversial, but personally I'd love to hear it; three of the four are among my favorites too (as a listener). Really glad to see you playing Fauré No. 1. Wish this (and the Lekeu sonata) was played more. As mentioned, hope your pianist is up to the task! I can see the piano reduction of Poeme working well, but I'm having problems imagining the Prokofiev. I'll have to look for a performance of it. Good luck!
I agree with Nate that Heifetz played long recitals, and I sure was glad Joshua Bell played a long recital when he came to Blacksburg because that's not happening every day, and it was an expensive ticket, and I just love love love violin music.
I respectfully disagree with Nate, and I agree with Paul.
I really need to clean my glasses. Initially I thought I read "rectal programming". For a short time I was in a world I didn't want to be in.
But don't forget the audience! People tend to like what they know.
I, for one, would love to go to a recital with that programme and I applaud that you are doing such effort for a good cause.
I agree to maybe drop the Prokofiev from this one (great piece). The Chausson does great in piano reduction, and the Faure is, as people have mentioned, really difficult for the piano. I would consider something a little lighter and clearer as a palate cleanser - Maybe Mozart, Handel, Bach (keyboard/violin), Schubert or something along those lines. At the end, you could throw in a little lyrical bonbon.
The reason I asked about your venue had to do with potential audience size. I would think Ft. Collins, CO is certainly sufficiently populous to attract an audience to fill the Lincoln Center's Magnolia Theater for your desired program - especially if you are fairly well known there.
Also worth thinking about if you're a procrastinator: Preparing less repertoire makes it more likely that you will reach the point where you feel ready to perform your program, rather than it being theoretically in the future. :-)
One more idea... Think about doing some animal-themed music! The violin transcription of the Swan from Carnival of the Animals, Kreisler/Rimsky-Korsakov Hymn to the Sun (from Cor d'Or), Dinicu's Lark, etc.
Just turned pages for a 3-sonata marathon concert yesterday. This recital had a theme–French sonatas–which held together relatively well. Still, it was on the longer side for a casual audience. (although I was on the edge of my seat the entire time! page turning joke...)
These are all really good ideas. Thank you, Andrew. The Magnolia Theater is my intended location. I've played chamber music there before. The acoustics are nice and there's a very good piano nearby. Lydia, you've been so kind and so helpful. That thought regarding less repertoire to make this goal more attainable did occur to me, but fortunately since so much of this repertoire is being revived instead of freshly learned, I think it's not too much of a stretch. I like the idea of the animal-themed pieces and I played those before so they're all good things to consider. Katie, I love that Sicilienne by Faure. If I don't find a transcription of it I would consider transcribing it myself. It's pretty special. I like the Prokofiev sonata you suggested, but I think the piano reduction for the first concerto is pretty effective. I played it with a pianist once and I remember liking the piano reduction. Maybe it's a different reduction? I'm using the International Edition edited by Oistrakh.
@Timothy Smith, just wait till you turn 50.
@Paul, Gotcha. I only use doctors with small fingers.
Michael, you're in luck: http://ks.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/d/d8/IMSLP113991-PMLP20764-Faure_Sicilienne_violin.pdf
Well David, though I am not a working professional, I know what good playing is supposed to sound like. I would not be considering a program that I did not think I could render to an acceptable standard, at the bare minimum. I'm not really sure what you're implying, but my obligation is to present a program that is thoroughly prepared, thoroughly rehearsed, and played with confidence, skill, and love. That's exactly what I intend to do. I do care, and that's really all I can do about it. If my playing offends anyone despite my rigorous and thorough preparation, then they may leave my free recital and do something they'd rather do instead.
Michael, what I am saying is that, from the perspective of a member of the audience and an amateur violinist, the program is too long and too ambitious.
Animal-linked pieces: Canary Polka, Ox Minuet, Flight of the Bumble Bee, The Trout ...
Animal-linked pieces: Canary Polka, Ox Minuet, Flight of the Bumble Bee, The Trout ...
OK, David. I'm not offended, I just don't understand how being an amateur violinist means that my program is too ambitious. If it's too long I understand, and that's not subjective. However I don't think the fact that I rely on other means for my income has anything to do with it. What pieces on my program are you suggesting are too ambitious? I've performed the Wieniawski and Chausson before, and the Prokofiev is not new to me. I studied all of these as a music major in college. My original question about controversy was with regard to playing pieces with a piano reduction on a recital (that normally would be played with an orchestra). If what you mean by "too ambitious" is that people might think there will be an orchestra, I'll make that clear by listing the pianist's name. I can make it clear that this is a violin recital and not an orchestra concert. Is that what you meant?
Michael, your program looks AWESOME!!! Although in some ways we seem to be playing for the audience, which leads to endless speculation and controversy about what would be "best," as an artist you are expressing the music inside of you and will make your best performance by playing exactly what you most want to play! Don't play for the market, play what is your most heart-felt and authentic choice of music. People can tell when the artist is most committed to their work, when it becomes inseparable from who they are.
Thank you, Will. I really appreciate that.
Michael, “Too long” and “too ambitious” are related. To my amateur ears, one’s playing is, let’s say, less than consistent if the program is too long. That is the case among even first tier soloists who could “revive” most pieces in the standard repertoire.
Eh, David--if they don't want to sit through it they can discreetly leave. It's not as though they're going to ask for their money back. And the uninformed "average donor" isn't going to know enough about the program to predict its length.
There are always outlier audiences on both ends of the spectrum - on one end you have a cold crowd and you wonder why they even bothered to come. On the other end the crowd is made up of classical music fanatics and they would love the concert even if you played Gavinies, Dont, Fiorillo, Kreutzer and Sevcik double stops with no break.
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