Senior Recital Pieces

April 7, 2018, 10:28 PM · Hello! I'm looking to give a senior recital sometime near the end of May/beginning of June. I'm looking for short violin/piano pieces that I could teach myself. I'm around the Bruch level right now. I have been looking at pieces such as Salut d'amour by Elgar and the Glazunov Meditation to give an idea of what I'm looking for. Any suggestions will be helpful.

Already on the program will either be:
Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3 or Kabalevsky Violin Concerto

Replies (22)

Edited: April 7, 2018, 11:37 PM · What about Tchaikovsky’s meditation, scherzo, or melodie?
April 7, 2018, 11:26 PM · Brahms Scherzo is a good piece for a recital but you need a good pianist. Also Prokofieff 5 Melodies is very nice. Sibelius wrote several short pieces for violin and piano. You could check those out aswell.
April 8, 2018, 1:04 AM · Any of the Kreisler showpieces would be excellent.
Edited: April 8, 2018, 7:40 AM · The Schumann Violin sonata no 1 , I would recommend part 1. But you need a patient pianist :)
April 8, 2018, 9:28 AM · Meditation from Thais
Edited: April 8, 2018, 11:48 AM · A good recital is balanced between different styles and eras of music, and shows a range of violinistic ability. One hour is a typical recital length. You'll probably want to mix repertoire you already know well, with some new things.

Because you're doing a senior high-school student recital, I think the usual "don't play concertos in recitals with piano" rule that would apply to a professional recital, doesn't apply here.

I'd suggest that you play both the Kabalevsky and the Mozart 3. The Kabalevsky runs about 15 minutes, the Mozart 3 about 25 minutes. That means that you'd only need to find 20 minutes of additional material.

Do you know any of the Bach unaccompanied sonatas or partitas? If so, one of those would take about 15 minutes. (I assume you haven't done the Chaconne, but if you knew the 2nd partita, you could certainly play it without the Chaconne.) As an alternative, you could do some other straightforward Baroque work -- perhaps one of the Handel sonatas.

Then you could round things out with a Romantic-era work or two. Meditation from Thais, Salut d'Amour, Rachmaninoff Vocalise, etc. would all be good. Ditto a Kreisler work (though I'd pick something that's not one of his pastiches of an older style; i.e., I'd choose P&A, Tambourin Chinois, or one of the Viennese works like Schon Rosmarin, Liebesleid, or Liebesfreud). Other things like the Wieniawski Legende, Ten Have Allegro Brilliante, or the like, would work here too.

April 8, 2018, 12:21 PM · What I suggest to my high school seniors doing recitals is about an hour of music, not all of which is at their highest level. So one major piece and maybe a showpiece too that are at their highest technical level, with other smaller pieces representing different styles mixed in. It's also nice to include a chamber work (one movement) if you have friends who play at the right level.

I think starting to learn something new at this point for performance in a couple of months is most realistic if you aim slightly below your maximum level. To be specific, I think pieces like Tambourin Chinois are too hard. Meditation from Thais works great; Czardas is also a fun piece that is not very demanding but which audiences enjoy. If you want more of a challenge but still would like to enjoy life between now and your recital, what about the Bartok Rumanian Dances?

If you have a friend who plays violin at your level, one of the Telemann Canonic Duos is a nice addition--this is assuming that both you and your friend are solidly good at counting. Those pieces are not terribly demanding technically but the counting landmines are endless.

April 8, 2018, 12:26 PM · At this point, you've got about eight weeks to prepare, which I think argues for picking new pieces well below your maximum level, rather than just slightly below your maximum level. That's especially true when choosing works you're going to study without a teacher, although I would really recommend doing a check-up with your teacher for some helpful tips, after you learn the notes.

(I generally do a once-through with my teacher on anything I'm performing, even if it's technically trivial, because he pretty much always has something useful to say, no matter what. On things that are technically trivial, his advice will generally be musical rather than technical.)

April 8, 2018, 3:33 PM · Yeah, I agree. Stuff on the level of Tambourin Chinois will be too difficult. I've considered Thais and Czardas both, and I like the idea of those two a lot. I don't have any complete Baroque sonatas, so I might pick a Kreisler baroqueish piece. I did play in a chamber ensemble that performed the 4th mvt of Dvoraks American Quartet. The folk dances/P&A are both pieces I've previously asked my teacher about learning, both of which she said I should learn sometime soon.
Thanks for the suggestions so far.
April 8, 2018, 3:43 PM · I just texted my teacher a bit and she said that Thais and Czardas sound like good ideas. She also recommended I play what I have of the Bach/Handel I've studied for auditions. I think that might work. I might also throw in a piece of my own that I've composed.
April 8, 2018, 6:36 PM · If you're at the Bruch level you should already know Meditation from Thais and if you don't you can learn it in a week.

I also recommend the Drdla Souvenir which is not very hard but audiences love it. The Tchaikovsky Melodie is not that difficult either, you should lick that in a couple of weeks. Either one would work well with Thais and Czardas. (The other Tchaikovsky show pieces such as Melancholic Serenade or the Scherzo are way too hard to learn in the time you have.)

But your teacher is right -- if you have Bach ready, by all means, play it. Two contrasting movements from the same Sonata would work especially well.

I recommend you do not play your own composition at your recital unless it's been vetted by someone who teaches composition.

Edited: April 8, 2018, 6:47 PM · I've taken theory/AP theory, and a few composition classes at a local university, so I don't think my pieces are too bad. I haven't started Bruch yet, we will very soon though. I'm finishing up the Kabalevsky Mvt 3. Thais should be a piece of cake, I agree.

April 9, 2018, 7:57 PM · Just wondering, its probably too difficult for this I'm guessing, but how difficult id Caprice Viennois by Kreisler? It's easily my favorite show piece.
April 9, 2018, 9:30 PM · It's too hard for you given the time allotted. I played that on my senior recital at Oberlin.
April 9, 2018, 9:34 PM · So, I'm guessing I have a while until I get there?
April 9, 2018, 9:46 PM · It wasn't the hardest piece I played, and I think you could get there...just not in the next eight weeks.
April 9, 2018, 9:48 PM · In 8 weeks without a teacher? Too hard. Put it on your wish list for next year. :-)
April 10, 2018, 7:56 AM · I was thinking more like working on it with my teacher, not by myself. I will definitely put it on my wish list along with pretty much every other concerto/show piece in existence XD
April 10, 2018, 8:55 AM · Why are you working on pieces "by yourself" at all? Do you have limited funds for lessons?
April 10, 2018, 9:21 AM · I want to focus on my lesson pieces duri my lessons, I’d rather learn stuff like Thais and Czardas on my own time.
April 10, 2018, 9:46 AM · I can't speak for your teacher, but if one of my students is going to perform a piece in public, I very much expect to be part of the preparation of that piece even if the piece is simple and it's just a matter of me hearing it once and passing it off as acceptable. Students--even advanced students--not infrequently make mistakes in learning a piece, whether a rhythmic mistake, a missed accidental, or a misunderstanding of the style of the piece--and if someone is publicly performing as my student, then it is a direct reflection on my teaching.

I think you should at the very least consult with your teacher and get their agreement on these additional pieces, and you should let your teacher be the one to decide whether to be involved in the preparation.

April 10, 2018, 10:38 AM · That’s the plan. I’m going to work on them myself and check in with my teacher a few times to make sure I’m doing stuff right. She really wants me to start the Bruch soon, and that’s part of the reason she wants me to work on them myself.

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