”Kreutzer” sonata (Beethoven)

Edited: July 9, 2018, 10:44 AM · Hi!

I was wondering how difficult is 9th sonata (”Kreutzer”) by L. V Beethoven? Or compared to Paganini’s caprices or Bach’s violin solos?

Replies (5)

Edited: July 9, 2018, 11:12 AM · I'd say they are each very difficult, but in different ways. Be aware that a few of Paganini's caprices are more "approachable" than the rest, as are some of Bach's solo works a little "easier" than others.

The "Kreutzer" is among the greatest violin sonatas ever composed - if not the greatest, some will say - but its difficulty for me would lie in getting into the soul of what Beethoven was saying, but after all the technical problems have been resolved, as with a lot of his music.

I'd suggest watching as many videos by top violinists of the pieces you mentioned, as you can. Then you can start making your own comparisons. Note that most players are looking at at least 7 years post-beginner under a good teacher before they're ready to start on any of those pieces with a view to performance.

July 9, 2018, 12:34 PM · Thank you, Trevor!! :)
Edited: July 9, 2018, 2:44 PM · Musically speaking I found the 10th sonata more challenging than the Kreutzer. The Kreutzer has some very nasty passagework (meaning difficult.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfdC8TRt5cg
July 9, 2018, 3:50 PM · You haven't really lived as a violinist until you've played those opening chords in front of a live audience for the first time.

One of the great things about the Kreutzer is that most of the extremely difficult passages are in the first two movements. The last movement is a blast from start to finish and not overwhelmingly hard.

Pretty much a guaranteed standing ovation if you nail it.

While the Kreutzer is quite a load its no where near as hard as the hardest caprices.

Also - it would behoove you to find a phenomenal pianist to play with. Like the Franck - Don't even attempt to play it with someone who isn't ready for that part.

Edited: July 10, 2018, 7:35 AM · A couple of YouTube videos of the Kreutzer that are worth watching; they highlight the comments made by Ryan:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF9fneQ50Us (Patricia Kopatchinskaja & Fazil Say)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSC4W1qWMp4 (Nathan Milstein & Georges Pludermacher)

The Milstein performance was sadly his last before a fall resulting in damage to his hand that prevented him from playing again.


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