Violin + ???: Strange bedfellows

September 15, 2018, 5:00 PM · I didn't want to hijack another thread about quartets, so here's a a place for any and all non traditional musical combinations. Duets with violin and double bass? Sure. Violin octets? Awesome. Clarinet Quintets? Let's go, post here...

Replies (22)

September 15, 2018, 5:57 PM · All I will say at the moment is that guitar is usually greatly neglected. Violin and oboe also make a fine pair.
Edited: September 15, 2018, 7:20 PM · After playing weekly piano trios (piano, violin, cello - I was the cellist) with the same violinist for 15 years our pianist at age 95 finally had passed her prime - her sight was gone and then her hearing - and finally her memory (she died a year later). So we switched to another pianist I knew and had played with - but then one year ago our violinist's eyesight finally succumbed to macular degeneration - and our pianist was troubled by sufficient arthritis that the serious works we had been playing were getting to be too much for her hands.

So the pianist started to play the recorder and beginning 6 months ago the pianist and I have been playing recorder-violin/viola duets by Telemann, Loeillet and J.S. Bach. We also have been doing a bit of violin/piano Handel & Beethoven Sonatas (but that is not as unusual). Her rhythm is as solid on recorder as it has always been on piano. Actually these recorder duet things can also be played on cello - but it's a lot harder - I think they were composed for flute or recorder with viola da gamba (which is essentially a cello with frets).

Edited: September 15, 2018, 7:32 PM · The Brahms Horn Trio (violin, horn, piano) is the best known piece for that surprising combination of instruments. It wasn't the first (Czerny's Op. 105 trio preceded it, and Mozart seems to have produced an arrangement of his Horn Quintet for the same instruments) but it seems to have spurred subsequent composers to try that combination, most notably Ligeti and Ewazen.

In the same vein, Ethel Smyth composed an excellent double concerto for violin, horn, and orchestra.

September 15, 2018, 10:30 PM · Among my favorites pieces of music, any music, any period, are the violin and lute compositions of early Baroque.
Its becoming rare to see classic guitar and violin, and I love almost every one I get to listen. So a +1 for guitar...
September 16, 2018, 12:39 AM · Violin and oboe sometimes are good together. The Mozart oboe quartet (doesn't sound right) is fabulous. But Heinz Holliger and Maurice Bourgue in the Seventies recorded fabulously Zelenka's 6 trio sonatas, 5 with two oboes, and one with oboe and violin. I hate the one with the violin! But this thread is about odd combos, got it.
September 16, 2018, 1:45 AM · Another vote for the guitar (Paganini!). Also for bandoneon and violin (e.g. Piazolla and other tango music).
Edited: September 16, 2018, 8:57 AM · Piazzolla was a genius, but I'm not keen on covers of his works.
September 16, 2018, 11:56 PM · Come visit and play with me Carlos, we can work though the Lucca Duets!
Edited: September 17, 2018, 12:26 AM · Violin and Ukulele. My daughter's BFF is learning Ukulele and they are going to put on a Christmas recital for family this year as a duo. Their version of Over the Rainbow, arranged for them by hubby and uncle, is super awesome.
September 17, 2018, 2:50 AM · @Michael McGrath: In the bucket list!

Where did you get the Lucca Sonatas? I cannot find them from any publisher...

Edited: September 17, 2018, 3:51 AM · Here are the first 6 of them:

I am at work so can't access my bookmarks, but the rest of them are out there. Some Paganini scores are crazy hard to find. The Op. 1 refers to Opera 1 - the Lucca Sonatas are MS7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 133 and 134.

Edit: Here are more of them, same website as before:

September 17, 2018, 3:56 AM · Fantastic! Thank you Michael!
September 17, 2018, 3:59 AM · Enjoy!

I did a solo version of the Grand Sonata for Guitar and Violin as concert piece once upon a time. Fun piece - much of Paganini is Violin dominant, that one is the opposite! So much so it can be played solo.. and it!

September 17, 2018, 11:58 AM · I have been told that there is a one-volume Italian edition of all Paganini's almost innumerable duets for violin and guitar. Unfortunately, I know little more (but guess that it is probably very expensive) and at the moment haven't been able to identify the publisher.

Dusting off my ranting cynic's hat, I'm inclined to the view that the dearth of so many of the Paganini violin/guitar duets in the public domain (they should all be on IMSLP!) is due to a few publishers protecting their interests, compounded by original mss being difficult or next to impossible to access.

One suggestion I can make is to search in major National Libraries (British Museum, Congress, Bibliotheque Nationale, etc) and see if it possible to borrow the scores via an inter-library borrowing scheme (this may be easier for those working in academic institutions).

A major recording of virtually all of the Paganini violin/guitar duets is a 9 CD set by Bianchi and Preda - probably available for streaming now on Naxos.

September 18, 2018, 2:53 PM · On the subject of Oaganini and guitar - I have been trying to find sheet music for Paganini’s Guitar Quartets. I have the duets, «Sei Sonatas» and «Centone di Sonata», but those pesky funny quartets are eluding me.
Edited: September 22, 2018, 5:37 AM · The most interesting combo I have seen, and it worked surprisingly well, was , violin, guitar, and didgeridoo.
It was at a folk club evening in Melbourne
It was also memorable, as we were waiting, intrigued , but the violin player was late, and the didge player was letting Everyone know how irritated he was .
September 22, 2018, 5:36 PM · Maybe a bit less strange but still very rarely performed: flute, violin, viola. Beethoven Serenade op. 27. Also two serenades by Reger. All three of those very good, highly recommended pieces.
Edited: September 22, 2018, 10:58 PM · The famous Paganini Cantabile also has guitar accompaniment. But alas, it's really just an accompaniment. Not so much of an interesting part. Still, if I perform that in a recital I will ask a dear friend who is a guitarist (with whom I have played dozens of jazz gigs) to perform with me.

And if you're going to say flute, well of course there is Mozart. But don't forget Devienne! He was a flautist and wrote several flute quartets, and they're terrific, I think.

September 23, 2018, 4:09 PM · There are some very nice arrangements of Piazzolla tangos for violin and double bass by bass-player Andreas Wiebecke-Gottstein
September 23, 2018, 7:03 PM · If you are with Mozart: There is his quintet for horn, violin, 2 violas and cello. Rarely played because of unconventional ensemble but very good. And if you talk flute quartets (i.e. flute plus sting trio) try the 6 of Reicha. They are good, real quartets with the full four movements (unlike the Mozart which are of a lighter, less ambitious kind).
September 24, 2018, 11:29 AM · I love violin and tabla - the violin has been assimilated into Hindustani classical music.
September 26, 2018, 9:41 AM ·
I composed a piece for violin, bouzoukis and flute. The bouzouki originates from the middle east as a three string course instrument. It was later adopted by the Irish and the Irish bouzouki was born as a modified version with four string courses or eight strings and a flatter body. For this compo the bouzouki is tuned in D .There are two bouzouki parts with one filling the bass and the other slightly higher. Depending on the mode and tuning used that instrument can sound either middle eastern or celtic. This compo has a decidedly middle eastern sound. Certainly not main line classical music, but then, that probably wouldn't be an expectation when mixing up world instruments like this.

I can't claim playing the violin on this. Joshua Bell's samples are miles ahead of my recorded sound.I played the bouzouki parts. The timing is a bit sloppy. I think there's something going on with a delay I need to address. The idea is there though.

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