Repertoire reflecting envy

Edited: October 13, 2018, 2:39 AM · Dear fellow violinists,

My class has decided to do a recital with the seven deadly sins as the theme. I drew "envy" and thought at first this to be one of the easier themes but I've actually not been able to find repertoire to express this emotion. Since there are so many people with tens of years of more acquaintance with violin repertoire here I thought I'd try my luck and ask you.

Off the top of your head, do you have any suggestions?

PS: jealousy is not the same as envy. ;)

Replies (20)

October 13, 2018, 2:51 AM · Mozart 4, 3rd movement?
October 13, 2018, 7:29 AM · What a strange, contrived theme for a recital. I feel sorry for whoever drew “sloth.”

The only thing that occurs to me is to find music inspired by a literary work or perhaps the musical theme from an operatic aria in which the character is envious.

My strongest suggestion would be to find another theme for the recital.

October 13, 2018, 8:24 AM · You don't mention your playing level, so this question is not really answerable at this time. My suggestion though is that you don't have to be so literal. For example, pick a piece dedicated to a violinist whose skill you envy.
October 13, 2018, 11:10 AM · Worthless subjectivity. Concert programs based on themes are an annoying fashion. --- perhaps "Rage over a lost Penny"?
October 13, 2018, 11:45 AM · Just pick something you can play well. Then you'll be the envy of the lot.
October 13, 2018, 3:28 PM · Following the same kind of logic as Mary Ellen, I'd suggest Kriesler's arrangement of "Danse Espagnole" from La Vida Breve by Manuel de Falla. If you read up on the plot, this music is what's happening when the heroine is dancing her way into her boyfriend's wedding to someone else... pretty envious if you ask me, though it could also serve for lust.

Also, I'm assuming you are after 'proper' violin music not lightweight arrangements, and this definitely is. It's a proper showpiece - not the most difficult but it has its moments. (Compare the violin part with the orchestral version!)

Edited: October 13, 2018, 6:21 PM · Agree with Mary Ellen; this theme is a hard one. But I love themed recitals/concerts! It really makes you think about what you're looking for, as opposed to playing what you can or need to. There is value in the search for music. It expands your personal knowledge of repertoire.

Edited to add: Laurie, you should do a poll on this!!

October 14, 2018, 3:33 AM · Thank you for your replies!

I did forget to mention my level, I am finishing my Master's in classical violin this year so "proper" pieces are indeed what I'm looking for. :) Of course I could pick whatever piece and just make up a story to go with it but I just thought I'd do some digging to find interesting new pieces.

Tom Chan, care to elaborate?
Chris Keating, thank you for the suggestion but I've played that one many years ago and would like to learn some new repertoire.

October 14, 2018, 8:33 AM · I was watching a masterclass online with Maxim Venegrov and he drew out an amazing description of events! . He doesn't really imply envy, however music is free to interpretation! That's the beauty of music! Although I have to agree with above that all pieces are open to your own interpretation and so I would encourage you to think, what does envy sound like to me? Glissandos? Is it atonal? Dramatic changes in dynamics? Which somewhat makes me think of
Another piece by Josef Suk and his Appassionato. Have a look at it, also look at his other 3 pieces Op.17 ! Might not really describe it, but I would say that some pieces are easier to show envy than others and this possibly could be one of them.

Happy Searching!,

October 14, 2018, 8:57 AM · Fiddler on the Roof too obvious?


October 14, 2018, 8:59 AM · Just pull out that Strad and everyone will feel envious , no matter what you play!
Edited: October 14, 2018, 9:09 AM · What about a standard piece like Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata?

Tolstoy wrote a novella about it:

it's about jealousy, rather than envy, but it's still an option.

October 14, 2018, 9:59 AM · Thanks for helping me figure this out, guys!

Tom Chan, the first Josef Suk piece out of the four pieces Op. 17 is exactly what I'm looking for! Thanks a million!

Case closed. :)

October 14, 2018, 10:28 AM · Long ago I had an LP of a Kurt Weill piece called the Seven Deadly Sins, which might even have had a movement dedicated to each. I don't have my LPs anymore and never got that one on CD, so I don't recall the music much, just that the composer himself can be clearly detected in the music.
October 14, 2018, 10:44 AM · @Joel Quivey, how about "Rage Against the Machine Tuners"?
Edited: October 14, 2018, 10:50 AM · What does envy sound like? Minor key, stridency building to a crescendo, then ending with self-reflective ennui. No, wait, maybe that's jealousy.
October 14, 2018, 11:22 AM · Not envy, but jealousy : Celos/Jealousy. A French tango by Jacob Gade, 192_, available in a variety of arrangements.
October 14, 2018, 12:22 PM · Ysaye Sonata #2, I. Obsession
October 15, 2018, 11:28 AM · You could always play some Ernst.
Edited: October 17, 2018, 10:19 AM · My violin teacher would sometimes ask me to play a piece I'd just learnt in an entirely different way - perhaps as "angry", "amusing", "funereal", "martial", which are some that come to mind. That means thinking beyond the notes.

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