Barber or Bruch?

February 13, 2019, 4:39 PM · Hi all!

Technically and musically speaking, do you all find Bruch (G minor) or Barber generally to be more difficult, and why? It varies by person, but I'm trying to figure out a basic agreement on the question.


Replies (6)

Edited: February 13, 2019, 4:49 PM · Played Bruch about 15 years ago, starting Barber now. I place Bruch on the level below Barber. I feel like Bruch "helps" you play as a violinist a lot more in the pacing and the left/right hand technique. I feel like you can put it together a page or two at a time and there are no passages that take a dump on your self confidence.

I'm seriously struggling with Barber's 3rd movement right now. Even physically it's quite demanding.

February 13, 2019, 5:04 PM · Both concertos have in common a 3rd movement that is very much more difficult than the first two movements.

As for relative difficulty, I think it depends on the individual student's strengths and weaknesses. Generally speaking I teach Bruch before Barber though.

Edited: February 13, 2019, 10:43 PM · It’s interesting back 20 years ago, Barber wasn’t really a piece that people would play that much of in music schools compared to some of the other big concertos. Now it’s one of the pieces you are almost required to learn if you go to a top US music school. I don’t know if it’s the same in Europe. I find Bruch’s 1st and 2nd concertos along with the Scottish Fantasy to be much more important to learn in addition to the core Germanic repertoire (especially Bach) in your formative years over the Barber. I might be old fashioned but I just have never thought of Barber as part of the core repertoire like Wieniawski, Paganini, Vieuxtemps, Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Lalo, Sibelius, Prokofiev, Brahms, Mozart, or Spohr.
February 13, 2019, 6:47 PM · I found Bruch harder, but my technique was in a questionable place when I was playing it.

Also, a lot of people get away with just playing one of them (more often Bruch).

February 14, 2019, 1:16 PM · I think Bruch is harder overall. However, as Mary Ellen noted, both have a much more difficult third movement than the other movements.
Edited: February 14, 2019, 1:37 PM · I agree Lydia. The last movement of Bruch's 2nd is also tremendously tough. It can compare in my opinion with some of Paganini and Sarasate's pieces in difficulty.

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