The Unaccompanied Violin
I thought we might discuss our favorite unaccompanied violin pieces. I have always enjoyed the solo violin, as I do not share the opinion that it must be shackled to the piano for a base. There are a great many such works composed by a great many violinist composers, e.g., Biber, Bach, Telemann, Tartini, Rode, Beriot, Vieuxtemps, David, Ernst, Paganini, Sivori, Lipinski, Sauret, Wieniawski, Ysaye.
To get things started, omitting the obvious Bach, here are a few of my favorites:
(1) Biber, Mystery Sonata XVI
(2) Telemann, Twelve Fantasies
(3) Tartini, 30 Piccole Sonate
(4) Rode, 24 Caprices
(5) Beriot, 12 Scenes or Caprices Op. 109
(6) Vieuxtemps, 36 Etudes Op. 48 and 6 Morceaux Op. 55
(7) Wieniawski, L'ecole moderne and Etudes-Caprices
(8) Ysaye, 6 Sonatas
Thoughts on your own favorites?
I wanted to add the 24 Jakob Dont caprices. While super difficult, some of them (such as No. 7 and No. 12) are so beautiful and unique.
Max Reger has some amazing unaccompanied stuff.
Yes, the Reger sonatas are fantastic, especially No 5 in E minor.
Sticking to the level I'm personally capable of, I really do love some of the Mazas etudes (and not exclusively these). Anyways, for me there isn't anything much that could be more beautiful and eventually calming and meditative like solo violin in a large hall, be it a church, concert hall or the patio of any historic building. (Might have something to do with the instrument I play...?)
Reger is great. Op. 117 No. 2 and the Chaconne are my favorites. Sometimes performed, but largely unknown to many.
Okay everything has been mentioned but Kreutzer Etudes. My teacher told me that Heifetz occasionally played the E Major (No. 8 or 10?) as an encore. I'll bet every violin student in the audience loved that!
There are two pieces by Carl Nielsen. One used to be on Youtube, played by Hilary Hahn.
Love the 6 sonatas by Ysaye, and of course Bach's Sonatas and Partitas.
There is a wonderful (if trivial) fantasia on the sextet from Lucia di Lammermoor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFFTswXPjQY. What better use for an instrument with four strings?
Just care about what you enjoy, Ms. Roco-letting others choose what music you should play/listen to based on their standards for "musical greatness" would ensure your repertoire/music to listen to is *very* small. Some people do not listen to Tchaikovsky because he is "too shallow" for them. So just enjoy your Ernst, and always play what you love (which is not to say one should ignore the better known masterpieces.)
I second the Dont etudes -- maybe I am just a fan of modulating a lot, but op. 35 is way more pleasant to listen to than most etudes. And I find myself humming them periodically.
There are plenty etudes that are underestimated in their musicality, because they're "only etudes".
Well, it would be Paganiniana if I actually had a hope of playing in my lifetime.
People who don't play violin are always impressed by stuff like Csardas or the presto from the G minor sonata. 'Cause both of those pieces have a very high cool factor.
Campagnoli's 6 Fugues should be added to the pile.
I would like to suggest my recent favourite books for unaccompanied violin, and viola.
This is a tidier and more informative version of my previous post of March 1st, which I have deleted.
Recuerdos de l’Alhambra. Https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=i-10F3fNEEg
There are also some really nice transcriptions, arrangements, and other solo works in Rachel Barton Pine's collection, though most are quite hard!
Here is another 19th century example: the two sonatas by Benjamin Godard. Godard was a French violinist and composer. The two sonatas are on IMSLP so everybody can have a look at them.
"not deliberately difficult"
Some more modern unaccompanied violin pieces word checking out include Reger's Prelude and Fugue in G Minor, Hindemith's unaccompanied violin sonatas, and Khachaturian's Sonata-Monologue for solo violin.
I forgot— the Prokofiev!
Solo - Joss Holden Rea. It is an intermediate level piece. The youtube video is under Death of a violin. (warning violin abuse occurs in the video.) I have been enjoying teaching it and my students have been enjoying learning it.
I've posted a substantive Edit to my post of March 2.