Concertos For Next Year
Hi! I am just starting to think about possible repertoire for next year. I am currently playing Introduction and Tarantella by Sarasate. I want to take on a concerto from June - December. I will be most likely playing this piece for festival and summer camp auditions. I want to perfect at least one movement from a concerto that is longer and won't get super bored with. Let me know your thoughts? Thanks!
PS: I played Bruch 1 Mov 1 briefly and Mozart 4
If you haven't already, why don't you ask your teacher for suggestions? If your teacher is the type that'll let you choose your own repertoire to some extent, you may wish to do a bit of research and pick a concerto you like.
If you've done Bruch and Mozart,I'd guess that Lalo, Mendelssohn, and Saint Saens 3 are possibly in that range.
What does Bruch 1 1st mvt “briefly” mean? Did you change teachers? Was it too hard for you? Did you just not like it? Given your repertoire, I suspect that Mendelssohn and Saint-Saens are way beyond you right now.
On the contrary, I would highly suggest pursuing a very difficult concerto. You'll have to keep yourself busy with it for a long time, after all. Better to work on something that will restrict your progress to maybe a small section or a few measures per week, to really hone your skills.
Since you say you worked on Bruch only briefly, I have the same thoughts as Mary Ellen about why -- too hard? Some other reason?
I seriously doubt you'll injure yourself working on a stretch piece—physically or mentally... Unless you already had habits which would eventually cause them in the first place.
I think it's not a great idea to play something way above your skill level because you will be mentally frustrated by your mistakes and will build some bad habits. The exception is if you take it super duper easy and try to accomplish it over several months or more. I don't recommend this approach to the averae student because there is way too much room for error. Maybe another reason the OP only looked at Bruch briefly was a matter of time and wishing to focus on other things. Not everyone follows the typical concerto sequence and will skip certain concertos, though they will sort of make it up with other repertoire. This is coming from someone who skipped essential concerto sequence repertoire without problems. I really trust my teacher, as she keeps my technique and musical skills up to standards.
Cotton, what works for the average person is going to be vastly different than what works for Roman Kim, and probably different than what works for you.
I think some students can be inspired by repertoire that is a stretch -- that is a significant step up from where they are right now, but which they can learn if they put in meticulous effort and practice time.
One concerto that I would single out here is Viotti a-minor. It is way more interesting than any of the other Viottis I have heard. The subdued opening is already very attractive. The way it is transformed for the entry of the soloist is nothing short of breathtaking*. I will admit that there are sections later on in the first movement where the virtuosity (such as it is) begins to run empty a bit. Still, this is inspired music, including the short adagio and the intense finale.
Lydia wrote, "I tend to believe that students who are starting the major concerto repertoire -- Bruch and beyond -- ought to have their fundamental technique nailed down."
As it's been stated, without knowing more there's not much that can be recommended. I can say that I've been a victim of "learning through the repertoire" and have taken a major step back with a huge sigh of relief to work on less intensive repertoire. (The story is too long to get into here, and really not that interesting.) My progress, such as it is, has improved more dramatically in this two months' time of "stepping back" than it had in a couple months of intensive "efficient" work on a movement of a major concerto (and with literally no pain, psychological nor physical!). It's great to know that I can work my way through a major concerto movement (not measure by measure!), but it's better to feel good about my playing and to know that my technical approach is solid.
If you haven't played all the way through Bruch, maybe that's a great starting point, especially since you need to be able to get it up to audition polish in that time. It's part of the professional rep. Speaking of auditions, it will be worth your while to pick up some Solo Bach, since any audition worth your time will almost certainly require it as well.
If I had to guess, I would say that at LEAST 50% of the "serious" violin students in the US are being pushed too fast through the repertoire by their teachers (or in some cases their parents).
I have mentioned in the past that I felt like I went through a bunch of purgatory years in which I almost quit playing the violin. I spent five years at the intermediate stage -- a period that started with Haydn G major and ended with Rode No. 7, where I did a steady diet of "student' concertos (the violinist-composers, deBeriot, Viotti etc.) plus short works and a lot of exercises and etudes. But I came out the other end by being able to play Mendelssohn (still felt like a significant leap in what I was playing in actual repertoire, even though I had seen all the technique previously), and then a fairly rapid learning of other concertos.
I love reading your responses Paul and Lydia. Such differing experiences of teachers and their styles - effective and not!
Pamela, it seems our violin experiences are cut from the same cloth. The thing is, all we can really do is (a) try harder to improve, or (b) enjoy the skills we have, such as they are, or (c) take up "pickle-ball" instead.
Haha. Guess my options are to go with a and b, for I'll never be able to enjoy my skills such as they are nor am I a fan of pickle-ball (or knitting).
Mr. Deck and Ms. M.,
Not negative at all Adalberto. This has been a very good journey so far, even the parts with the potholes and other not so fun bits.
Luckily for us all, there's a huge amount of the "professional" violin repertoire that is at the upper-intermediate level, as well as at the Bruch-ish sort of level. You can easily play a whole recital, especially with the modern emphasis on sonatas, without Bruch-level technique.
Adalberto, Lalo SE might be a possibility if I could practice a couple of hours per day. First movement anyway. I would probably improve faster if I didn't have such a time-consuming job, and two school-aged children, and if I didn't play another instrument too (piano). Of course all of that is my own fault.
I'm preparing a detailed analytical comparison of Mozart 5 and Viotti 22. Stay tuned.
Lydia - my main teacher has assigned me pieces in this category for developing musicality while also focusing on improving overall technique. It's been a really great opportunity to refine technique and give myself the space to be creative with the music/my instrument. And, because of this, I am MUCH less frustrated: technique-wise, how I sound - I am not as disgusted with my sound as before, am having more fun and feel ever slightly more confident playing (which means I am more relaxed!), and my teacher seems to be much less exasperated/tortured in lessons with me. This of course means I'm out of the "I am going to quit" woods for now...
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