Edited: April 14, 2019, 6:14 PM · Bach and Tchaikovsky are responsible for my love of classical music from childhood, and Bach is still my first love. I love his Chacconne (what is there not to love), and recently stumbled across the Vitali Chaconne on a playlist of Heifetz I found on Spotify. Hadn't heard of this piece and thankfully no one will ever ask me to choose my favorite between the two as that choice might not be possible. Some day I would love to be able to play both/either Chacconne but that falls into the long-term goal department.

Are there similar pieces I should keep my eyes and ears out for?

Replies (25)

April 14, 2019, 4:27 PM · If you like Tchaikovsky -- and baroque music -- then you should certainly enjoy his Variations on a Rococo Theme.
April 14, 2019, 5:18 PM · I loathe most of what Tchaikovsky wrote, but the slow movement of his violin concerto is gorgeous. Every summer when I am at our summer house where my mother's ashes are scattered, I play it for her spirit because it is so beautiful. That movement of the concerto is not all that difficult. Give it a try.
April 14, 2019, 6:22 PM · Paul and Tom I will check both pieces. I've got a lot of ground to regain since returning to the violin almost 5 months ago before I can hope to play anything but simplified versions, but I've no intention of remaining at this level.

I do enjoy Baroque, and indeed classical music from most periods, some more than others. Interestingly enough I don't really care for the other pieces from Vitali I've heard, but his Chacconne is a gem.

April 14, 2019, 7:09 PM · Oh ... you are interested in pieces you might PLAY. I didn't catch that in your original post.

"Variations on a Rococo Theme" is virtuoso stuff. It's even very hard on the cello which has a larger practical range than the violin. The Andante (Variation VI) is quite popular and you might find a violin transcription available for it (check Musescore).

Here is a recording by a violist (Variations VI and VII).

Edited: April 14, 2019, 8:04 PM · Actually Paul it's both - but the question was about listening. I do have some long-term goal pieces - and those pieces are at different levels (some are more in the realm of the possible than others). But listening was behind my question. I've been exploring different composers and periods, and I loved my discovery of Vitali's Chaccone. Couldn't think of a better forum to raise the question :-)
April 14, 2019, 8:38 PM · You might find some things in Biber's Rosary Sonatas of 1676 that please you. This Passacaglia perhaps.

Edited: April 14, 2019, 9:18 PM · Bach wrote a lot of violin music other than the Ciaccona. And still other music that might originally have been for violin. Try this:

April 15, 2019, 3:10 AM · May I suggest the Andante from Lalo concerto?

April 15, 2019, 4:01 AM · well, the Chaconne is actually the final movement of a larger work, and there are five more partitas and sonatas by Bach.
April 15, 2019, 4:55 AM · I love all of Bach - that wasn't my aim - I've been a lover of Bach since my childhood as I originally wrote. It was my discovery of the Vitali Chaconne makes me want to find sonatas and concertos for the violin beyond my favorites or less known pieces of my favorites (Bach, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn, Sibelius, Vivaldi). Not a lover of Walton but have found Ysaÿe interesting.
Edited: April 15, 2019, 7:36 PM · I will add that I found the Biber Passacagila is exquisite, thanks for the suggestion! I didn't think I liked Biber. Paul, thanks for your Variations suggestion as well!

Added: I couldn't make the link work earlier today, so wound up listening to this version of the Passacagila - Elicia Silverstein plays this so beautifully!

April 15, 2019, 7:05 AM · Geminiani did a nice solo sonata.
April 15, 2019, 7:16 AM · Max Reger wrote a lot for violin solo, vaguely as an early 20th C take on what Bach did.
April 15, 2019, 8:47 AM · If you like Rachmaninoff and haven't yet checked out his vast output for the solo piano, you will find some tremendous things there.
April 15, 2019, 3:22 PM · Heifetz played his own version of Vitali’s Chavonne, I believe. There are two commonly played versions for violin and piano, and then there is the «original copy» which is different - violin snd continuo. That one is usually titled «Parte da Tommaso Vitalino», which is the title on the earliest known copy.
Personally, I like that version best.
April 15, 2019, 4:17 PM · I like the romantic "Charlier" version better, but the "original" is still so harmonically adventurous for its time. I also doubt the plainer passages of the original were played without ornamentations or added notes. Though I would really put "Vitali-Charlier" on a recital program, as it definitely isn't just the Vitali chaconne with a few ornaments here or there.
April 15, 2019, 4:17 PM · Bach's Sonatas for violin and continuo are wonderful works.
April 15, 2019, 5:00 PM · The sonatas of Handel are great, and some of Veracini are nice too. The recording of the Handel sonatas by Hiro Kurosaki is nice because a few of them are with organ rather than the usual harpsichord. If you want something you can play in church, wouldn't it be nice to have something accompanied by organ? Of course it's very difficult to play a violin solo with organ in church because the sound comes from everywhere. In my town there is a church with a small loft organ and I'm determined to have a recital there one day and play Handel.
Edited: April 15, 2019, 8:27 PM · Sounds lovely Paul and I can understand the desire to have such a recital! I'm Greek Orthodox, so everything is acapella, and I am in the choir (my violin teacher is also my choir director). There are a few Orthodox parishes in North American with an organ but it isn't the norm.

Ole - I've heard Heifetz play Vitali's Chaconne - that is how I discovered it - Spotify features it on one of their playlists for Heifetz - it's incredible - at least to me. I love that piece, but I've not yet heard anyone else play it. I'm looking, it will be interesting to hear how someone else interprets it. I will look for the one you suggest.

Tom, I totally agree!

I appreciate the suggestions and will keep looking. I've also noted the Bach specific suggestions on the other thread.

April 17, 2019, 8:46 PM · One of the pieces that hooked me on violin was Tartini's d minor concerto. Probably a bit easier than the Vitali.

Here's a version that strikes me as too fast (I first ran into Francescatti's much slower, lusher sounding, more Romantic recording, which is

April 17, 2019, 8:55 PM · My favorite Vitali Chaconne is Oistrakh’s. I find it more tender and introspective than Heifetz’s.
April 18, 2019, 8:53 AM · If you're collecting Chaconnes, there's a lovely Chacony (sic) by Purcell in Britten's arrangement for string quartet. There are several versions on Youtube. I don't know what the original instrumentation was, but it seems to me to work very well for quartet.
One of the grandest is J S Bach again. Not strictly a chaconne, but the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor for organ.
[Slightly off topic - I wish string quartets would program pieces like the Purcell (or some of the movement from the Art of Fugue) as 'curtain raisers' or warm-up pieces in recitals, rather then 'a' Haydn quartet, which sometimes turns out to be the best music on the programme.]
April 18, 2019, 11:24 AM · Thanks for the additions to my list! I've various compilation playlists I found on Spotify, one of which include a violin Tartini piece I really enjoyed - pretty sure it's the D minor concerto but I need to find it again. Can't remember the violinist - thought it was in the Heifetz collection but it is I just overlooked it.
April 18, 2019, 12:22 PM · More of a passacaglia than a dance form, but Brahms #4's last movement more or less wrote the book on the 19thC approach. And Webern did one a few decades later in his Op 1 that is quite interesting.

I've often thought that putting the Webern on the first half of a program along with the Bach Cantata that Brahms stole his tune from, and then finishing with the 4th would be good.

Edited: April 18, 2019, 1:11 PM · The Reger sonatas, that I think somebody mentioned above, include a 14 minute Chaconne that stands out from the other movements. You might like it, but then it might take some time for it to grow on you. It's in Reger's Op. 91, No. 7. There's a CD, Dorian 90175.

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