Best & Most Difficult Violin Sonatas

May 4, 2019, 8:53 PM · Hello

I’m selecting a sonata for RCM Level 10 List B and I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5.

Brahms in G Major, op. 78 1st and 2nd movements
Grieg Sonata in C Minor, op. 45, no. 3 1st and 2nd movements
Prokofiev, op. 115 1st and 2nd movements OR 2nd and 3rd movements
Schubert A Major, op. posth. 162, 1st and 2nd movements

I really love the Grieg sonata, but it is so long and requires luscious vibrato which I lack. In all honesty, I will probably pick the one that will allow me to score the highest and work on more difficult pieces on the side.

In your opinion, which is the easiest and which is the most difficult?

Replies (7)

May 4, 2019, 9:24 PM · I'm not familiar with the Schubert but I would guess that the Brahms is the least difficult.

Personally I cannot stand the Grieg sonata, and the semester that I had to help a student polish it for their senior recital (they picked it, obviously) was....not maximally enjoyable.

May 4, 2019, 10:08 PM · What about the Grieg sonata makes it so unbearable? My teacher dislike Bruch concerto because it’s overplayed.
May 4, 2019, 10:13 PM · I just do not care for it. It's a matter of personal taste, obviously. To my ear it is very long and goes nowhere. My student felt otherwise which is why she programmed it.

I'm not a huge fan of Bruch either but I teach it because it's an important stepping stone in the repertoire.

May 5, 2019, 4:15 AM · If your vibrato is weak you might want to avoid the Brahms too. I think the Shubert is the easiest by far - technically, but requires excellent phrasing to pull it off.

May 7, 2019, 4:24 AM · depends where your strenghts and weaknesses lie.
The Schubert is definitely classed at the easiest in terms of order of things in a methodology. Some players find the Brahms easier, but to pull that off successfully with the piano is very difficult. If phrasing and articulation is your strength, go for either the Brahms or the Grieg.
Picking the one which helps you score highest is definitely the way forward in my view. In auditions it is not only about technical difficulty, but more about communication through the music.
May 8, 2019, 4:33 AM · OP: were you drawn to the Grieg and Schubert by the Kreisler/Rachmaninov recordings?
May 9, 2019, 3:02 PM · Stephen

Yes, I was for the Schubert but I was unaware they also had a recording of Grieg. Thank you for sharing!

Also anyone else who is reading this I still haven’t chosen one yet but my lesson is tomorrow so maybe my teacher will just pick one for me. Although I enjoy listening to these sonatas, I dislike playing anything that requires vibrato because it’s frustrating to hear myself. I know exactly how I want it to sound but my lack of beautiful vibrato just ruins it. It seems so easy for everyone else yet I’m still struggling with it. My teacher can’t figure out why I can’t do it beautifully and neither can I.

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