Polishing the Bruch violin concerto

Edited: May 20, 2019, 6:01 PM · Hi everyone,

I have an audition for a local youth orchestra coming up in two weeks and I am going to be playing Bruch violin concerto exposition. I learned this concerto back in September and I need some advice on how to polish it up for my audition.

I'm having trouble on keeping tempo and pulse during the exposition- I'm playing at kind of an uneven tempo with some parts being faster than others and others dragging behind (the octave passages).

I am also having trouble on the intonation of the second octave passage and shifting up to it (it's a big shift from Bflat-Bflat).

I am having trouble on the triple stops section too- when I have to play the chords and put one finger on two strings to play two notes, the chord sounds scratchy. My right hand is doing the correct bow stroke and my fingers are playing the right notes, but when I put them together, it just sounds scratchy and I don't hear any actual notes. I'm also not sure how to speed this up, as it is slow right now.

In general, I want to be more confident when I play this at my audition- I feel like I'm holding back on some of the harder things in the exposition (like the octaves, the triple stops etc) because of how difficult it is and because I am scared I will mess up! I have two weeks to polish this up (which I think is an okay amount of time) and I want to sound my best.

Replies (5)

May 20, 2019, 8:05 PM · Ok so don’t just play the techniques you’re struggling with in the context of the bruch. Tackle some of the Simon fischer excercises In octaves for 20 minutes a day and magically within a few days of good practice I promise they will improve. Generally slow thoughtful practice with complete coordination. Also the sevcik op 8 octave shift excercises are awesome if you needed an excercise for the octave shift.
Disclaimer: I play viola and therefore have never played the bruch if anything is blatantly incorrect about my interpretation of her issues please tell me.
May 21, 2019, 7:44 AM · About your first concern: This movement is not intended to be played at a constant pulse. Listen to recordings and you'll see that everyone takes liberties. That is the good news. The bad news is that playing it with such freedom isn't any easier then keeping a pulse, rather the opposite.

Seriously: Do you need to play something this difficult? If you have something a little more modest that you have already sufficiently prepared I'd strongly advise to play that piece. You have more problems than even a miracle teacher could fix in two weeks.

May 21, 2019, 8:12 AM · I agree with Albrecht: consult your teacher about another piece if possible. The challenges you are describing are not just fine-tuning the interpretation but actually learning the notes still.
May 21, 2019, 12:01 PM · I don't really have the option to play another piece right now but I just wanted to sound my best and I think I can get it done in two weeks. Thanks to everyone for the help.
May 21, 2019, 2:24 PM · If your tone, vibrato, intonation, and general facility are good they'll see that too.

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