I'm pondering repertoire for the upcoming season and thinking about some good crowd-pleasers. (Think "music that elderly concert-goers love." Last season I did the Franck sonata, which was a hit.)
I'm looking for two contrasting works that are each about 4 or 5 minutes long (not to exceed 10 minutes total) and which could preferably be thematically related, or a single work of under 10 minutes. Works (possibly multi-movement) that don't exceed 20 minutes might also be okay. Can be difficult but I probably don't have the patience for virtuosic. The piano accompaniment can require practice but shouldn't be exasperatingly difficult.
The context for this: I often have opportunities to play in shared recitals / chamber-music concerts where 10 to 20 minutes is a good length, but there's not 30 minutes available to perform a full sonata. (For this season my chosen sonata is Faure No. 1). I'm doing as many such concerts as possible as part of my stage-fright desensitization personal project.
(Other stuff I'm performing this year: Shostakovich No. 1 which is my "pedagogical" concerto which I'll only do in student recital; Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, which I'm performing with my community orchestra; the Dvorak Piano Quintet; the Schumann Piano Quartet; Rachmaninoff Trio Elegaic No. 1; and the Reger Clarinet Quintet.)
Hackneyed as they may be, I find that elderly concertgoers LOVE the Four Seasons. Spring and Winter might be good (as each one is about 10 minutes apiece, if I recall correctly).
I know the works on Mary Ellen's list, and am wanting to add new things, though I've only done the Wieniawski works in studio recitals and they might be worth braving in public. (I was really unhappy with the Scherzo-Tarantelle performance I did -- sheer terror was a big problem.)
I always use Smetana - Aus der Heimat No2 in the Peters edition - as played by Ricci in his 1950s virtuoso showpieces.
A few things that come to mind:
Would you excerpt individual movements from Sonatas? The Franck lovers might like a movement or two from one of the Brahms sonatas. And the Thaïs Meditation could be a nice compliment to one of Mary Ellen’s showier suggestions.
Have you played Dvorak Romance in F? It's a gorgeous piece. It's a little technical in spots, but not like Paganini or anything.
Oh yes, the Heifetz arrangements of Gershwin songs from Porgy and Bess are challenging, and fun for both soloist and audience.
Kreisler’s aucassin. And Nicolette always seems to be popular.
Elderly-crowd pleasers, lol!
My absolute favorite audience pleaser to both play and listen to is the Schubert B minor Rondo. Crazy harmony changes throughout, nice balance between melody/counterpoint, and easily one of the most exciting endings of all literature!
Although I have never played it, I really love Pieces for Violin and Piano, op. 79. I think the Souvenir is very beautiful. Here is a great recording on YouTube. https://youtu.be/zd84QuD0E64
Corelli La Follia was the clear crowd pleaser in a similar recital with many of of the pieces already listed above. You can pick and choose the variations. Or Vitali Chaconne.
And of course pieces they will recognise.
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