Ideas for a winter student recital that aren't Christmas or Hanukkah?

Edited: September 8, 2019, 10:15 AM · My string quartet is joining me for my viola teacher's winter recital which features winter holiday music. One of my partners requested music that isn't specific to a holiday.
I'll ask my teacher for ideas but I'm interested in hearing ideas from v.com members. We play at what I'd classify as "intermediate" level. Ideas don't necessarily have to be
string quartets--for example I can get my hands on a SQ arrangement of the Nutcracker Suite so there may be similar scores out there somewhere if I know what piece I want. Thanks!

Replies (14)

September 8, 2019, 10:32 AM · Do you mean non-religious or do you mean non-associated with a specific holiday? The Nutcracker is explicitly about Christmas but is not religious music.
September 8, 2019, 12:58 PM · Corelli Christmas concerto is great for a quartet.
September 8, 2019, 1:09 PM · Almost any one of the Vivaldi violin concertos will work with string quartet accompaniment - although adding a bass will give more "umpf."
Edited: September 9, 2019, 11:01 AM · How about "The Gift" by William Hofeldt. Lovely piece, super easy, and a crowd-pleaser. It often appears on Christmastime programs, but in fact, the title does not refer to Jesus, as probably many assume. Rather it refers to the composer's own son.
September 9, 2019, 12:45 PM · @Lydia, I see your distinction. Based on what I was mentally putting into "yes" and "no" categories, I would say not religious, but I know there is Christmas music which isn't religious, such as "Frosty, the Snowman", and I don't think we'd want to play any of those, either. Your point about Nutcracker is a good one but I would make an exception for it if my SQ agrees. I could listen to it any time of the year.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I'll check them all out.

--Fran

September 9, 2019, 1:16 PM · Yes, the Corelli Christmas concerto is also explicitly "Christmas".

There's a quartet arrangement of the Leroy Anderson "Sleigh Ride", but I imagine that falls under your "Frosty" prohibition. Does "Greensleeves" also fall under that?

So what you apparently want is music that sounds festive or is associated with winter but isn't explicitly associated with the holiday season or any specific holidays. That's kind of a tough ask (in terms of string quartet arrangements). Perhaps what you want is just to choose pleasant selections without any holiday reference whatsoever.

September 9, 2019, 2:01 PM · "Eine musikalische Schlittenfahrt" (a musical sleigh ride) by Leopold Mozart is a gorgous little work, not christmassy but winter-themed with several short movements featuring a sleigh ride, people shivering in the winter cold, neighing horses and a festive ball.
September 10, 2019, 12:17 PM · @Lydia. I think Greensleeves would be acceptable--thanks for the
suggestion.

I was vague about the instrumentation type. I can often find string quartet arrangements for a piece that wasn't written for SQ given that string quartets are so popular.

September 10, 2019, 3:06 PM · How about a SQ arrangement of Vivaldi's "Winter?" Or perhaps all "Four Seasons?"
September 10, 2019, 3:46 PM · George, I actually thought of Winter but it's definitely and advanced piece. Otherwise, it would be my preference. (Although I'll check out the other suggestions--maybe something else will become my favorite.) I'm afraid that all of "Four Seasons" is much more time than we're allotted.
September 10, 2019, 9:47 PM · You can play the Schlittenfahrt. Just don't misspell it on the program.
Edited: September 11, 2019, 10:28 AM · IMSLP has a transcription of the Corelli Christmas Concerto for SQ. It might actually be the most do-able of the suggestions I've received so far. I also found L Mozart's Sleigh Ride on IMSLP and downloaded but can't figure out what I have yet :) I haven't found "The Gift" anywhere yet--I'm sure that it would be under copyright and thus not freely available but I haven't found it on any publisher's list, either. I'll ask my teacher for guidance looking at the Vivaldi concerti. IMSLP claims that its Greensleeves is copyrighted in the US, if I read it right. But virtualsheetmusic.com has both an easy and (not too) advanced SQ version, and also a SQ version of the Nutcracker Suite. So I'm getting somewhere, thanks to all of you who responded.
September 14, 2019, 8:50 PM · Today at practice we were reading through Vivaldi's Concerto Opus 3 No. 8 for two violins and the "Larghetto e Spiritoso" movement struck me as being very wintery, in a more meditative way than Vivaldi's "Winter". It's easy enough that we can get it into performance shape without any stress. We haven't ruled out other pieces that v.com members have suggested but this one seems to fit the bill perfectly. Thanks, Andy, for suggesting a Vivaldi concerto. Otherwise I may not have had my antennae up.
September 15, 2019, 7:16 AM · You are correct: "The Gift" by Hofeldt is under copyright. I bet you could resell it after using it.


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