Piece for violin and orchestra for Suzuki book 4 student
Hello everybody, my 7 yo daughter is learning violin with the Suzuki method and is currently in book 4 (last two pieces). She has been offered to perform as soloist with a youth orchestra, with a short piece of her choice.
She play well the first and third movement of the Vivaldi A minor, but the
conductor thinks they are too hard for the orchestra, and so are the Seitz
concertos movements included in Suzuki book 4.
What pieces would you recommend that have a soloist part at the level of
the above pieces, but with easy orchestral parts? They need not be necessarily pieces in the Suzuki books, or even classical music, and the conductor is also willing to arrange something not originally written for violin and orchestra.
Suggestions are very welcome.
The accompaniment for the first movement of the Vivaldi A minor is within the capability of most youth symphony preparatory or string orchestras. A good music director should be able to simplify sections that they deem too complex, as well. I would probably drop every unison violin tutti with the soloist; make it for soloist and the lower string parts instead (or write simplified lower-register parts for the violin).
Is there an orchestra version of the Reiding B Minor Concerto?
This youth orchestra might be similar to my group, which started as mostly Suzuki book 1 students plus some book 4-5. The Vivaldi A minor* parts are definitely (still) out of our range. If so, they may need something written for school orchestras or otherwise arranged/simplified parts.
There is an arrangement on IMSLP of the Rieding 1st mvt for an "orchestra" of 3 violin parts and piano, but I think it would be more difficult than an orchestration of the Seitz piano parts. With G or D major, you at least have tonic and dominant open strings to help with intonation.
I agree with Mengwei Shen that it would be better to err on the side of easier music because the orchestra would sound better and provide a better foundation for the soloist. In my experience, especially for a first experience as a soloist in front of an orchestra, if your daughter is playing at book 4 level, finding a piece from book 3 even if the conductor has to create an orchestra arrangement from piano parts (not difficult to do), would be better than finding a work at the most difficult level your daughter is currently playing at. Soloing properly in front of an orchestra is so much more complicated than play a solo with an accomplished piano accompanist who is trained to follow what your daughter does.
As someone who is preparing to play a solo with an orchestra for the first time (Beethoven F Major Romance with a non-audition community orchestra), I suggest that anyone reading this thread go back and read David Bailey's comments three times.
Paul, how have the rehearsals been so far? I am rooting for you! When I performed the theme from Schindler's List a year ago, the first two rehearsals were really bad, but in the end it kind of worked out. I did ask for an extra rehearsal (meaning, just to play it through during a normal rehearsal where my piece was not actually scheduled) and that helped.
Jean, thanks for asking. The rehearsals are going better. The first one was a train wreck because the conductor started in at a tempo that was at least 50% faster than I've ever played it, and because the orchestra is still just learning the piece (it's a community orchestra). I can rehearse a lot because I'm also a violist with the orchestra anyway. At the second rehearsal, there was a shortage of music stands so I gave up my stand to the principal 2nd violinist which thrust me into playing from memory, but I kind of wanted to try that anyway, and mostly I succeeded (I forgot the filigree passage in the return of the main theme on the last page). So far it's only been with strings. Tonight we try with the full orchestra. I'm going to be applying a great deal of rosin beforehand. LOL
David, Paul, so true. I would add that a young/beginner-ish orchestra might have a...wide margin of error on intonation and might not have much experience accompanying a soloist. As another example, my group did Czardas (my arrangement, tailored for our needs), and while we rehearsed the transitions and tempo changes a lot, part of my student the soloist's preparation was to practice with piano (both being followed and following the piano - the latter representing an orchestra that isn't advanced enough to follow a soloist), know the rehearsal letters by memory, recognize the sections/phrases by the accompaniment, etc.
The nice thing about Vivaldi is that there are effectively no tempo transitions. Maybe a little ritard in the final measures. Woe betide you if your cellists can't count, though.
Thank you very much for the replies.
Concert in 3-4 months might be a bit short to learn and polish (to the standard as suggested by David) a new piece at the top of your playing level, or it might be fine. You and your teacher would know, and the conductor would know what the group is capable of.
For the mix you're talking about, Vivaldi A minor sounds perfectly doable. I might consider, for the actual beginners, a "third violin part" or something similar (that is also written in different clefs for beginning viola and cellists) that is significantly simplified.
Clothespins will semi-mute a kids' orchestra. I agree with Lydia to just weed out the kids who can't play the parts because it's harder to play with an orchestra than you think it's going to be. Someone blows an entrance and it can really throw you off your game.
A parent once reported that there was some intentional not-rosining of bows in their elementary school strings class or concert.
I spent part of my summer coaching a group of kids at the Suzuki book 1 and 2 level to accompany a pair of kids at a kind of marginal book 4 level on the solo parts, to play the first movement of the Vivaldi double concerto (the RV522) -- conductorless! Doable in a couple of weeks (with weekly hour-long rehearsals split between this and another work), starting from scratch.
Lydia, that's a terrific way to build self-confidence in those young musicians and to get them thinking and working in an ensemble mentality! Well done!
It turns out the concert is at least 5 months away, but they will probably start rehearsing quite soon, so the soloist part should be ready in about one or two months from now. My daughter would love to play the Vivaldi A minor first movement, if I could find simplified orchestral parts maybe I can get the conductor to agree...
You want to try to avoid works with wind parts, IMHO. Young woodwind and brass players often don't have the control to play beneath the soloist. And such parts are exposed, and a missed entrance or wrong / badly out of tune note will almost certainly throw a young soloist (and plenty of experienced players too).
Lydia, what you say makes sense, I'll try to politely ask if strings only is a possibility.
The Vivaldi concerto accompaniments are all, to my knowledge, strings-only. Certain the Vivaldi A minor is strings only.
Surely they don't expect *every* piece on the program to be for full orchestra (whether originally intended or forcibly arranged)? That would be strange for many reasons.
Looking at the IMSLP copy of the score for the Vivaldi A minor, I would leave the "violino primo" part entirely to the soloist.
Thank you both for your insightful responses, they've been very useful. I'll talk to the conductor, who is also the arranger, soon.
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