Rep for quartets with weak cellist?
My son's school orchestra is splitting into chamber groups next quarter. His quartet has two very strong violinists, a competent (though not the same level) violist, and a much weaker cellist. The violinists can likely play pretty much anything in the standard quartet repertoire. (They are currently playing Tzigane and Carmen Fantasy for playing level reference.)
They need a 6 minute quartet movement that is heavily violin-oriented with a pretty simple cello part. Any suggestions? Since it is school and the serious players are also in pre-college programs, it doesn't necessarily have to be particularly pedagogically-oriented as they already get that in their Saturday programs.
The general answer to this is to go baroque. Then the cello parts are continuo. Look for Vivaldi, Corelli, etc.
The earlier the Haydn quartet, the more there is for the first violin and the less for the others.
My thinking was to find continuo parts that have been converted by an editor into playable but not overly difficult cello parts. But I agree that early Haydn could fill the bill.
Check out the quartet volumes published by Last Resort Music these are modifications of classical chamber and orchestra music that depend most on the 1st violin and have mostly simple cello parts. They also have a Christmas album if you are inclined to make music for that season. They also have "music for three" and Music for two"
Looking at Susan's problem from another angle, perhaps the experience of playing with two experienced violinists and a competent violist will encourage the weak cellist and help him or her to develop - learning to listen to the ensemble more intently, better intonation and synchronisation with the others, for a start.
On the other hand: Everybody presumably knows already that the two violinists can play difficult stuff. Why not play something less difficult in order to accommodate the cellist? You don't have to show everything you can every time you perform. Especially since in those quartets with a difficult first part (such as--very!--early Haydn) the second as well as the viola is treated quite miserly by the composer.
Well, the goal is to find something that all of them can play competently and successfully. That likely will mean something easier for the violins. The Mozart is a nice idea. My son is already doing some Haydn with his regular quartet, so that might be Haydn overdose for him.
Many of the early to middle Mozart quartets have mild cello parts.
I don't think I could ever have a Haydn overdose.
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