Grades repertoire on chamber music (as a violinist)

Edited: March 12, 2020, 3:55 PM · Hi,

I'd like to know how chamber music repertoire is ranked in term of difficulty (technical+musical difficulty).Can you try to include in this list this pieces please:
Beethoven ' s ghost
Beethoven' s Archduke
Beethoven' s Kreutzer
Beethoven' s spring
Schubert' s trio n°2(op 100)
Schubert' s trio n°1(op 99)
Schubert' s sonatinas (in my point of view, they have the same level of difficulty)
Ravel' s trios
Brahms' s trios
Brahms 's sonatas

Also I'd like also to know if Beethoven's triple concerto is at Schubert's second trio level of difficulty

Practicing and waiting for your answers


Replies (17)

Edited: March 12, 2020, 4:08 PM · For me the Beethoven Kreutzer is most difficult on the list, the triple a close second. Schubert sonatinas least difficult.

I have found the two Schubert piano trios quite playable on both violin and cello parts (which I have performed - both trios, both instruments) - the cello parts are tougher (took practice (woodshedding) - for me!)

March 12, 2020, 4:06 PM · Thanks
Edited: March 12, 2020, 5:57 PM · You are welcome. Difficulty of piano parts would rank differently. Brahms, especially, can be very challenging for pianists who can credibly sight-read some of the other works.

Also look into the two Mendelssohn piano trios - wonderful parts for all 3 players. Some truly transcendent music!

Edited: March 12, 2020, 4:46 PM · Aren’t kreutzer and spring sonatas? If so, never knew that it counted as chamber.
March 12, 2020, 4:47 PM · All violin/piano sonatas are chamber music.
March 12, 2020, 8:08 PM · @Lydia, by extension then what about solo Bach? Does that count as chamber music?
Edited: March 12, 2020, 8:24 PM · Try this (doesn't really include sonatas)
March 12, 2020, 8:46 PM · Strictly speaking, no. Chamber music implies more than one player.
Edited: March 12, 2020, 9:19 PM · "Strictly speaking, no. Chamber music implies more than one player."

I don't know if I'd say "strictly speaking"; Wikipedia does say that "by convention". A local venue advertises itself for chamber music and features string quartets and trios, as well as solo piano. I don't think the audience minds.

In any case, for most such groups, the audience would want to and would generally know the group and program beforehand, so the designation per se is not that important.

How about "Extreme Chamber Music" for a solo violinist?

Edited: March 13, 2020, 10:35 AM · According to the Oxford Companion to Music, "before public concert-giving began, set musical performances fell into three classes, those of the church, those of the theatre and those of the halls of the royalty and aristocracy. Those of the last class...were 'chamber music'". I assume Bach was more or less exclusively church. (I read Wolff, but can't remember the detail)
March 13, 2020, 2:28 PM · "I assume Bach was more or less exclusively church."

I would have guessed that the sonata were for the church (da chiesa) whereas the partias less so, as in the following:

"The set consists of three sonatas da chiesa in four movements and three partitas (or partias) in dance-form movements."

March 13, 2020, 4:17 PM · Music for a single solo instrument is by convention bundled with chamber music for concert program purposes. You'll see such music included on chamber-music series, and it's frequently presented in venues designed for chamber music.
March 13, 2020, 7:54 PM · I've played in the orchestra in a couple of performances of the Beethoven Triple some years ago. On both occasions the performers were 3rd year students from the Royal Academy. This work isn't very often performed professionally (pity!) because of the expense of getting three professional soloists together, which is why performances by advanced amateurs are more likely to be programmed.

As something that is not too difficult I would recommend Dvorak's delightful Sonatina Op 100 for violin and piano. The story goes that when Dvorak noticed that the next opus number on his list was to be 100 he decided not to compose a blockbuster symphony or choral work to celebrate the opus centenary, as you might expect, but instead to compose this sonatina for his young son's birthday (11th?). I studied this sonatina over the course of one term with my teacher and enjoyed every minute of it. Here is a performance on YouTube by Gil & Orli Shaham:

The Kreutzer Sonata is easily the greatest violin sonata ever written, but is one of the most difficult technically.

Here are two contrasting great performances of the Kreutzer from YouTube:
Nathan Milstein & Georges Pludermacher. The video starts with a 2 minute ad :( Sadly, this was to be Milstein's last ever performance before he seriously damaged his hand in an accident.
Patricia Kopatchinskaja & Fazil Say. A superb example of Eastern European and Turkish fire from the pair. This performance makes me wonder if Beethoven had "concerto" in his mind when he composed the Kreutzer.

Edited: March 14, 2020, 5:42 AM · The problem with specifying the difficulty is, you also have to specify the performance level.
Are you practising for yourself, performing at a local amateur competition, for people paying 4 Euros, for people paying 40 Euros?

ABRSM has Spring's first movement at grade 8. I wouldn't know about the whole sonata.

The New Zealand Music Examining Board has quite an informative syllabus.
At Licentiate level they accept 1st and 2nd or 2nd and 3rd movements of the Kreutzer. You can look other things up yourself.

Edited: March 14, 2020, 5:48 PM · Hi again,

There are some interesting suggestions that you gave me.
I was just looking for other trios for piano and comparing them with pieces that I can and can't play.
After we'll(cellist+pianisit+me)have finish Schubert's trio, I'd like to play on of these piece:
Dvorak 's piano trio
Beethoven's triple concerto(piano reduction)
Schubert's 1st piano trio
Mendelssohn's trio
Which one is the easiest to play?
To answer Gordon Shumway, we're perfoming for people that have payed 0€

Cheers(and still practicing...)

Edited: March 14, 2020, 6:08 PM · My kids are working on the first 3 movements of Dvorak no. 4 (Dumky) as their "easier" trio piece now (with the 2nd and 4th movements of Shostakovich no. 2). I think that one is pretty straightforward in all parts, and it's a real crowd pleaser.

The cello part of the triple is a beast. Their violinist's mom really wants them to do this next year. Piano part is pretty easy but I hesitate because I am not sure my daughter can handle the cello part, plus Rococo variations, plus chamber pieces plus everything else.

Mendelssohn has some tough piano parts, requires really quick clean playing. Otherwise not too bad?

March 14, 2020, 6:38 PM · Hi,
For answering Stan Yates,
we have a good cellist that have finished "normal"conservatory.I think he can handle this(he played Dvorak,Saint-Saëns,Shostakovitch,Elgar, Haydn and other cello concertos)
The pianist hasn't played in conservatory but she was extremely good at piano(when she was younger ,she was playing showpieces like Chopin or la campanella, etc...).Now,she has difficulties to play Brahms ,Schubert and Schumann's sonatas,but she's still a good pianist


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