Sibelius concerto 2nd movement
Is it supposed to be played on the G string (Sul G) for the first few lines?
It goes up to E5 which is a very uncomfortable position to play on the G string and most violin can't produce a good sound
I think you have to go with what sounds good with your violin and your hands.
I agree with Paul. If it doesn't sound good or it hurts or whatever, don't do it
Respectfully I disagree, for three reasons. One, the composer was a violinist, and he knew what he wanted, which was the sonority of the violin at this register. Two, if you’re playing Sibelius 2nd movement, I’m assuming that you’ve played the 1st movement, where in the first cadenza you go up the exact same place on the G-string, and at a much faster tempo. Not to mention the technical challenges in the rest of that movement. (Sidebar: most violins, if adjusted properly, should be able to handle being played in that register, it’s the true lemons that can’t) Three, Sibelius Concerto requires a highly polished technique in spades, and perhaps there’s something that you have to examine in order to gain more comfort and facility up the fingerboard on all strings, and to make sure that the bow gets the instrument to speak at that register.
Lorenzo is correct. That passage was written to be played on the G string.
It really seems to come down to your opinions of musicality and how you interpret the piece. Usually, when the G string is used in higher positions it gives a certain edge that was the composer's intentions however if you are able to create this better on the D than why not play it like that.
Lorenzo is correct. Any decent violin should sound okay in that register, though you need to have proper technique with it (which any player tackling the Sibelius should have), and there's occasionally a wolf that needs to be worked around.
It should be played sul G. If the sound cracks, then that is part of the musical expression like a singer's voice breaking. Music is not to be just beautiful sound, it is passion, excruciating sorrow, struggle, and every other emotion that a human being can feel. Listen to Schoenberg Phantasy. Do you think this should be played with pretty tone?
I of course agree with the posters here. Violin has such a rich repertoire - Why waste time watering down great pieces by not playing them how they need when we can pick so many other beautiful pieces to play that are within our grasp? Or better yet, we can use this as a reason to get really comfy in the upper registers of the G string.
By the way, it will be more comfortable to play on the G string if you gradually push the violin scroll more to your left as you play beyond 3rd pr 4th position.
It's one thing if you're a pro or if you're hoping to become one, then you've got to follow the rules and play pieces according to the markings. On the other hand if you're an amateur who has decided to play the 2nd movement of the Sibelius VC just for your own enjoyment, I don't see why you should feel compelled to set the whole piece aside just because you can't do one particular technical thing. What's more likely, though, is that if you can't do that technical thing, then there are probably a host of other things in the same piece that you also can't do. But that's not always true. I'm working on the Viotti No. 22 VC, and there are two bars in the cadenza that are musically gratuitous and will never sound good in my hands, and I mean not ever. So I just cut them -- without the slightest afterthought. Viotti didn't even write the cadenzas anyway. Some early 20th-century hack probably did.
In principal I agree with Paul: What you play for your own recreation in private you are allowed to play any way you like, on any string that suits you, at half tempo or double tempo, whatever fits your mood or taste or technical limits. Who are the rest of us to dictate what you do in private?
I agree with you Albrecht. But nobody that I would ever perform for is going to care whether I play something on the G string or the D string. Sometimes I take really long notes in two bows too. And by the way I agree about the choice of music. I work on chamber parts more than concertos. But I like salon pieces too.
The reason to study concertos instead of sonatas is because concertos are more effective in pushing technical development than sonatas. Furthermore a concerto can actually sound pretty good without accompaniment whereas sonatas generally sound like something is missing all the way through.
While I agree with Mary Ellen that the study of concertos pushes a violinist’s technical development, I just want to nuance her point and mention that there are certain pieces that do more harm than good if started before one is ready. The harm can come in different forms, whether it’s injury, or getting burned out from the piece for having to practice it so long, or never being ready or comfortable playing it in public. This concerto is one of those pieces that one plays when they’ve “arrived” as a violinist, or at least very close, with a fully-formed technical arsenal and a mature musical and artistic sense (Isn’t this the runner-up in the violin concerto tournament a few years back? That says it all about its lofty status in the repertoire).
Well yes, anyone who’s been reading my posts for any time might recognize that I am a huge advocate of not playing pieces that are too hard. It’s important to be ready for the repertoire. That being said, there are plenty of intermediate concertos from which to choose.
I took the Sibelius slow movement to an audition once, before my violin's belly had distorted to the point where the luthier persuaded me that no one could get it back to the right shape, and that it had to have a standard repair. They also assured me that the bass bar could not be removed without breaking it, so it had a new bass bar as well. The way it now sounds in that register on the G-string, I wouldn't dare take that movement to an audition (I wouldn't take either of the other two movements to an audition for a different reason, which I leave you to guess!).
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