Do you have an impromtu "show off" piece?
When someone asks "can you play something on the violin?", what do you play? Do you have a regular "go to" piece that can be played on the spur of the moment, is short, shows off some skill, sounds musical and is impressive to them?
I get asked this a lot, whether it's in my home and we have company, a new student starts lessons, or I'm within proximity of a playable violin somewhere else.
I'll play something, but I don't have a regular "go to" piece. Just wondering if anyone else has one.
For me it's Sarasate's Romanza Andaluza, Czaradas or Meditation because I love those pieces and they're not too hard to pull out.
For me it's the Thais Meditation. For a show-off piece, I used to play the beginning of Zigeunerweisen, but I don't have that in my memory any longer.
Scale or arpeggios of zig
Kreisler pieces for violin are pretty good to show off(Liebeslied, Prealudium and Allegro, Tambourin Chinois). In my opinion the second part of Kreisler P&A is very good.
Fiocco Allegro. Seriously, if you can play that cleanly with good tone and good tempo, people are quite impressed.
Back in the day when I performed in church and with the local community orchestra my "Show Piece" was "Vocalize." Considering that my "audience" wasn't musically sophisticated - it wowed them.
For violin it has to be Czardas, everyone knows it and it’s very easy to put your own spin on it. Such a good fun piece to play.
My problem with czardas as many people have suggested, is that people love double stops. As a 15 year old playing double stops will blow the mind out of people, especially if they are fast.
Mine was/is Monte's Czardas too. First time I performed it in public was in high school as a wandering violinist at an evening dinner we gave for our class's parents (probably senior class) - class mates did all the food prep, serving and entertainment in the high school cafeteria. I remember that to avoid embarrassment I played the "artifical" (i.e., fingered) harmonics as solid notes way up high instead. I was surprised to find in my 80s that I still remember the whole thing. It is one of the very few things I have ever memorized on purpose (or at all).
That's funny about the false harmonics, Andrew! I should probably memorize Czardas, I've played it enough so I should just buckle down and do it. That could be my new pandemic goal- memorize Czardas so it could be my new impromptu "go to" piece.
I have 4:
Mendelssohn, On Wings of Song, arr. Joseph Achron for Violin & Piano
A long time ago, in the student days, if I was at a party with other violinists, I would ask to turn out all the lights, then put a lighted incense stick in my right hand, then play the Novacek Perpetual Motion. That little point of light would make hypnotic patterns in the air, including figure 8's.
Czardas and the Albeniz/Dushkin Tango. Not sure how well the latter comes over unaccompanied - there are some complex harmonic changes.
Drdla's Ivresse. I had to look up the translation but to save you the trouble it's the "state of a drunken person; intoxication produced by alcohol and causing disturbances in nerve adaptation and motor coordination". It's a lovely piece, not a send-up, best played "before" rather than "during".
Bach Chaconne, cuz it's the piece that I return to most (in practice) since I learned it in ~2013.
Monti's Czardas is always impressive and skilful, but I may also present the Hungarian Gypsy fiddle pieces I transcribed such as, The Canary; Palotas by Erkel, or Hora of the Kings. Not so skilful perhaps are the Celtic dance Tunes, but they always make people tap their toes.
hi Gene, great, but if people unexpectedly typically in an informal setting ask you "could you play something, please?" are you going to play the Chaconne??
I have to say I usually decline to play; I don't think anyone has ever resented that.