Pieces for piano and violin

January 3, 2021, 6:54 PM · Hello everyone,
I am looking for a piece for piano and violin where the two instruments are perhaps more equal unlike the majority of violin repertoire where the pianist repeats the same 5 chords. Probably the first thing to come to mind are the Beethoven or Brahms sonatas or even the Franck one, however I want something that not a lot of people know or have heard of, something underrated and ,for the love of god, tonal. After giving it some thought, the majority of such repertoire consist of sonatas so maybe what Im looking for is a piano piece transcription... Would love to hear your thoughts!
Stay safe!

Replies (14)

January 3, 2021, 6:57 PM · Maybe something from the 2 suites of George Perlman? They are available in a book called Hebrew Melodies. Lawrence Golan recorded them. The disc/download is called Indian Summer: The Works of George Perlman.
Edited: January 4, 2021, 11:02 AM · I would not dismiss sonatas so quickly. There are some of Beethoven's that nobody but violinists will recognize (they might guess the composer but they won't know the pieces). In fact the Spring and the Kreutzer are the only ones that the majority of concertgoers will recognize. There is the A-Major sonata by Mozart, very nicely balanced, very attractive and not often performed.

Even the Franck is not performed as often these days as during my youth when it was almost difficult to find a recital without the Franck sonata on the program.

Then there are second tier 19th century composers who wrote sonatas that would fit your bill with many good works among them: Joachim Raff, Rheinberger, Gernsheim, Kiel, Benjamin Godard, Louise Farrenc and others.

The first five have violin sonatas @IMSLP, check them out. Farrenc's two nice sonatas are not there and the sheet music from Hildegard Publishing is insanely expensive unfortunately.

Edited: January 4, 2021, 1:28 PM · Slightly confused by the opening post. The vast majority of sonatas are very much duos, if anything with the piano taking a greater share of responsibility than the violin. (I wrote a comment in a Beethoven thread about the roles of the two instruments about a week ago). Why disregarding sonatas? If you want something underrated, try some Andreas Romberg.
January 4, 2021, 12:50 PM · The Lekeu Sonata is absolutely beautiful and very difficult for both piano and violin.
Edited: January 4, 2021, 3:16 PM · +1 for the Lekeu.

You can hear the influence of pere Franck in terms of the cyclical structure and perhaps in some of the harmonies and melodies, but it unfolds more organically to my ears than the Franck. There are some great renditions - Ferras & Grumiaux are both exquisite, among others. My favorite, however, is Philippe Hirschhorn:

Plus, his death at 24 from eating sorbet contaminated with Typhoid is like an absurd injustice of cosmic proportions. Really promising composer.

January 4, 2021, 3:55 PM · If you like the Brahms sonatas and are looking for something lesser known, you'll also like the violin sonata by Amanda Maier.

Grieg is not obscure, but I think his violin sonatas tend to be underplayed because he is so often thought of as a piano composer.

January 4, 2021, 6:43 PM · I seem to have overlooked the .. Well the sonata genre in general, and I am grateful for having my eyes opened towards the many ( many many many) options it has to offer and also thank you to everyone for your suggestions. I was not left disappointed by them.
Edited: January 4, 2021, 8:21 PM · I don't think the Bach violin and keyboard sonatas are any easier for the keyboard than for the violin. Then there's the Schumann Märchenbilder (He published them for either violin or viola. Don't forget metronome 84 for 1st movement and quaver=120 for 3rd. Fairytales are 1 Rapunzel, 2 Unspecified in Schumann's journals, but probably Rapunzel as well, 3 Rumpelstiltskin, and 4 Sleeping Beauty). And the Schubert Sonatinas (and a sonatina is not a sonata, so OP's wish is granted!). Perhaps Elgar's Six Easy Pieces is as difficult for the piano as for the violin? Then there are arrangements, e.g., I don't think the piano part of Gounod's Ave Maria is particularly easy compared with the violin part (though the pianist might already have it under his/her belt). AND I don't think The Brigands' Orgy (Berlioz-Liszt) is appreciably easier for the piano than for the viola.
Edited: January 5, 2021, 2:24 PM · Have a look at the Dvorak sonatina for violin and piano (opus 100). Great music. But anyway, like you have now realized, your opening statement was very much false :-)
Edited: January 5, 2021, 12:06 PM · The Tchaikovsky salon pieces are very nice for both violin and piano. Waltz-Scherzo, Melancholic Serenade, Melodie, etc. Oistrakh recorded them all.
January 5, 2021, 12:18 PM · Thanks for sharing the Lekeu Sonata. I've never heard it and it is beautiful.
January 5, 2021, 12:25 PM · You’re welcome. I played it on a faculty recital several years ago.
Edited: January 5, 2021, 8:20 PM · If you like Lekeu, Debussy and Faure sonatas are not so far removed. Not especially obscure, of course.

For transcriptions, Milstein did a nice Chopin Nocturne. If you check YouTube for Eugene Ysaye's performances, there is a lovely version of the Wagner Preislied from Meistersinger.

One gem from the Heifetz discography is An Einsammer Quelle No 2 Stimmungsbilder, Op 9, by Strauss. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItufMu9PLDw

Several other Heifetz transcriptions don't let the pianist nap. The Gershwin preludes, for example, have a bit of work for everyone.

January 6, 2021, 2:39 AM · There are two sonatas by Carl Nielsen - definitely not well known. I have heard them but only once or twice some time ago, so I can't comment on difficulty, quality etc. Also one in E minor (tonal!) by Hindemith, which is not particularly difficult and is quite short. The Dvorak Sonata in F is less well known than the sonatina. And one by Janacek.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases


Violinist.com Business Directory
Violinist.com Business Directory

Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning
Violinist.com Guide to Online Learning

ARIA International Summer Academy

Meadowmount School of Music

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases



Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins


Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin



Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine