Kreutzer sonata - fingerings for opening

January 7, 2021, 5:28 AM · So what fingerings do people use for the first bar of the Kreutzer sonata? Is a shift or extension better for the third crotchet?

Replies (5)

Edited: January 7, 2021, 6:24 AM · Personally I would recommend neither - try shifting on the second beat to F# 1 D 2,(the F# being a backwards extension), then the third beat can be 2 4 in second position. Backwards extensions of 1 can be very useful and easier than extending 4 up.

Of course there are many other solutions. Milstein does 2 4 (fourth position with a harmonic on the 4) on the second beat then 1 3 on the third beat. The thread in common is that you want to avoid consecutive fingers that have to quickly jump between strings.

January 7, 2021, 7:00 AM · using the second finger D so that the D can connect the second and third beat is how it is probably (I think) taught all around the world. however that Milstein trick is wonderful (if you are Milstein :-) John you write there are many more solutions, what would be another one? I am just an amateur and will never really play this piece.
January 7, 2021, 7:42 AM · Jean, I'm afraid you called me out. Yes, there are other solutions, but not good ones :)

I do enjoy Milstein's fingering though. The color change of the lower strings on the second beat enhances the dynamic change. It's an example of old school high risk high reward!

January 7, 2021, 10:24 AM · "So What" is a tune by Miles Davis.
Edited: January 8, 2021, 3:06 AM · I haven’t performed Kreutzer, so this is guesswork. But I do like the notion of playing the semitone with the second finger in the first two chords. It is the first hint of the motif that runs through the whole movement. Then holding the D with second for the third chord, in second position. A teacher in college had learned it that way with Igor Oistrakh and was a convincing advocate.

I found the video of Milstein’s last concert, which did feature the other way— and was not too enchanted, although it was perhaps easier to project more vigorously. Hard to say. Between his age and some close miking, the effect was a bit coarser than I would have thought. Shall look for an earlier recording.


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