First Concerto - what was yours?

Edited: January 14, 2021, 11:58 AM · At my lesson yesterday, my teacher said it's time to start work on a full concerto as a solo. It will be Rieding's Concerto in B Minor, all movements and we're using the IMSLP version. I do like this piece & we've been working on the 1st movement for a bit. Very happy about this, as I've been playing/practicing in isolation for the past 10 months it's a nice milestone and gives me something positive on which to focus.

I am curious how many of you remember your first full concerto, and what was it?

Replies (48)

January 14, 2021, 12:14 PM · For me, Telemann concerto (viola). I started viola at age 13 and played this about 4 months later. I had played other non-string instruments previously, so I was able to advance rapidly.

My kids did Suzuki violin, so they both first played the three Seitz concerto movements in Book 4. The first full concerto they played would be Vivaldi a minor. I think they were both age 7-8. The funniest thing was that for my oldest one, he could play a full concerto, but he still hadn't figured out how to tie his shoes or ride a bike!

January 14, 2021, 12:59 PM · Vivaldi A Minor. I wasn't a Suzuki kid, and I didn't do any Seitz. My teacher assigned me mostly salon pieces and arrangements for my early "repertoire" pieces.
January 14, 2021, 1:05 PM · Violin - Vivaldi A Minor
Viola - Telemann - this is a firm favourite and would play it all day!
January 14, 2021, 1:11 PM · My first violin concerto was (probably) Bach Double, then Mozart 3, then Mozart 5, then Bach A minor, then Mendelssohn, then Beethoven. I no longer had a violin teacher so I played the music that was in the house.
About the same time I started the Mendelssohn my cello teacher started me on the Haydn D major concerto (now considered his 2nd cello concerto - when I studied it the 1st Haydn cello concerto [C major] had not yet been rediscovered.
January 14, 2021, 1:32 PM · Rieding b minor was my first.
Edited: January 14, 2021, 3:39 PM · Seitz G Major.
Then I played the 3rd movement of Rieding B minor, I can't remember if I actually played the 1st movement or just heard it many times. Entering my teens I played Vivaldi G minor, then Bach E Major. Those were the childhood concertos.
January 14, 2021, 3:06 PM · Catherine, like you, I am an adult returner. My first complete concerto was the Vivaldi G minor. It was the first piece my teacher assigned when I started lessons with him almost two years ago.
Edited: January 14, 2021, 3:59 PM · I was in the middle of the Seitz Concerto in D - Suzuki 4 (he uses Suz. for rep progression) - when my teacher gave me both the Rieding Concertino and 1st movement of Reiding Concerto in B Minor and we stepped away from Suzuki for now. I had thought we would return to Seitz after the 1st movement of the Concerto in B Minor, but I'm glad he decided to have me focus on the entire piece.

The Concertino is rather more challenging, so far, than the Concerto - but I like both of them. I've only found one YouTube recording for the entire Concerto - but thankfully she is obviously a professional and it's beautifully done.

Edited: January 14, 2021, 4:07 PM · Did you mean with video? Because there's Perlman's recording, but audio only.

Edited: January 14, 2021, 4:39 PM · Yes, but the sound quality of his recording isn't as good. Not Perlman's fault, of course. I had forgotten about his recording when I posted the above comment.

January 14, 2021, 6:44 PM · I love the lyrical quality of the Rieding B minor.
January 14, 2021, 11:09 PM · Viotti 23 - a charming work by a charming composer, and far more manageable than his A minor (22nd concerto).
Edited: January 15, 2021, 2:16 AM · The Reiding concerto in b minor was my first. I felt very adult, as my teacher handed it to me at the end of my first workbook. ( I’m an almost geriatric re-beginner)
The next one was by janshinov, (yanshinov on IMLSP) who I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere. The 3 Rd one was the Seitz student concerto (number 2 I think ) which brought me crashing back to earth, as it has a picture of a couple of 8 year olds on the cover.
January 15, 2021, 3:42 AM · One of the gazillion Telemann concertos in G major :-)
Edited: January 15, 2021, 4:58 AM · Vivaldi A minor violin concerto. Before switching to viola I also learned the Vivaldi G minor and the Bach A minor, and the first movement of the Haydn G major. I don't think I really learned any of them well -- I was completely self-taught at the time. (Let's put it this way: 12 or 13 years later, having played viola exclusively and not opened my violin case for at least four years, I was able to go back to violin and sight-read them better than I had ever played them when I first learned them.)

Like most other violists, my first viola concerto was the Telemann.

January 15, 2021, 9:33 AM · Another "vote" for Vivaldi a-minor. Strictly speaking only movements 1 and 3; the second I played for myself without teacher-input. I discovered then that the slow movement is in fact the best of the three; especially if it is played with the original orchestration (no cello/bass, no harpsichord). The first is ok IMO but Vivaldi did often better; the last is more convincing if played fast enough (and now, that I have seen more Vivaldi--mostly sonatas--I am convinced that he meant it literally when he chose "presto" as the tempo marking).
January 15, 2021, 11:09 AM · Bach A minor
January 15, 2021, 12:36 PM · Vivaldi A Minor.....Surprised?
January 15, 2021, 1:52 PM · Because I am a Suzuki kid, I played all 3 mvts of Vivaldi A Minor - Nachez version in a youth concert. To this day, Vivaldi A Minor remains one of my favorite concerto to play, but I play a non-Nachez version these days.
January 15, 2021, 2:07 PM · Mendelssohn, - preceded by etudes, Handel Sonatas, and the Bach double cnct. which I don't count as a "real" concerto.
Edited: January 15, 2021, 4:15 PM · The Rieding is fine as a first "concerto", if you want to name it such. The Portnoff Nr.13 Concertino is about the same level and also very satisfying, if something would be out for an alternative.
As for the first "real" concertos, I'm in good company: Vivaldi A minor and Bach double on violin, the irresistable Telemann and the Doemming C major on viola.
January 15, 2021, 5:09 PM · Seitz G Major (#2), followed by Seitz D Major (#4), followed by Seitz G minor (#3). All three movements of all three.
January 15, 2021, 6:52 PM · Nuuska, curious why you put concerto in quotation marks for the R. Concerto in B Minor. Is it because there are only 3 rather than 4 movements? Just wondering. It's certainly the longest my teacher has had my tackle, and I like it.

I've played the 3 Seitz in Suz 4, but of course it's only 1 movement of each.

January 15, 2021, 7:35 PM · Because it's easy :p
Concertos have 3 movements.
January 15, 2021, 7:41 PM · Haydn A Major.
Edited: January 15, 2021, 8:32 PM · Thanks David, I thought concertos usually had 4, my mistake :) Of course it's very easy for most everyone else here, for sure, and it will never be on a professional concert program. However it represents several milestones for me. My teacher also has me working on the Rieding Concertino in A Minor, that's...harder. Also fun, but more difficult (at my level).
January 15, 2021, 8:36 PM · Catherine, enjoy learning your concerto. I like listening to that piece, and I hope it is something you won't tire playing.
Edited: January 15, 2021, 9:26 PM · I am Ben, and I'm also enjoying hearing about other's experiences with thier first. Being stuck at home and working from home during this pandemic I try and focus on all the positive things I can.
Edited: January 15, 2021, 9:22 PM · Concertos usually have three, but the earliest ones typically had four (slow-fast-slow-fast). The convention changed around the turn of the 18th century.

The Telemann viola concerto is probably the most frequently played four-movement concerto in the old form. My orchestra also once played a Handel organ concerto that was in four movements.

January 15, 2021, 9:25 PM · As for Nuuska's quotation marks, it's probably because that Rieding concerto was composed expressly as a pedagogical piece -- the same is true of the ones by Seitz.
Edited: January 16, 2021, 2:22 AM · Andrew is right. Rieding, Seitz, Portnoff and others wrote these pieces explicitely as pedagogical pieces. These "Student concertos" are a genre on their own and were never meant for the concert hall, but for student studio recitals or summer camps and the like. The higher do I praise their composers, since they put a lot of effort into creating wonderful pieces of enjoyable and motivating music that's easily accessible right from the beginning, and sometimes (as in the case of Rieding) several concertos and concertinos in a graded repertoire for advancing skill levels.
I really love the Rieding concertos and believe he must have been a wonderful paedagoge and obviously really loved teaching. Don't forget about his beautiful "Air Varié" which is something I still enjoy playing from time to time.
Edited: January 16, 2021, 7:49 AM · Nuuska and Andrew - thanks for the explanation. I didn't think Nuuska was being a snob because it's easy :-) I was just perplexed by the quotations.

Now that I know where the Rieding pieces came from, I like it even better than I did. As someone observed above, the Concerto in B Minor is just so lyrical. Time will tell how long it will take me to get all 6 pages "performance ready". My teacher doesn't use etudes or studies, so everything is through the context of the piece we're currently working. Regardless, I really like it and that helps. Indeed that's why he decided to go beyond the 1st movement to the entire piece.

Edited: January 16, 2021, 1:25 PM · The Tchaikosvky, lol! I was a kid and my dad was so excited about me playing the violin he brought the concerto home. He thought it would be fun if I surprised my teacher and played it for her. I had only been playing a couple years, and was barely able to read music. I remember my first impression of it was "that's a whole bunch of ledger lines!" I slowly played only the notes I knew how to read, slaughtered it horribly, and never told my teacher. That probabably doesn't count as my first concerto, but makes for a fun story to tell.

Other than that, it was the Seitz Concerto movements then Vivaldi A minor complete concerto.

Edited: January 16, 2021, 11:55 AM · I don't think I did one with my father before the Bach A minor, unless it was just the slow movement of the Tchaik for a demonstration at my primary school, which Miss Godfrey wold not let me play (It was mainly my musicianship that was not up to it). I then went on to the E major and Mozart 4(!), before he passed me on to his former teacher (Winifred Copperwheat): Vivaldi G-minor!
I didn't touch Mozart 4 again until after my retirement from work. I think I was just about ready then!
January 16, 2021, 2:07 PM · Rebecca that's a fun story!
January 16, 2021, 8:15 PM · Vivaldi A minor, followed by Accolay, then Mozart 5. This was all in pre-Suzuki era.

January 18, 2021, 1:09 AM · Mine was the Mozart A major and then the Bruch G minor, 45 to 50 years ago now, My hands don't work as well nowadays.
Edited: January 18, 2021, 9:18 AM · @Susan Agrawi, I started viola at 14yo but only played the Telemann at 16!
But like you I benefited from previous musical background: 5 years of piano (left hand agility and a sense of harmony) plus Anglican hymns, psalms, anthems and responses (intonation, polyphony and harmony), for which I am ever grateful.
January 22, 2021, 7:39 AM · My study plan is directing me towards Vivaldi's Autumn, but I will probably buy a copy of the Rieding before then.
Edited: January 22, 2021, 9:38 AM · My first concerto was Mozart violin concerto in G major (Mozart 3).

It was a time long before the Internet existed and before CDs and my parents didn't have a record player, just a radio. So the chances of being able to listen to a piece before playing it were small, but when I was a teenager I got my own tape recorder, reel to reel tape, and the G major concerto happened to be broadcasted in the radio so I connected my tape recorder to the radio and recorded the piece. Thus I could actually listen to the music whenever I wanted.

Edited: January 22, 2021, 10:06 AM · Gordon - no need to buy the Rieding when it's free on IMSLP:

Concerto in B Minor PDF link

January 22, 2021, 6:36 PM · Vivaldi's Autumn is quite a jump from the Reiding B Minor.
January 23, 2021, 9:12 AM · Paul, this is the point of Gordon's joke.
Edited: January 23, 2021, 1:06 PM · I wasn't sure if it was a joke or not :-) I provided the download link to IMSLP just in case anyone wanted it - though I'm sure most of the members here are well past the Rieding...
January 24, 2021, 9:51 AM · A propos IMSLP: You will find there are also 3 "Schülerkonzerte" by Julius Röntgen (Dutch composer of all sorts of music). Looking at them I'd judge them to be a bit harder than Rieding or Seitz though they don't seem to exceed the third position.

I mention these because Röntgen's music is generally fun and interesting, so these concertos might be good choices for some people.

January 24, 2021, 10:10 AM · Catherine, Whenever I complete working on a piece and it becomes part of my repertoire I buy an edition that suits me. There are several reasons to do this, the professional appearance and convenience of a bound edition, support of the publisher and music store among them.
January 24, 2021, 6:17 PM · Good point Ann, and I'm sure I'll do this once I get beyond student pieces :)

Albrecht, thanks for the suggestion. I'm comfortable in 3rd, my teacher has introduced me to 4th position but have yet to do much there yet.

January 24, 2021, 7:07 PM · Catherine, I'm just a beginner but I buy the student pieces too like the Rieding B minor and Vivaldi G major. My neighbors like to hear them in my patio recitals like I gave last summer. There are also some great things that are not available elsewhere such as the works of George Perlman, who is a favorite of mine. He wrote some great stuff. Some of his pieces are out of print but an artist who has recorded his entire works kindly sent me pdf files that he had, even the piano parts.

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