Violin and Viola
What pieces do you recommend for violin and viola that are intermediate to advanced difficulty?
Michael Haydn Duets for Violin and Viola. (Mozart completed the set of 6 with two of his own as MH had become an alcoholic and was unable to complete the set).
The Handel-Halvorsen duo has some advanced moments, some more intermediate.
I would second the Michael Haydn suggestion. I know of some by Spohr and Robert Fuchs, but I am unsure of their difficulty
The violin duets I have played by Spohr (who incidentally invented the chinrest) are very hard. I don't know the violin/viola duets though.
I can imagine they would be haha. His vln/vla duo is op 13 if you wanna check it out. Ignaz Pleyel has 2 sets of duos as well (1 set of 3, another of 6). Again, however, I'm unsure of the difficulty of them
Sibelius also has a nice little piece for vln/vla in C major. It was used as a teaching tool by him I believe
There's a set of Carl Stamitz duos whose difficulty I would rate at upper intermediate to lower advanced.
I think Janine Jansen recorded the 2- and 3-part Inventions of Bach. Not sure if there is a good published source for that, or if she converted the left hand to viola clef herself.
Stepehn there are IMC editions of Bach's 2 & 3 part inventions. At least there is for the 2 part as I own it aha
Given how much I trust IMC, might be worth getting a look at the Baerenreiter or Henle edition of the keyboard part, just to be sure you don't want to make changes.
Having a look through my sheet music collection, Fuchs also has 2 terzets (op.61) for 2 violins and viola. Havibg a look through the parts, I'd say its upper intermediate-low advanced. Same goes for his op 60, which is 12 duos for vln/vla which I have also just found
Joseph Haydn also.
The 2 part Bach Inventions are available on IMSLP arranged for violin-viola as are a good number of other Bach works. Do a search for "violin, viola arr)
Spohr's op. 13 is a very nice piece. It is however full of double stops in both instruments--though I would judge it to be a little less difficult technically than most of his duos for 2 violins.
For those who like the Passacaglia by Handel-Halvorsen, its sister work, the Sarabande con Variazioni in D minor by Handel-Halvorsen, might also be worth a try. It's also available on IMSLP.
3 Madrigals by Martinu, originally intended for Josef and Lillian Fuchs. I had that one ready to go for a concert a year ago, then the virus shut-down hit.
Joel, I was under the impression the madrigals were really difficult? I may be wrong though
The Martinu Madrigals are not easy, but if I can play the viola part, they could not be that difficult. The hardest part for me was all the double-stops with added trills, in the second movement;-tedious and hard to tune. Page turns are a problem.
It may be possible to play a lot of baroque duos (like Bach double concerto), and since the fingerboard was shorter back then, it probably won't exceed the viola's range.
The 2nd part the two Bach doubles are playable on viola.
If you have not played Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante you are in for a treat. It does have a piano or orchestral accompaniment. Although the violin and viola parts sound of equal difficulty, the viola part is actually easier because it requires less shifting. Being in Eb Major it is relly the best key for viola playing (in my opinion) but some people retune the viola to play scordatura in a different key - for me and my viola that makes no sense. I've only ever played the viola solo part with a violinist and piano accompaniment but our chamber orchestra was rehearsing it when COVID-19 struck last year (I was not one of the soloists for that, just one of the tutti 1st violinists.
Ya know, I was just thinking about how the Erbarme Dich, from Bach's St. Matthew's Passion could be done completely straightforwardly between keyboard, violin and viola (or two violins, but the timbre might be nice). The viola could play the alto part and you wouldn't need any transcription at all.
I have found it easy to read the gamba duo facsimiles of Couperin, Sainte-Colombe etc on violin and viola. Often the facsimiles have alto clef and bass clef, which being a fifth apart, can be read directly as treble and alto clefs, only needing new key signatures.
If you are looking at baroque violin-duets and thinking of playing them on violin-and-viola, note that sometimes the