Viola/violin rep

Edited: April 9, 2021, 11:15 AM · Hey all,
So a while ago, my music theory teacher gave me a long list of pieces that he said every (potential) music student should know somewhat well. But he was coming from it as a pianist. I've been thinking of adapting for my own, but changing it of course to violin/viola as thats what I play and know. So my question is: what pieces do you think a violin/viola player should know? The essential pieces I guess.


Replies (14)

Edited: April 9, 2021, 12:30 PM · So I'm not responding yet because I don't have an hour free.
April 9, 2021, 1:04 PM · Goodness me, what pieces shouldn't you know! The Dorothy Delay list is a good place to start I reckon...
April 9, 2021, 4:12 PM · For violin: at least Mendelssohn E minor and Mozart 3 in G major. A violinist not knowing these is like a Christian that doesn’t know of Jesus! By know do you mean play?
April 9, 2021, 4:17 PM · See I'm unsure. He wasn't clear, but I think its in ones aural repitory listened to
April 9, 2021, 4:26 PM · For violin: Bach Sonatas and Partitas, Paganini Caprices
For viola: Bach cello suites

For knowing major repertoire, it could be worth scouting out on Youtube the popular concertos for violin. Typically they are Mozart, Mendelssohn, Bruch, Tchaikovsky.

Sonata repertoire is also good to know: Beethoven's Spring for example, that is a staple.

There are so many different directions you could go in with this.

April 9, 2021, 4:32 PM · I'm looking for as many as possible aha
Edited: April 9, 2021, 7:18 PM · Some essential viola pieces... this is what came to mind in 10 minutes, and I have probably missed a number of essentials. Listed in roughly chronological order, though I'm not entirely sure of dates off the top of my head.

This list could get MUCH longer if I were to include chamber music other than viola/piano.


Bach, Cello Suites
Reger, Suites for unaccompanied viola
Hindemith, unaccompanied sonatas (especially Op. 25)

Viola and Piano:

Schubert, Arpeggione Sonata
Mendelssohn, Sonata
Schumann, Märchenbilder
Glinka, Sonata
Vieuxtemps, Sonata
Brahms, Clarinet (Viola) Sonatas
Glazunov, Elegie
Bloch, Suite Hebraique
Bloch, Suite for Viola and Piano
Clarke, Sonata
Clarke, Passacaglia on an Old English Tune
Clarke, Morpheus
Shostakovich, Sonata

Viola and Orchestra:

Telemann, Concerto
C. Stamitz, Concerto in D major
Hoffmeister, Concerto
Mozart, Sinfonia Concertante
Berlioz, Harold in Italy
Bruch, Romanze
Bruch, Double Concerto
Casadesus, "Handel" and "J.C. Bach" concertos
Enescu, Concertpiece
Forsyth, Concerto
Walton, Concerto
Bartok, Concerto
Hindemith, Der Schwanendreher

Edited: April 9, 2021, 7:45 PM · "I'm looking for as many as possible aha"

Here are all the concertos for violin and orchestra known to humankind (link below). I was going to copy them all over here, but when I copied it into Microsoft Word it came to 22 single-spaced pages, and I grew concerned for the thumbs of those who scroll these threads on their phones.

The only viola concerto that is ever performed with orchestra is the Walton Concerto, like 99% of the time. So if you're going to be a concertizing violist, I recommend you start with that one, and once you have learnt it, you can stop and switch your efforts to carpentry or plumbing and make a living.

April 9, 2021, 7:46 PM · Andrew, would you say Hoffmeister B-flat or D major js better to know? I think if and when I get students, I'd prefer the B flat
Edited: April 9, 2021, 7:48 PM · And just to clarify, on my teachers list its got every manner of things on it. Symphonies, chamber music, concertos etc.
Edited: April 9, 2021, 8:40 PM · Paul: Walton may be the most performed viola concerto, but according to the League of American Orchestras, Harold in Italy is performed twice as often as the Walton concerto in the US and Canada, and the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante is performed more frequently than Harold. Bartok gets almost as many performances as Walton; Telemann, Stamitz, and the Bruch Romanze get noticeable numbers of performances as well.
Edited: April 9, 2021, 8:40 PM · As for Hoffmeister viola concertos, D major is far more famous. Let's put it this way: I only learned about the existence of the B-flat major concerto through your comment! I keep hearing people say "Hoffmeister concerto" without any further identifier, and it only ever seems to refer to the D major one.
April 11, 2021, 10:29 AM · Andrew that is good to know. Maybe there is hope after all!
April 11, 2021, 11:06 AM · Andrew, here in the UK, from what I can tell, Walton and Bartók are peformed most. I've seen Mozart's SC live at a concert once. I've never seen Stamitz, Hoffmeister or Telemann programmed here

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