Road to Tchaikovsky

October 20, 2017, 6:36 PM · I'm currently working on my "Road to Tchaikovsky", the road that most serious student find themselves developing to achieve their dreams, and have come across something odd.

I've heard from a few seniors in my orchestra that they played Brahms Concerto right before Tchaikovsky, and while Tchaikovsky is known to be the hardest concerto, a myth I do not believe with others such as Berg and Sibelius, I feel like Brahms would equally weigh in difficulty.

What are your opinions? Is Brahms easier than Tchaikovsky to the point where it is worth playing before? I would love to play both, but with my timeframe, I would not be able to finish both by senior year probably.

Replies (7)

October 20, 2017, 7:10 PM · I can't play any of them so I can only parrot what I've heard and that is that Brahms is harder than Tchaikovsky by more than just a little.
October 20, 2017, 7:51 PM · Brahms is more difficult than Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky lies better in the hand than Brahms, which is sometimes annoyingly pianistic (and has more difficult sequences of double and triple-stops). Both are endurance battles, but Brahms is worse than Tchaikovsky in that regard, I think -- the Brahms is more thickly orchestrated.
Edited: October 20, 2017, 8:12 PM · There are quite a few concertos harder than Tchaikovsky, certainly including the Brahms.
October 20, 2017, 9:36 PM · In the end, I would play your personal faves.
October 21, 2017, 12:16 AM · Tchaikovsky requires fast fingers and Brahms requires more strength. Some people are more likely to tense up playing the Brahms concerto. I think the Brahms is more difficult than Tchaikovsky.
Edited: October 21, 2017, 11:05 AM · Brahms is definitely more difficult than Tchaikovsky. In an interview, Sarah Chang was asked what she would say to Brahms if he were alive. Not missing a beat, she said she would ask him why he wrote such a difficult concerto.

As a practical matter, I have seen far more high school violinists who play Tchaikovsky than Brahms. For most average non-music-major high school students, both are out of reach, except the second movements.

Edited: October 21, 2017, 11:06 AM · Brahms also requires fast fingers. I don't know if "strength" is ever really a trait for violinists, though I suppose it could apply to right-hand power.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Yamaha YEV Series Violin
Yamaha YEV Series Violin

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

Metzler Violin Shop

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pluhar Violins

Potter Violins

Pro-Am Strings Ltd

Violin Lab

Violin Pros

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop