Handel Sonata No. 4 vs Vivaldi A minor
I saw at some conservatory's repertoire, Handel Sonata No. 4 in D Major to be played in the year/grade before Vivaldi A minor. Do you consider this Sonata to be easier than Vivaldi A minor?
I think it depends on the age and assets of the student. The Handel slow movements are more intricate -- and there are two of them! -- which is harder for kids who are learning this level repertoire very early. My kids played Vivaldi a minor at age 7 or 8, and I think those Handel slow movements would definitely have been more challenging for them. In terms of sheer number of fast notes, Vivaldi probably has more, but again they are generally a little bit more straightforward in terms of bowing and shifting. Moral of the story: for a younger student I would definitely do Vivaldi first. For an adult, it could go either way.
What Buri said - and that the Handel (particularly the first movement) is a stunning, complex, beautiful and haunting piece.
I agree. In my opinion, Handel 4th Sonata is harder to read in the beginning. It requires a more matured musicality through the entire, more extensive work and it has bigger passages of consecutive fast notes in the Allegros.
The Handel is a good piece to learn while learning the Vivaldi. It’s good to learn works by composers of the same era/style.
There is no doubt that the Handel is harder. Its expressive range is greater and there are plenty of fast notes (last movement!). Its key of D Major makes it easier than some of the other Handel sonatas, the instrument sounds wonderful. Also there are no double stops, in this regard the A-Major sonata is far harder.
All this bow-shaking baroque music in the Suzuki repertoire has the distinct purpose of developing facility. If you don't want your child or your student to become a "second movement soloist" (like me at age 17) then you need steady doses of sixteenth notes, and you need to insist that it's polished, and
I attended a recital by Mischa Elman in 1963 which he started by performing Handel's 4th Sonata; definitely not a Baroque interpretation.
@Andrew - baroque interpretation was known back then but perhaps not widely. Basically, my relative Wanda Landowska began to pioneer and popularize it in the 1920s and 1930s. One of her most famous statements about it occurred in the early 1940s when she was rehearsing a sonata with Casals. They had a lengthy discussion about whether a trill should start on the note above -- the baroque practice which she advocated -- or on the note itself which Casals advocated. Finally, when they could not agree, she said: "That's fine dear. You play it your way, and I will play it Bach's way."
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