Suggestions for solo piece with small orchestra

November 20, 2017, 5:58 AM · A subsection of our university orchestra sometimes do projects playing a mix of baroque and modern music for smaller orchestra. Sometimes strings only, sometimes with winds if required by the repertoire.
I have been offered the opportunity to play a solo piece for the next project in spring.
I am looking for suggestions for this. It should not be a whole concerto but rather a shorter (5-10 minutes) piece and either baroque or 20th century. And suitable to play with a small orchestra, possibly strings only. Preferably for violin, but suggestions for viola are also appreciated.

Replies (13)

Edited: November 20, 2017, 7:05 AM · Saint-Saëns lived and worked into the 20th century, although he composed his 1st violin concerto in the 19th. It's a wonderful, short piece. This recording has it in around 11 minutes: Saint-Saëns: Violin Concertos Nos.1 & 3; Havanaise; Introduction & Rondo capriccioso Kyung Wha Chung, OSM
November 20, 2017, 7:05 AM · Have you considered a movement of either of the two Bach concertos for violin? A minor is the more commonly played student concerto; E major is longer, harder, and in my opinion more beautiful.

Loads of Vivaldi options also.

November 20, 2017, 10:46 AM · I think Bo is an advanced player (pro level?), but that shouldn't dissuade him from playing Bach. I like Mary Ellen's idea of the Bach E major. That one sounds so good when it's played well. The harpsichord part you can do on an electronic keyboard.
November 20, 2017, 11:47 AM · I wasn't thinking of music for a student, I was thinking of music that sounds good with a string orchestra. There's nothing wrong with playing Bach; I played the E major with a chamber orchestra as a professional.
November 20, 2017, 1:28 PM · Schubert Rondo? Violin and strings.
November 20, 2017, 1:33 PM · For viola: Hindemith Trauermusik?
November 20, 2017, 2:12 PM · For viola, the Zelter concerto is delightful. Any one of the three movements can stand by itself.
November 20, 2017, 3:15 PM · Both Mozart 3 and 4 have arrangements for violin and strings on IMSLP. The Beethoven Romances could probably have string arrangements as well.
November 20, 2017, 3:38 PM · Thank you for the suggestions. I love playing the Beethoven Romances, but I am afraid that they will not be considered the right period for this band. And the same goes for Schubert and Mozart.
The Hindemith did occur to me - I actually printed the viola part yesterday :)
I just listened to the Zelter concerto - thank you for that suggestion, Andrew. It is indeed delightful. I have never heard it before, but it might fill the bill - the conductor likes to include relatively unknown music.
November 21, 2017, 12:44 AM · For violin:
Shostakovich Violin Sonata Op. 134 (pick any movement, my personal favorite is the second) with accompaniment orchestrated by Michail Zinman

For viola:
Howells Elegy for Solo Viola, String Quartet, and Chamber Orchestra (organ optional)

November 22, 2017, 8:16 PM · Bloch Suite Hebraique it comes with parts for both violin and viola but I have never played the violin part. The first movement can stand by itself. Not sure what the orchestral instrumentation is though. Might have more instruments than you desire.

Look at pieces by Michael Kimber. Google his name for his website. I think there are some for violin. Definitely several possibilities for viola. His concertino is fun and has fun orchestra parts too and is for string orchstra. Fantasia Hispana is a fun piece also. He has some others also.

Edited: December 16, 2017, 12:30 AM · Romanza Andaluz, Op. 22 by Pablo de Sarasate. I have an arrangement for solo violin and string orchestra.
December 16, 2017, 1:19 AM · Rachmaninov's Vocalize (E minor). I have versions for both solo violin with string orchestra and for solo violin with chamber orchestra (2 fl., ob., Eng. hn., 2 Clar. in A, 2 Bssn., 2 Fr. Hn., Solo Violin, Strings).

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