Comparative Viola Milestones
So there is always a lot of chatter about the big violin milestones:
Vivaldi A, Bach Double, Accolay, Lalo, Bruch, etc.
What would be 'equivalent' viola pieces that would lead to a similar projection, ending in a piece of similar difficulty to the Bruch concerto.
It's easy enough to find graded lists, but I haven't successfully found a comparison between the two, which I think would be helpful for the violists on this site since everything is measured in violin milestones. It's great for those who gained their technical chops going up the violin ladder, but in this day and age some people actually start as violists (gasp!)!
I do not know about concertos, but "The Study of the Viola" , a collection of 100 original etudes from the 19th Century, selected and edited by Ulrich Druner (3 books) seems to be a very solid comparative study. The editor himself compared each book
Thanks for that Rocky, I'd not heard of it. That seems like something that would be nice to add to my 'big binder of things'.
@Michael, thanks for the post. There is so little for viola on this site and I was starting to get lonely.
Don't worry Francesca, we're here, just hiding in plain sight ;)
I wonder how many violinists have named one of their children "Rodolphe" after the author of the Kruetzer studies. Two daughters here, so I didn't have the opportunity ...
My best stab at this:
Okay now that someone has take a stab at it, maybe we can spend the next couple of days ripping that to shreds for extremely small reasons.
Thank you very much for your input Ingrid, that is exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for.
I view of the great variety of instruments and physiques, I doubt if violists have "extremely small reasons"!
It's a pity we are missing out on 19th century blockbusters, but the Forsyth and Ewen concertos are decent sustitutes.
Did you mean Bowen rather than Ewen, Adrian?
Is the advanced solo viola literature really performed that much outside of conservatories? My knowledge of the viola literature is pretty poor but I've heard of the Walton Concerto, so that must be a pretty famous one. That's performed at the BBC Proms maybe once every five years or so? At this year's Proms there were performances of violin concertos by Sibelius, Lalo (SE), Shostakovich (1), Mendelssohn, Prokofiev (1), Stravinsky, Brahms, Dvorák, and Berg. As far as I can see, no viola concertos whatsoever.
Stravinsky? Really? Interesting.
Yeah apparently Leila Josefowicz played it. I'd have liked to see that.
According to my teacher (who read this thread) there is a good edition of the Accolay for viola available, also.
The Stravinsky concerto is a late Stravinsky piece. But it has much energy, and the 3rd movement is quite beautiful, even though the musical language is pretty hard to understand.
Neil, Forsyth, Ewen,
Roman, this is a thread about viola milestones, so perhaps we should keep the topic focused on that. If you google "violin graded repertoire list" into Google you will find what you need at credible sources.
Michael, There are Viola transcriptions of Accolay, Vivaldi a-minor (in d-minor), Mozart 3, and Mendelssohn, and probably others. As a teacher I wouldn't assign any of these to a viola player unless the student requested them (I do occasionally teach the Vivaldi because it is in Suzuki Viola book 4). There are enough concertos written for viola to keep anyone busy for quite a few years of study (including many I didn't include in my initial list: Rozsa, Larsson Concertino, J.A. Benda, Zelter, etc...) For shorter pieces transcriptions are fine, but for a whole concerto?
Ingrid, Thanks for adding the Zelter concerto - I have found it absolutely delightful.
Ingrid, I think it was mentioned because the thread and not an intention to teach.
Hey great resource you started Michael!
I'm not familiar with Alessandro Rolla. You've given me something to listen to at the gym today, thanks!
His main claim to fame is being Paganini's first teacher after his father, but he was a well known performer and composer in his time. He was so impressed with the boy Paganini's abilities he encouraged the young prodigy to study composition... or something like that. Enjoy!
It's interesting that the viola is so often compared to the violin rather than say the cello . I think this is where the problem lies . So many viola concerti seem to be violin concerti knocked down a fifth wonderful though it is I would say that the Walton falls into this category.The wonderful thing is that viola repertoire still represents an amazing challenge for composers who need vast stores of ability and imagination to do the viola justice . I know that Harold in Italy is not strictly speaking a concerti , but Hector was going in the right direction !
I think the main reason why the viola is compared to the violin more than anything else in the world is due to its similarity in appearance and playing technique.
I'll go along with appearance !
Adrian Heath: "Neil, Forsyth, Ewen, and Bowen!"
My vote for major milestones- The Reger Viola Suites and or Bach cello suite #6 and bach violin sonatas and partitas on viola
Also Telemann violin fantasies on viola. I'm on a polyphonic kick lately. Painfull, but good intonation and bowing workouts.
Somewhere in my library I have some music which I purchased from a (then) new Czech publishing house in the mid-1970s of 12 Fantasias for Solo Viola (unaccompanied) by Grazyna Bacewicz. (I don't know if they may have been originally for violin and transcribed). I just checked wiki, but I did NOT find them listed among her compositions. They were fairly difficult!
Sorry about depriving McEwen of his Scots heritage!
Primrose didn't include Bach suites No. 5 or 6 in his viola transcription. He said in the foreward that especially the No. 6 would never sound good on the viola and that he only knew one or two musicians who could make it sound good on the modern cello. Or words o that effect.
There are a couple of transcriptions that are transposed to varying degrees that ARE playable and sound ok.
Thanks for the list. Since this concerto is not on it, I'd like to add the Anton Stamitz concerto in D. It is higher and maybe more difficult than his brother Karl's concerto in D, which is played all the time. I'm not sure why it's not played more often, because I think it's quite lively and fun. I played the first movement several years ago for a church talent show. I blogged about that here (with video): http://www.violinist.com/blog/ravena/20105/11226/
Vaughan Williams' Suite is by turns tender and entertaining.
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