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Hello. I am a violist with a senior college recital coming up. I would really like some ideas of recital pieces to do for my recital. I'm planning it to be next spring at this time. It has to have a mix of Baroque, Classical, Romantic and modern. The university recently had a faculty change and I am studying with the violin professor. I'm not trying to diss him or anything, he's a great guy and teacher. I am just searching for ideas from full time violists who are really knowledgeable with viola repotire. I suppose I should list what my current repotire is.

Bach Cello suites 1, 2 and half of 3

Sonata for Arpeggione

Kol Nidre

Telemann Concerto in G

handle/caedesus Concerto

Romanian Folk Dances by Bartok

Suite Hebraique (er however you spell it)(Bloch)

Meditation and Processional (Bloch)

I just started private viola lessons in College 4 years ago, but I started playing in the public school orchestra for 8 years. I'm majoring in Music History.

I know one piece that will absolutey be included: Brahms viola sonata in E flat. Makes me melt. I would just like some feedback/suggestions for VIOLA repotire. Most of the pieces I've studied are cello transcriptions.

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With Brahms, you've already got a solid program. Solid and Romantic and heavy. I would recommend adding Roumanian Folk Dances and a Bach Suite. I'd open with the Bach, then play the Bartok. Take a short pause to collect yourself, and then play the Brahms. This program would be not too long (though about an hour), diverse (from Bach to Bartok), and very impressive. I'm actually starting to think about my senior recital as well. . . Good luck

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I second Lymond's advice. Brahms for the second half of the recital and two shorter contracting pieces for the first. The Telemann Concerto in G would be just as good as a Bach Suite to open the recital, if you prefer the work. I remember a senior viola recital done by a guy who was beyond scared witless, which consisted of the Telemann Concerto, Hindemiths Trauermusik and the First Brahms Sonata in F minor. Had this recital been any longer he would of suffered a mental break down and wouldn't be posting on this board today.

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Check out Helen Callus' CD, A Portrait of the Viola. The viola sonata by Rebecca Clarke is one of the best pieces written for the viola, but there are several other beautiful pieces as well, some of which might work as an encore.

If you have a good violinist to work with, you could do the violin+viola version of Handel/Halvorsen's Pasaacaglia.

Don't forget the Lachrimae by Britten! I think it was originally written for viola and piano and later arranged for orchestra ...?

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Another suggestion that my teacher made today was the Brandenburg 6-just violas and cello (and a bass?) I think that would be most awesome. So much music and not enough time!!

Three Madrigals for Violin and Viola by Bohuslav Martinu? I have not heard of that one. I'll check it out. Thank you all so much for your ideas! I'll listen to them.

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If you have other viola players and a couple of cellists to play with, and if you want to give your audience something that is new to everybody, try Josef Czapek's beautiful Andante religioso for viola solo with low strings (it can also be performed with a pianist or an organist).

Listen here:

http://hem.fyristorg.com/m.bengt.andersson/ljud.htm (only a part of the piece, though)

And order the sheet music here:


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I second Elfrida's motion for the Britten Lachrymae. Yes, there is a published version for viola and piano, and it is a very fine piece.

If you don't know it, it is a theme and variations in reverse, with the theme coming at the end: a beautiful, plaintive song by John Dowland.

another possibility would be the Shostakovich sonata. This is a deeply affecting work (his last) and it contains an hommage to Beethoven in the last movement.

If you can play the Brahms, you can play either the Britten or the Shostavich.

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From a violinist who also loves viola, but doesn't play it much anymore (this thread is making me want to get out my viola, though): How about Schumann's Marchenbilder? Also one of the three sonatas (BWV 1027 - 1029) for Viola di gamba and keyboard of Bach's. I really like the first one in G Major.

Whatever you do, make sure the program consists of music that you really like, since you'll be working on the pieces for an extended period. Also as implied by an earlier post, don't have them all be tremendously difficult works -- or you'll be sabotaging yourself.

Good luck and have fun.

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Here are some good resources for repertoire:

Donald McInnes

Viola Repertoire Lists (Graded)


David Sills

Representative List of Viola Repertoire


Andritsch Peter

Viola Repertoire List


These sites won't help you decide which is a good piece to play, but they will give you a vast selection to explore!




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I have played a lot of those pieces, and I liked each of them quite a bit.

The Telemann is an awesome piece, although I am sick and tierd of it.

Bach Cello Suits are alright (I am doing #2 for a recital next week)

Handle/Caedesus Concerto is a great piece, I especially like that one....

Arpeggione Sonata is BEAUTIFUL......

You really cant go wrong.

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Another option to the Bartok, which is extremely difficult is the Hindemith Opus 11 number 4. I know - Hindemith has a reputation of being dry and austere, but not his viola works. This one it lush and full and beautiful. It's a challenge tonally at first, but it really comes together and makes wonderful sense harmonically. It is also a better crowd pleaser than the Brahms or the Bartok. However, the Hindemith (and Bartok) is a bit higher level of difficulty than anything you've listed in your repertoire.

Of course, I've never heard you play, so I have no idea what your ability it, I was just concerned from your reperatoire listing. But it is never agood idea to stretch your abilities for a recital (or audition). It is more important to play well. I'd rather here the Telemann played beautifully than the Bartok struggled through.

Bloch Suite Hebraique is lovely - espcecially the first movement.

Good luck.

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Bartok? What Bartok? The viola concerto? While I feel that I could learn it and play it well, I don't think I would have enough energy to learn and play other pieces well too.

It is a tradition at our school to have a humorous ending to the recitals. With vocalists, it's usually a big chorus blowout. I want to do PDQ Bach Viola with four hands and harpsichord. That would be freaking hilarious!!! I've already started playing around with it...:)

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You probably know the Rebecca Clarke Sonata -- so far it's the best viola music that I've heard! I just wanted to add that there's a collection of shorter pieces by her available at Oxford University Press. The famous Passacaglia is in that book, for example.

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I just returned the Rebecca Clarke sonata back to the sheet music place, thats not to say I didnt like it though. Its just not a the top of my list.

Unless your recital is atleast 6 months away, dont even think about learning the Bartok. There's no way you can learn it and perform it well in that amout of time. And now that we are in the relm of "Super viola music" I would suggest learning the Walton Concerto before moving on to the Bartok.

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It is a tradition at our school to have a humorous ending to the recitals. With vocalists, it's usually a big chorus blowout. I want to do PDQ Bach Viola with four hands and harpsichord. That would be freaking hilarious!!! I've already started playing around with it...

Must it be a viola work? I played the "Only piece ever written for Violin and Tuba" (I actually played the world premier of the work as is acknowledged in the title page, but that's another story ) It's a scream. I looked at the Viola Four Hands and found it very awkward to try to pull off, though if you manage it, it certainly is funny.

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