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Hi! 

Im a freshman in high school, and I’m wondering what my next piece should be. I’m finishing up the Bruch in G minor, I’ve done Mozart 4, and I’ve recently just started on Zigeunerweisen. I’ll need a new concerto for a concerto competition coming up in January. I could, of course, play one of my already learned concertos, but I’m rather curious about new pieces.) Do you think any of these pieces — Wieniawski, Saint-Saens, or Mendelssohn — would be reasonable? (And is there really that much of a difference in difficulty in the concertos I’ve listed?) I’m always open to suggestions!

 

 

 

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The world is yours. Make a decision, then make the most if it. 

Those concertos are all similar in difficulty. Mendelssohn maybe is the hardest, but the other 2, to really play them well, are hard too. Play Mendelssohn though.

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Barber. Glorious

Korngold

Dvorak

All through your musical life, do your best to choose music that creates interest by being unusual.  Don’t choose something just because it is a little known, rather, choose something that is good as well as underplayed. The three pieces I have mentioned are all masterpieces. The barber is very popular, the others are not. A couple of years ago a major local competition saw a Dvorak violin concerto( the finale)take second prize.

As a violinist you have a larger library from which to choose than any other instrument except piano.

For a concerto competition most judges are very shallow and they love loud and bangy. Last movement of Symphonie Espagnole, or Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy( Known in the trade as “the scratch frantically”) perhaps?

The Kachaturian is a wonderful crowd pleaser(And we will politely ignore that it’s not really a very good piece.) The grand prize winner in the competition I mentioned played the Khachaturian(Another prize winner played the Bruch, But it wasn’t a very compelling performance.)

I told my students to pick something they believe in and relate to. One student is working on the Lalo, another is working on the Shostakovich, another several are working on the various Haydn concertos. They all love the pieces they have chosen, and that helps a lot. Good luck, let us know what you decide on

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2 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Barber. Glorious

Korngold

Dvorak

All through your musical life, do your best to choose music that creates interest by being unusual.  Don’t choose something just because it is a little known, rather, choose something that is good as well as underplayed. The three pieces I have mentioned are all masterpieces. The barber is very popular, the others are not. A couple of years ago a major local competition saw a Dvorak violin concerto( the finale)take second prize.

As a violinist you have a larger library from which to choose than any other instrument except piano.

For a concerto competition most judges are very shallow and they love loud and bangy. Last movement of Symphonie Espagnole, or Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy( Known in the trade as “the scratch frantically”) perhaps?

The Kachaturian is a wonderful crowd pleaser(And we will politely ignore that it’s not really a very good piece.) The grand prize winner in the competition I mentioned played the Khachaturian(Another prize winner played the Bruch, But it wasn’t a very compelling performance.)

I told my students to pick something they believe in and relate to. One student is working on the Lalo, another is working on the Shostakovich, another several are working on the various Haydn concertos. They all love the pieces they have chosen, and that helps a lot. Good luck, let us know what you decide on

As I read trough the older posts here on MN I am very wel impressed by the quality of your advise and I like this one very much. But I think very often not enough is known on the true skill level of the person asking the questions. With violin a lot of practice time can mask a lot of lack of real skill. In this context there can be big difference between Mend / Saint Saens / Wieniwasky.

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I'm not trying to be ageist.  My take is that there are some pieces that maturity and experience outweigh skill.  Having said that, for a freshman in high school, with less than 4 months to prepare, I say polish up the Bruch, but if you insist on a new piece for the competition, the Mendelssohn is doable.  

Every piece you play, you will play differently as you get older.  I sometimes prefer later recordings of performers playing pieces like the Beethoven violin concerto.  I agree very much with Philip that at your age, loud and bangy will do the trick.  I also like his suggestion to play the Dvorak.   

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12 hours ago, Alex Resch said:

As I read trough the older posts here on MN I am very wel impressed by the quality of your advise and I like this one very much. But I think very often not enough is known on the true skill level of the person asking the questions. With violin a lot of practice time can mask a lot of lack of real skill. In this context there can be big difference between Mend / Saint Saens / Wieniwasky.

I agree with you completely, the reason I mention a violin concerto like the last movement of the Dvorak, or the first movement of the Khachaturian,  is that when you’re playing something that is fast and furious, it’s easy to cover up a lack of finesse. With something like the Mendelson, or the Sibelius, or Mozart five, or the Beethoven, the first few notes are so delicate  that if they are not played perfectly you’re going to lose the judges instantly, yet Playing them perfectly is extremely difficult. Compare that with the opening of the Khachaturian, Which is as loud as a violinist can play.

I feel a little bit guilty every time I let a student play the Shostakovich, because the Shostakovich first movement is very much “slash & hack” But I have yet to find a judge who doesn’t prefer such a piece. If more judges did, there would be fewer Liszt piano Concerto’s played Ha ha ha

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Oh, if you are a high school freshman, you could do a lot worse than look up the Haydn C major violin concerto. The G major has the same dangerous gentle opening as the other concertos I mentioned, but the C-major starts with a nice healthy robust C major chord. And it’s a wonderful concerto I love it.

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Probably best to discuss with your teacher. My only comment is the Bruch and Mendelssohn must be pretty tiring to judges.

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Hi! Thank you all so much for your remarks. Certainly, the best thing to do would be to talk more in-depth about this with my teacher. I was just curious about your suggestions! Concerning the Khatchaturian, I wasn't crazy about it the first time I heard it, and I found that I only really liked the first thirty seconds, hahaha. I'm not sure I'd want to play it for who knows how long. I'm also a bit afraid to venture out too far, although I'm not entirely sure of my boundaries at the moment (if I'm making even an ounce of sense).

Mendelssohn has always struck me as something hard to play well (but that's not to say that other pieces aren't this way as well), so I kind of assumed that I'd play Mendy after Saint-Saens, Wieniawski, Lalo, and all that jazz. 

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10 hours ago, Irrationalpi said:

Hi! Thank you all so much for your remarks. Certainly, the best thing to do would be to talk more in-depth about this with my teacher. I was just curious about your suggestions! Concerning the Khatchaturian, I wasn't crazy about it the first time I heard it, and I found that I only really liked the first thirty seconds, hahaha. I'm not sure I'd want to play it for who knows how long. I'm also a bit afraid to venture out too far, although I'm not entirely sure of my boundaries at the moment (if I'm making even an ounce of sense).

Mendelssohn has always struck me as something hard to play well (but that's not to say that other pieces aren't this way as well), so I kind of assumed that I'd play Mendy after Saint-Saens, Wieniawski, Lalo, and all that jazz. 

I found Saint-Saens much more difficult than the Mendelssohn.  Lalo first though.  In terms of technical difficulty, Lalo is a little easier.

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The Khachaturian is a lot of fun, the third movement more so than the first, in my opinion. Lalo is fun, too.

Will the concerto competition allow you to play the Zig? It's about the same length as a concerto movement and it's got a good orchestra part.

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