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In the UK we have a radio station, often considered "high-brow", that mostly plays classical music (it also plays jazz and world music) called Radio 3. I used to listen to it as a child when it was still called the "third programme".
(we also have Classic FM, but that just plays lollypops and single movements, whereas Radio 3 will play a whole symphony or concerto)
Throughout the 80s and 90s I played Radio 3 all day every day, but as soon as I heard talking, either commentators or interviews, my ears switched off.
That leaves me in the strange and very frustrating situation where I have heard a vast amount of music, but I don't know what any of it is called! (that's a strange definition of "mis-spent youth" isn't it!)
As a player, I am new to the violin. So I want everyone to contribute their recommendations for the most basic, well-known, clichéd if you like, violin repertoire, starting with the most obvious, need to know, stuff, and then getting more obscure. (for listening purposes, not for playing)
For example I just clicked on the Beethoven Spring Sonata and realised immediately that I had heard it a thousand times and never knew what it was called. There are loads of pieces like that that are part of the air we breathe, it seems.
What are the big concertos? I gather from twosetviolin, Brahms and Sibelius. Mendelssohn and Beethoven I knew of. I love Paganini 1 and Prokofiev 1 & 2. I think I have digital versions of Paganini 1-6 somewhere. I must dig them out. I want to buy a load of cheap CDs to build a library.
And then there's all the chamber music too. Please enlighten me!
(all eras from mediaeval onwards)
So if I understand your request correctly, you would like to have some of the known or more popularly played pieces listed? Well a good start is J.S. Bach. And there is a compilation of concertos commonly called the Brandonberg Concertos and there are 6 of them.
Bach also composed something commonly referred to as Air on the G string, which was originally his orchestral suite No. 3 in D major. It is a beautiful piece, and it is also a popular piece...often played on movie scores, etc.
I hope this is the kind of response you are looking for.
- Pete -
Yeah, my OP was a bit discursive, so perhaps it could have been clearer.
You don't need to post videos - that will take up a lot of space.
I'd just appreciate a list of the most need-to-know pieces.
I know Bach reasonably well. I wouldn't initially have called the Brandenburg concertos (I'm pretty sure I've got all 6 on CD, but I'm too lazy to walk across the room and check, lol!) or Air on a G string violin repertoire, but it does raise the question, what IS my definition, and you have raised an interesting issue. For example, I've got a CD of Samuel Barber including the Adagio for strings.
Would it then perhaps be more helpful to look up the most popular pieces of classical music? YouTube has links to this that offer brief descriptions with the pieces and how the single popular movements fit in with the composer’s complete work so you get a full understanding of the piece.
I searched top classical music pieces on YouTube. I have not placed the link here so as to avoid embedding the video.
- Pete -
This is all sounding more complicated than I wanted it to be.
If I asked, what were the most famous piano concertos, I'd expect to hear, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Beethoven, Mozart, Grieg. Piano on its own? Beethoven sonatas, Chopin, Debussy, Satie...
I just wanted that kind of thing, but for the violin.
What I personally consider the "essential" violin concerto repertoire:
Vivaldi, Four Seasons
Bach Double Concerto
Bach A minor
Bach E major
Haydn G major
Mozart No. 3
Mozart No. 5
Bruch No. 1
Prokofiev No. 1
Of these, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius seem to be considered the "big five."
Others that I'd consider fairly important include: Haydn C major, Paganini No. 1, Saint-Saens No. 3, Dvorak, Glazunov, and Korngold, as well as Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole and Bruch's Scottish Fantasy. Also the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante (for violin, viola, and orchestra) and Brahms Double Concerto (for violin, cello, and orchestra).
Andrew Fryer said
Interesting that you say Stravinsky (can you be a bit more specific?) - he always struck me as delivering less than he pretended (in retrospect).
He only wrote one violin concerto -- like most of the well-known composers from the 19th century onward! I included it mostly because it's considered standard repertoire rather than for historical significance, though it is probably the best known neoclassical violin concerto.
Oh, I overlooked two other highly notable 20th century violin concertos in extremely different styles: Berg and Walton. I should also mention my favorite violin concerto from the post-minimalist era (1980-present), the one by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.
Given the topic heading, I had to quickly peruse the thread to make sure I was not giving a repeat. Hands down cliche repertoire for the violin is Saint Saen’s Rondo and Capriccioso for Violin and Orchestra. And I still love it.
A flutist offers a transcription version on YouTube, which is a well spent six minutes.
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I ended up buying about 2 dozen CDs, including most of the above (and also some viola repertoire), but not Philip Glass. I'm afraid also I used the opportunity (of combination sets) to ditch what I had of Kyung-Hwa Chung. I was never really convinced by her.
Currently I am listening to the Mendelssohn string quartets. My first impression is that I prefer them to the Schubert - Schubert seems to me to strive after unnecessary drama, but I've only listened to his last 4 and those only once.