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soethe6's avatar

Great composers for classical violin?

Asked by soethe6 (537points) October 20th, 2007

Hi all, I’m just getting into classical music, and I’m hoping you can help me out. Can you suggest any classical composers or compositions for solo violin, duet of violins, or maybe a small section of strings? Here’s a little more on what I“m looking for:

So far, I’ve found the my favorite type of classical music is pieces either just for violin or for a small string seciton. I think that’s called chamber music? In any case I really prefer a few strings over a fulll orchestra, with a solo piano coming in second. Also—probably because I’m inexperienced and have no ear for subtlety yet—I appreciate violin pieces that are obviously difficult. I like Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” though of course it’s a bit played out. I also like Bach’s “Partitias for Solo Violin” and his “2-Part Inventions.”

Any suggestions for great composers or compositions along those lines? Thanks!

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10 Answers

sndfreQ's avatar

Paganini specifically for violin works:

(See also Brahms, Liszt, Shubert, Schumann, Beethoven which I believe all have works for violin-concertos and smaller chamber music, quartets etc.)

and also Bela Bartok (more of the ‘atonal’ style, but really interesting to me) are all composers that I have an affinity for (different eras/styles, but composed violin concertos and chamber music involving violin).

Of course, music for violin spans the better part of 400 years but here are some that I like, and I’m sure others will come up with more suggestions.

sndfreQ's avatar

Oh and Anton Dvorak too…

soethe6's avatar

Thanks, sndfreg! I’ll check these out. I’m a big fan of certain kinds of experimental ‘noise’ music (Cage, Black Dice, etc.), so Bartok might actually be right up my alley. Anyway, thanks!

gailcalled's avatar

Wow; you must be a very good violinist. Assuming that you don’t have an orchestra in yr living room, you can eliminate the gorgeous v. concerti. But how about string quartets? Do you have three friends w. a 2nd violin, viola and cello? Or a piano- then you have the Stupendous Schubert Trout Quintet. (Also Death and the Maiden and the dozens of Hayden quartets – check out Mozart, of course. Schostakovich, Ravel.)

Scores of ideas here – classical violin pieces

Job_Dung_Hill's avatar

HF Biber’s Rosary Sonatas are great listening, especially the Passacaglia.

blenson's avatar

For a great experience, check out Jasha Heifetz videos on You’ll find all the movements of the Mendelssohn d- Piano Trio (with Rubinstein and Piatigorsky, no less) and it is spectacular. Don’t forget that Brahms, Bruch and Mendelssohn all wrote spectacular violin conceti. The two Beethoven Romances for violin and orchestra are great. And then there is Dvorak’s Romance for violin and orchestra, which is 12 or so minutes of musical bliss. Enjoy it all.

tidesong's avatar

Definitely check out Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin. Good movements to start with: Fugue from Sonata No. 1 in G minor, Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D minor and Fugue from Sonata No. 3 in C major. I also second the suggestion for Biber’s Passacaglia. (Edited to add: I neglected to see you mentioned the Bach. Mea culpa!)

minolta's avatar

if you want to listen to works for violin. then you should listen to all the major concertos first of all. These include the bach, mozart, tchaikovsky, sibelius, brahms, barber, bartok, walton, dvorak, vivaldi, shostakovich, beethoven! and so on. you have to know these works if you say you love violin works.

in terms of very modern works… go for it. there are tons out there.

28lorelei's avatar

This is probably way over the top, but a few famous concertos are the Mendelssohn, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky. They are all great, but really hard to play.

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