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Recital Ideas......Cello and Violin Music

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by AdmiralScreed, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed

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    Hey folks. I'm graduating from high school this year, and I would like to give a recital to celebrate the end of one phase of my life, and the beginning of the next phase. I have some ideas for pieces I would like to play, but I'm not quite certain yet. I would like to ask you all for some ideas.

    Here are some ideas I've had so far:

    -Shostakovich Adagio from the 2nd (?) Ballet Suite (originally written for cello)

    -Paganini Moses Variations (originally written for violin)

    -One or two movements from the 3rd Beethoven Cello Sonata

    -One or two movements from the Franck Violin Sonata

    -One or two movements from any of the 6 Bach Cello Suites

    -Barber Adagio for Strings, arranged for bass quartet

    -2nd movement of the Dvorak Cello Concerto


    These are just ideas. I have music for almost all of these. You'll notice that I'm trying to not play anything too standard. That's because, first, the violin and cello repertoire is far larger and more diverse and has more appeal to me than the bass repertoire. I'm a bassist who aspires to play like a cellist. Second, I've been doing auditions for colleges this year, and the standard rep has been shoved down my throat over and over. I want some time away to just do something fun and different.

    So, my question to you folks is, what repertoire would you suggest that isn't on my list already? Nothing too standard, I just want some beautiful melodies and music that isn't played often on our instrument. Cello and violin music would be especially good, but I'm open to anything, even contemporary music! And no complete works either, unless they're just a single movement. I want a diverse array of music from all periods.

    I've worked on the Paganini, Shostakovich, and Barber before, so they would need less time to be performance ready. Also, I'm hoping my recital will be in early to mid May. I'll have a lot of time in March and April to practice once I get past my audition at Colburn at the end of this month, so that gives me about 2 months to prepare.

    Thanks so much for everyone's ideas!
  2. Herbie 80's

    Herbie 80's

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    All of this material is fairly heavy..

    Two months to prepare all of this for a recital is not enough time. One movement of the Bach should take you anywhere from 2-6 months (depending on your level), so doing two is a lot.

    The reason why the standard repertoire is the standard repertoire is because you'll be playing it for your entire life. I think, at your age, and even while you start college, it's more important to know the standard repertoire than learning cello music that you won't be auditioning.

    Play standard stuff that you know very well for a concert, and leave the diverse material for your recitals in University.
  3. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed

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    I forgot to add, I've worked on two movements of Bach so far since I had to play them for my college auditions. The Gigue from the 1st suite and the Allemande from the 3rd.

    And in no way do I expect to play all of the music on that list in one recital, probably just a few things from that list or music that others suggest.

    2 months of 4-5 hour practice days should be enough to put together a nice recital. You're right that to learn all of the rep for that recital in that time would be extremely difficult, which is why I'm going to play some things like the Paganini that I already know. I appreciate your input and warnings, but I'm confident in my abilities and believe that I'll be able to pull this off.
  4. cold elephant

    cold elephant

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    Have to say I agree with the previous post, you must be an absolute beast to be thinking of putting most of this stuff in a recital (at any age!). You aspire to play like a cellist. But you want to have fun playing interesting music. I don't think there's anything wrong with sticking to at least some stuff you know, make sure you're able to actually enjoy the performance! After all this recital is a celebration. Don't stress out learning loads and loads of things that might cause problems. When a serious cellist plays something like that Shostakovich (which I think is a piece more bass players should perform and record btw, it's really great) or Bach, they have a hell of a lot less worry on the technical side of things than the average bassist.

    I assume by wanting to play like a cellist you mean you want to present these pieces to a level that can stand alongside your cello playing colleagues' efforts or the greats of all time, or whatever. I think that's a noble intention but at the end of the day, the bass is the medium you've chosen to use to express yourself. There is some less often performed bass rep out there which can be effective if done well (which is really the key issue in my mind). If you play whatever rep you choose well it won't matter at least to your audience what you put in your recital, within reason. Imagination and technique sufficient to realise your musical aims are what I assume most bass players mean when they say they want to sound like part of the violin family and not just like another bass player as far as I can tell... That's usually what passes for good or at least interesting playing in any discipline, or 'interesting' in most art forms AFAIK.

    Re. learning the standard rep early - this is a really good idea. You will just have to be able to knock out a Dittersdorf or a Bottesini or whatever it is people play in the states. I wasted a lot of time in college not listening to that suggestion learning pieces that wouldn't serve me later on. I'm not saying that you should only ever play the same few concerti and excerpts endlessly , but there's a balance to be found between learning what you need to learn for auditions, assuming that's what you want to do anyway, and still finding time to interest yourself. You certainly sound extremely proactive from that rather terrifying list of suggested rep, which is half the battle! After all, for most sane people the standard rep is simply a means to an end, you only have to suffer performing it for a few years if you learn to do it well, in theory anyway! You have the rest of your life to explore other repertoire.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm really not trying to discourage you or anything. But it seems like you have more than enough stuff to be getting on with there with even two or three of those choices, especially if you share this recital with a few mates or get some chamber music involved, which is always a good way to have a good time. Best of luck!
  5. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed

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    Hey there! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    First, to address your point about the standard rep. I've spent quite a bit of time working on standard solo rep over the last couple years. I did the entire Koussevitzky Concerto with a local orchestra last June (my first solo performance with an orchestra, it was so fun!!!). Around that same time I played the Rossini Duo for Cello and Bass with a friend of mine for his DMA recital at the University of Minnesota. And I've worked on the first movement of Vanhal on and off over the past year, and I played it for Francois Rabbath last spring when he came to the University to teach a masterclass. I've also done the first couple movements of Eccles for competitions in the past, but it's been quite some time.

    Anyway, that's most of the standard solo rep I've done over the last two years. The Bach, Paganini, and Shostakovich, and Barber I mentioned are less standard things I've worked on in that time. I've played Kouss in so many competitions and auditions though that I'm getting tired of it. It's evolved a lot with each performance/contest/audition, but I told myself that after my auditions I would put it away and move forward with something new.

    Now that we're talking standard rep and I'm reflecting on what I've worked on, I actually think the Vanhal might be nice to play. The second movement would be a piece of cake to learn, so I could play at the very least two thirds of it.

    So......ooo, I'm thinking as I'm typing now, hehe.....

    Maybe Vanhal movements 1 and 2, Paganini Moses Variations, Shostakovich, and a chamber piece like Rossini Duo or Barber Adagio? That's a good mix of rep that might be interesting to listen to.
  6. Herbie 80's

    Herbie 80's

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    I think one of your first things should be:

    What does my teacher think?

    Honestly, you're young right now, and it seems that you've learned a lot of good rep, and done some interesting things with it. However, considering that you are young, you also have to think about how mature the piece sounds, and whether it is aesthetically pleasing. I really do think that even if you've been playing for 7 years or whatever, you still need to think about the standards, as they will grow with you until you have to retire!

    I know a lot of very good bass players that have just started the Kouss in their second or third year of University. I think it's good that you're learning all of this material, but you have to remember that we're not in a race to know the most material, but it's a matter of playing it extremely well!

    It is a good thing to put stuff away when you've played the pants off of it, but remember that many bass players with much more experience than you still find pieces that aren't difficult (like the Vivaldi cello sonatas) still extremely fun to play. It's worth looking into easier pieces to round out a recital, because you will get very, very tired if you are constantly playing challenging concerto like pieces (especially since you're still young!)
  7. mattgray

    mattgray

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    I admire your ambition and I think no matter what you choose, don't limit your options to solely cello and violin repertoire. Find something that you connect to, 'cause you'll be living with it for the next months. If you can manage a full recital, that would be great, but don't take the consideration off the chalkboard if you find yourself having to eliminate pieces due to time constraints, as two months isn't a very long time.

    As for piece suggestions, I would consider all the aspects of variety which you have at your disposal - time period (baroque, classical, romantic, modern), style of piece (virtuosic, lyrical, a mix), and the difficulty (obviously, easy - hard). Pick a handful of combinations but keep your own limitations in mind - playing a program of all hard music is going to be taxing on you, and even though you'll reap great rewards from tackling a lot of technically difficult pieces, you might find yourself going a little crazy.

    The Vanhal is a fantastic concerto to learn after the Koussevitzky - the cleanliness required makes it a very technically difficult piece to perform, but very much musically rewarding.

    You might look into song transcriptions; on a past recital I performed one from Mahler's Rückertlieder (Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen), and though it's pretty simple, it has the chamber music aspects which I think you're searching for. Other possibilities would be Faure, Debussy, Schubert, etc. Search through some song sets and I think you'll find some that you like.

    There are a bevy of shorter modern pieces written for unaccompanied bass out there, Berio's Psy comes to mind; I think Lucas Drew wrote a couple as well.

    Good luck!
  8. AdmiralScreed

    AdmiralScreed

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    Thanks for the suggestions and advice guys! I talked with my teacher, and we're thinking...
    Bach Cello Suite No.1 Gigue
    Hindemith Sonata movements 1 and 2, possibly 3 if there's enough time to learn it.
    Paganini Moses Variations
    Rachmaninoff Cello Sonata movement 3


    It's a short line up, probably not more than 25 minutes of music, but it's a nice selection and it should be fun! Things could change a little, but I think this line up looks a lot like what I'll end up playing.

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