Top 5 Violin Showpieces

Pablo de Sarasate
Image via Wikipedia

Violin show pieces are the pieces which are at the limit of violin technique. They are difficult, flashy, and impressive. Here’s my list of the top 10 violin showpieces.

Paganini – Caprice 24

Paganini’s 24 Caprices are some of the most difficult for the violin, and being able to play any of them is a great accomplishment. However, the 24th Caprice is by far the most famous, and most difficult. Based upon a Theme and Variations model, this caprice employs many of the most difficult violin techniques in a musically solid base. This video is of Hillary Hahn performing this Caprice. Continue reading “Top 5 Violin Showpieces”

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Pachelbel Canon in D for Solo Violin

I hadn’t realised that I had forgotten to upload this to my site. This is an arrangement I had made of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, arranged for Solo Violin. It is much adapted and abridged, and makes use of double stops to make the illusion of multiple voices in some parts, while reverting to single lines where necessary. Uses only the “interesting” parts.

This arrangement is © 2006 Ben Clapton, however I do give permission for this piece to be performed anywhere in the world, for whatever purpose (busking, weddings etc) on the sole condition that I be notified by e-mail to mail@benclapton.id.au or as a comment to this post as to the location (City, Country) that it will be performed in. Comments about the arrangement are always welcome, but please Рconstructive criticism or praise only.

This arrangement has been performed in places such as the US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

Download Ben Clapton’s arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon in D for solo violin.Download Pachelbel’s Canon for Solo Violin

The map below shows the locations that this piece has been performed.

On This Day… October 19

When talking about the world of violin concertos, there are two that dominate. Tchaikovsky’s concerto in D major is incredible, but just as important is the subject of today’s post. Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in d minor, premiered on this day in 1905. Continue reading “On This Day… October 19”

On This Day… 2 October

As if we didn’t have enough composers to celebrate their birthdays of, the tradition has arisen that we also celebrate their dying- or death-day. We get major celebrations at 50 years after their death, which could also be 100 years after their birth. But either way, it’s an excuse for concert programmers to hold a concert. Or a number of concerts. Today we look at the first death-day of this series, that of the Romantic composer Max Bruch. Continue reading “On This Day… 2 October”

On This Day… September 27

Today we look at a lesser known Brittish composer, who was titled the “Father of modern British Music” and “the English Debussy.” Cyril Scott, born on September 27th, 1879 was a composer, writer and poet. Continue reading “On This Day… September 27”

How does he know?

You know, sometimes it’s incredible how people know exactly the right thing to say, seemingly without any prompting. Perhaps sometimes someone can be really good at reading people, but others it’s just incredible. For me, it’s happened with my teacher a couple of times. Once when I was thinking once again about my practice techniques, and what does he bring up in string class, but a lengthy “lecture” on practice. Just recently is the more incredible one though. After having been away for a week, I get to my lesson on Tuesday and he brings up the topic of focus and where I’m wanting to head in music, what I would like to be doing once I leave uni etc. The incredible thing is that I had just been thinking about that very same topic on the weekend. I hadn’t even talked to anyone about it, just thinking about it – yet he comes up with this one hour talk/discussion on it. I didn’t end up playing a note in that lesson – but I got so much out of it.

Orchestral playing is what I really love, and Peter suggested that towards the end of the year I might take a couple of mock auditions in which I could practice taking auditions – and play the repertoire that I would be expected to play for an audition. So I’m now learning the Tchaikovsky Violin concerto, as well as Mozart Concerto Number 4. Tomorrow in my lesson, I’ll suggest a couple of dates for the mock auditions, as well as bring him a list of excerpts that I would like to learn.

I seem to be rather excited about this prospect – like I’m actually making steps towards my goal. While I know that all the stuff that I have been doing previous to this have helped, this actually seems like physical steps towards the goal.

I did 3 hours practice straight today – a rarity in recent times. It did have something to do with not having anything on today, and wanting to get into the tchaikovsky, but also the fact that I was motivated to do it, made it seem like it went past really quickly. Let’s hope for more of the same!

Violin Dreams

I’m in the middle of reading Violin Dreams by Arnold Steinhardt, the First violinist with the Guarneri String Quartet. It’s a really interesting book, and is looking like a great source of inspiration for me. But there are some really great quotes in here that I want to share.

G.B. Doni, talking about the instrument’s power, from 1640

In the hand of a skillful player, the violin represents the sweetness of the lute, the suavity of the viol, the majesty of the harp, the force of the trumpet, the vivacity of the fife, the sadness of the flute, the pathetic quality of the cornet; as if every variety, as in the great edifice of the organ, is heard with marvelous artifice.

A verse supposedly found in one of Gaspard Tieffenbrucker’s instruments (one of the possible first makers of the violin)

I lived in the woods, until I was slain by the relentless axe. Whilst I was alive I was silent, but in death my melody is exquisite.

Myra Jagendorf, in a school yearbook message to Arnold Steinhardt.

In a way, it will be your duty to mankind to contribute your music to as many people as possible and to enrich their lives as well as your own.

I really like that last one, I think it sums up a lot of my goals. Music is something that is to be shared, what we do is deep and often rather odd to many people. It is our goal to invite them into our world and share our life and our music with them. It is the arts that will save humanity and keep it going.

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