Composer: Friedrich Seitz
The first three pieces in this book are all by the same composer, Seitz. He was a violinist and most of the pieces he wrote were also for violin. He wrote all his concertos for his students to help them improve their technique. He was a composer of the romantic period so his music is very expressive and full of emotion so you have to make each note really sing out.
A concerto is usually composed in three parts or movements, where one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra. Usually the solo part is full of exciting music and the soloist gets to show off their skills!
Sometimes the soloist will play on their own or with the orchestral accompaniment and sometimes they get a rest and the orchestra plays (this is called a tutti section).
Concerto No. 2 in G Major, Op. 13, 3rd Movement – Click here to listen and watch!
Concerto No. 5 in D Major, Op. 22, 1st Movement – Click here to listen and watch!
Concerto No. 5 in D Major, Op. 22, 3rd Movement (Rondo) – Click here to listen and watch!
Composer: Antonio Vivalidi
Lived: 1678 to 1714
Vivaldi was an Italian composer nicknamed the Red Priest because he trained to be a priest when he was fifteen and had red hair! He was most famous for writing pieces for violin, especially his Four Seasons concertos (listen to them on youtube – you will probably recognise some of them!). Vivaldi learnt the violin from his father when he was very young and they used to give concerts together in Venice, the town where they lived.
This piece comes from a set of 12 concertos titled L’estro Armonico which is Italian for ‘Harmonic Inspiration’. They are all written for 1,2 3 or 4 violin soloists. Notice how usually when the solo violin is playing almost all the orchestra stop. Which instruments keep going? These are called the basso continuo and help the soloist keep going by playing a bass line (cello or double bass) and filling some harmony notes (harpsichord).
Some of the notes are marked martellato (heavily accented) – can you hear them?
Concerto in A Minor, Op. 3, No. 6, 1st Movement (Allegro) – Click here to listen and watch!
Concerto in A Minor, Op. 3, No. 6, 3rd Movement (Presto)
This is the 3rd and final movement of the same concerto as above. The last movement of a concerto is usually fast and full of lots of notes. Have a listen to the slow 2nd movement if you want to hear some more calm music!
Listen below from 4.40 minutes to hear the movement you are learning!
Concerto in A Minor, Op. 3, No. 6, 3rd Movement (Presto) – Click here to listen and watch!
Composer: Karl Bohm
Lived: 1844 to 1920
You have to play this piece in three different ways, staccato, legato and spiccato. That means there will be some short notes, some long, smooth notes and some notes played spiccato.
Spiccato is a technique used on string instruments which involves the bow bouncing off the string. To play spiccato, you should find the part of the bow where the bow can balance on a string. This will probably be roughly a third of the way down the bow from the nut, where you hold the bow. Next, drop the bow exactly at the point where the weighting is equal on both sides, and it should spring up bouncily. If it doesn’t, you’ve probably not quite found the section where it’s equal. It’ll take some practice, but you can do it!
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
Lived: 1685 to 1750
This piece is one of the most famous of all violin concertos. Many well known violinists perform it (if you watch the youtube clip below you will see father and son team David and Igor Oistrakh – they were both amazing violin soloists!).
The first movement is very exciting and the two violinists work as a team to keep the music moving and full of life. There are vey few breaks in the piece and the music seems to flow between the two soloists. Bach wrote this piece during one of the happiest times of his life when he was working as court musician for Prince Leopold in Germany. This piece certainly sounds very upbeat, almost dancing along!
If you have time, listen to this youtube clip up to 16.30 minutes so you can hear the
beautiful slow movement and the final movement Allegro where both violinists get to show off!
Click here to listen and watch!