Most difficult Piece??? and youth orchestra questions
Posted 06 November 2000 - 06:30 PM
Posted 06 November 2000 - 06:53 PM
That said, experience suggests that, to get into a top youth (high school age) orchestra in a major city in the US, the minimum repertoire standard is the concert-hall concerto repertoire. The Mozart No. 3 is about as easy as you are likely to get away with, and you will probably encounter many students playing Mendelssohn, Bruch No. 1, Paganini No. 1, Sibelius, Glazunov, etc. or shorter works by Sarasate, Wieniawski, etc. (I'm not talking about just people who will end up in the front chairs, either -- I'm talking about ALL the violinists playing at this minimum standard.)
I believe that many such youth orchestras make the repertoire standard explicit; it's worthwhile to check out what yours requires/suggests.
It is certainly not a requirement to play the most technically demanding thing that you know, as long as you meet the minimum repertoire standard. (Indeed, beyond a certain point, progression through repertoire becomes decidedly non-sequential, and students often just play whatever it is they're currently working on, which might be less technically challenging than previous works they've done.)
Posted 06 November 2000 - 07:12 PM
Posted 06 November 2000 - 07:32 PM
The Bruch No. 1 is probably the easiest of the commonly-played Romantic concertos; it seems to be, quite frequently, the first "real" concerto people play, other than the Mozart No. 3. My advice, though: Listen to CDs but DON'T imitate them (though of course you'll occasionally hear something that you hadn't thought of, think, "hey, I like that", and incorporate it into your own interpretation); imitation stifles your own creative voice. I would judge the Saint-Saens I&RC to be slightly more difficult than the Bruch No. 1.
In high school, students seeking to show off technical pyrotechnics seem to gravitate towards Paganini No. 1. (Or at least this was true in the area I grew up in.)
Posted 06 November 2000 - 10:56 PM
Posted 07 November 2000 - 03:55 AM
I grew up in Chicago, but a glance at the websites of the best of the local youth orchestras here in the Bay Area show the same kind of repertoire standards. If you look at the top youth orchestras, which I believe includes Chicago, New York, Boston, and San Francisco (no surprise they're in cities with world-reknowned symphonies), the standard of playing is very high, and the majority of players go on to conservatory study.
Cadenza for the Bruch? What cadenza? The last few lines of the first movement is somewhat cadenza-like (I suppose one could get away with calling it a very short, written-out cadenza), but it's not anywhere near long enough for most auditions.
Posted 07 November 2000 - 04:18 AM
If you play a hard piece (like paganini or carmen fantasy) you just WONT sound as good as if you play something a bit easier like Bruch or Mozart. (yeah I know Mozart is "hard"). Play something where you can shine and impress someone, they might just think you are foolish if you get up there and play a hard piece adequately.
Obviously you shouldn't get up there and play Twinkle, so you need to use some common sense. But what I'm getting at is know your limits. I wouldn't suggest a challenging work such as Sibelious or Brahms.
Posted 07 November 2000 - 06:30 AM
However, keep in mind most conductors or section leaders will ask you to sight read in an audition, and in my personal opinion that has a higher weight than your audition piece. In a youth orchestra, even though you get plenty of time to learn the performance pieces, conductors and section leaders still respect good sight readers and ensemble players, and only very rarely do you get players with interpretative depth, solid technique, and good sight reading in one "package" w/in H.S. population.
I know many good impressive, technical players without good complementary sightreading skills. To the best of my knowledge it is relatively rare for those who are "handicapped" to get one of the hotly contested front seats.
Also, depending on orchestra, your first audition might not dictate performance seating. You still have to earn it during the "halfway" review. Many conductors do this to make sure you aren't sleeping on the job and resting on your laurels...
[This message has been edited by Flyboy (edited 11-07-2000).]
Posted 07 November 2000 - 02:35 PM
Chicago's best youth orchestra has an audition to get in (after which you're permanently part of the orchestra 'til you graduate from high school), and then a seating audition every semester.
At least until about ten years ago, to get in, you do two prepared works, plus sight-reading something cold, and then you get another sight-reading passage that you can spend a minute marking up before you try to play it (and they might give you two chances, allowing you to mark the music in-between). Presumably this gives them an idea of how quickly you might learn something just by playing through it in a rehearsal -- and whether or not you can keep the rhythm even though you might not be getting all the notes.
Seating auditions are then based on prepared orchestral parts; they take excerpts from the longer work, but you're not told what they'll be. (This encourages the kids to learn the entire work, usually a symphony, before the first rehearsal of the semester.)
Posted 07 November 2000 - 06:14 PM
Originally posted by Lydia Leong:
If you look at the top youth orchestras, which I believe includes Chicago, New York, Boston, and San Francisco (no surprise they're in cities with world-reknowned symphonies), the standard of playing is very high, and the majority of players go on to conservatory study.
I was in the New York Youth Symphony nearly two decades ago and a good portion of the players (nearly ALL of the wind players, including myself) were current conservatory students or even graduates - you could play until age 21 or 22 (don't know if that is the norm for other youth symphonies). The string players seemed younger but they were very good. Our concerto winner one year was the very young Nick Eanat who was probably a DeLay student at the time. He has just become concertmaster of the (I think) Met Orchestra.
Anyway, my point is that standards vary - but in the major cities/top youth orchestras you will need to be able to perform the standard concerto repertoire.
Posted 07 November 2000 - 06:59 PM
Posted 07 November 2000 - 07:09 PM
Sibelius generally thought to be harder than Mendelssohn, which is usually harder than Bruch. Be careful about blanket statements (including this one), however. Some people have an affinity (or lack) that makes certain pieces more or less hard than their reputation. I had no real trouble with the Beethoven when I finally did it, but find certain showpieces considered no big deal by the average conservatory graduate to be a real pain.
Why ask us about Sibelius, however, when you are just finishing with Accolay? Finish that up, use it (or the Bruch, or whatever) to show off what you can do well. Anyone who can play a clean, disciplined, vibrant, passionate performance of the Bruch should be welcome in any orchestra.
Posted 07 November 2000 - 07:14 PM
Posted 07 November 2000 - 08:02 PM
My impression, just from sight-reading through the Beethoven, is that the notes are straightforward enough -- it's scales, arpeggios, and similar sorts of passages that you've devoted years to getting your fingers to execute automatically. The problem is that it IS scales, arpeggios, etc., and therefore difficult to make convincing as music.
Posted 07 November 2000 - 09:43 PM
Posted 08 November 2000 - 12:13 AM
I haven't heard him play recently, but I'm sure he's a good modern violinist based on his training.
wonderer, why don't you play unaccompanied Bach (e.g. Chaconne) or Paganini (e.g. Caprice #24 or "Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento"?
Difficulty level is always taken into account.
I think that the biggest reason the Beethoven Violin Concerto is difficult is because it was not meant to be performed on the "modern" setup.
Instead, Beethoven had written this concerto with the intent of it being performed on period setups (with "baroque" bow, lower pitch, and minimal vibrato).
Occasionally, I'll take my 18th century violin and tune it down half-a-step.
It's nowhere near the same as playing on a real period setup, but pieces written by Mozart and Beethoven sound COMPLETELY DIFFERENT when performed as they were meant to be performed.
Posted 08 November 2000 - 12:59 AM
Posted 08 November 2000 - 01:28 AM
Posted 08 November 2000 - 02:39 AM
You sound like you've done really well for the amount of time you've been playing. Here's what I would do: play the hardest piece that you feel COMPLETELY COMFORTABLE playing. Make it as perfect as you can. Try not not worry about difficulty level - be as musical as you can. There is really nothing more you can do.
One thing: if you don't make it, it only means you haven't reached that level YET (or you didn't play as well THAT ONE DAY!)! In the end, youth orchestra seats don't mean that much.
Posted 08 November 2000 - 08:15 PM
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