The violin is an instrument of enormous versatility and striking beauty. It is capable of nuanced expression surpassed only by the human voice. Finding the best violin pieces is not always an easy task, especially when there are so many masterful composers. From the Baroque period to the Classical period there are works for violin that will appeal to all lovers of western art music.
Bach: Six Sonatas and Partitas for Violin
The Baroque period includes music written from approximately 1600 to 1750. The most famous composer of the time was Johann Sebastian Bach who lived from March 21, 1685 to July 28, 1750. Some of his most famous and most profound violin works are the six sonatas and partitas for violin. These six sonatas and partitas are widely available and known for the style representative of the Baroque period.
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Antonio Vivaldi lived from March 4, 1678 to July 28, 1741. "The Four Seasons" is perhaps one of the most famous pieces of Vivaldi. Each concerto within "The Four Seasons" deals with a different season. His music is vigorous and rhythmic with clean musical lines and well-defined sections within the movements.
Mozart: Six Violin Concertos
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a defining force in classical music and lived from Jan. 27, 1756 to Dec. 5, 1791. Mozart wrote six violin concertos in several keys in 1775: Violin Concerto No. 1 in B-flat major, K. 207, Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major, K. 211, Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216, Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major, K. 218 and Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219.
Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D Major
Ludwig van Beethoven was the most influential composer of the Classical period and his influence stretched into the Romantic period. He was born on Dec. 17, 1770 and died March 26, 1827. Beethoven's "Violin Concerto in D" is among the greatest violin concertos of all time. The Germans even refer to it as one of the "Four Greatest Concertos" according to violinwizard.com.
Brahms: Violin Concerto in E minor
According to Violinwizard.com, Brahms "Violin Concerto in E Minor" is another of the "Four Great Violin Concertos." This piece is an extremely virtuosic piece and even deemed unplayable by one of Brahms contemporaries. Today, with the increasing demands placed upon violinists, it is now playable. Brahms was born on May 7, 1833 and died on April 3, 1897. He is one of the greatest composers of the Romantic period that includes music between about 1820 and 1920.
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E Major
No collection of famous violin works would be complete without mentioning Felix Mendelssohn's groundbreaking "Violin Concerto in E Major." This is another of the "Four Great Violin Concertos." This concerto broke convention and placed the cadenza very early on in the composition. He was born on Feb. 3, 1809 and died Nov. 4, 1847.
Various Modern Works
The modern period consists of music written since about 1910. Composers of this time period have written music with drastic differences in style and works. Alban Berg's "Violin Concerto," Arnold Schoenberg's "Violin Concerto," John Adams' "Violin Concerto," Philip Glass's "Violin Concerto" and Kevin Ure's "The Garden Tower" are examples of modern violin music.
- Violinwizard: Violin Music, Composers and Violin Sheet Music
- "Music in Western Civilization; Wright, Craig; Yale University; 2006
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
How to Play Canon in D on the Violin
Pachelbel's "Canon in D" is an extremely popular piece for stringed instruments that is often played at weddings and other social gatherings....
Famous Saxophone Instrumental Pieces
The saxophone was conceived and first assembled by19th century Belgian clarinetist Adolphe Sax. Seeking to strike a balance between woodwind and brass...
Famous Trombone Pieces
The trombone is a cylindrical brass instrument, with a fairly low range and a distinctive slide that can be used to change...
Five Most Famous Classical Composers
An easy way to get lovers of classical music to break out into fisticuffs is to ask them to name the five...