Classical music digs up many emotions and memories from everyone. It has the ability to take you on an adventure or make you feel nostalgic. As a violinist I have listed 8 virtuoso violin works which is a must hear for everyone as these are one of the greatest works ever composed by our ancestors.
Chaconne from Partita no.2 in D minor BWV 1004 – Johann Sebastian Bach
Written in the early 1700’s the Chaconne from the final movement of Bach’s Partita no. 2 in D minor is a work not for the faint hearted. Its monumental status continues with its deep harmony changes and melodies that inspired many of the classical music we hear today. This is definitely one of the greatest works for solo violin and many violinists have said that this piece has a unique relationship with them as they continue to practice this masterpiece.
Violin Concerto D major Op. 61– Ludwig Van Beethoven
Beethoven, the giant he was in the music industry, has managed to compose a violin concerto, which towers over many violin virtuoso’s in the last 2 centuries. This work is definitely one of the greatest works and many top tier soloists have referred to this concerto as monumental, fearsome and soul touching.
Violin Concerto D major Op.35 – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto is a much-loved masterpiece by many violinists. This piece draws a range of beautiful tunes and melancholic melodies that will definitely put you in awe. When this piece was commissioned it received terrible reviews in the 1800’s, however now it is one of the most played virtuoso works in the world.
Violin Concerto in D minor Op.7 – Jean Sibelius
Another masterpiece that soared to the top lists is the Violin Concerto by Sibelius. As a violinist, we’re very grateful that this piece falls into the violin playing mechanics quite easily as the composer himself was a violinist. However, do not be fooled, as this is one hell of a difficult piece filled with virtuosic techniques.
Caprice No.24 – Niccolò Paganini
Niccolò Paganini was known as the ‘devil violinist’ in the 1700’s and still living up to that reputation these days. He pushed the technical boundaries of violin playing and composed many virtuosic works. The 24th caprice is the last of a set of caprices he wrote for solo violin and the virtuosity of the work will definitely frighten you.
Violin Concerto in D major Op. 77 – Johannes Brahms
A bold masterpiece by Brahms is never going to be missed. Beethoven, Brahms predecessor, influenced him to compose his work. Brahms’ violin concerto is very dramatic and in the top lists of violin works in classical music. The powerful yet beautiful melodies within this work bring forth a bouquet of emotions for violinists.
Violin Sonata no.9 – Ludwig Van Beethoven
From a set of 9 sonatas, this sonata was dedicated to the virtuoso violinist Kreutzer by Beethoven hence the name of the sonata. It is the longest sonata work and creates many emotions throughout each movement. The nuances and subtleties of this work bring great challenges to violinists and as a result one of the most difficult sonata repertoires.
Sonata no.3 ‘Ballade’ – Eugène Ysaÿe
Nothing better than a 5 minute work of intense harmonies and virtuosity. This masterpiece is not for the faint hearted and is definitely not music for study. Ysaÿewas a violinist from the 20th century who claimed to have mastered all the techniques from Bach to Debussy and then pushed the standard violin techniques even further with his outstanding composition skills. The melodies and harmonies are intertwined together, which requires the listener to focus attentively to discover the subtle control of balance and sound quality. This work will grow on you the more you listen to it.