Continuing the discussion of good violin music!
I would suggest having a special listening assignment each week in addition to the daily listening to the Suzuki CD/your current pieces. Find a violin piece each week to listen to and tell your teacher about it in the lesson! Be sure to tell your teacher the violinist/group that played, the name of the piece and the composer too. That's important information to know!
Now onto more music...
Music from the Romantic period is very emotional, intense, and virtuosic, all the stuff kids go for. It really shows off what the violin can do. There are literally HUNDREDS of pieces I could list here, so I’m just going to mention a few of the major concertos that are an absolute must for listening.
Violin Concerto in E Minor by F. Mendelsohnn: This is one of the greatest pieces ever written for violin. Of the artists who have recorded this, my favorites are Isaac Stern, Nathan Milstein, and Yehudi Menuhin. There are a number of current violinists who have done great recordings of this piece too. Kyung-Wha Chung, Sarah Chang, etc. I would avoid Joshua Bell’s recording as he changed parts that really should not be changed…He's a fantastic musician worth listening to, so check out some of his other recordings!
Brahms Violin Concerto: I love David Oistrakh’s rendition of this, although pretty much every good violinist out there will probably have a recording of this amazing piece. I also like Ida Haendel’s version, although that’ll be hard to find I think. I like this concerto even more than the Mendelssohn, if that’s possible. It’s one of the most difficult violin concertos.
The Sibelius Violin Concerto: This piece is amazing. I have been listening to Jasha Heifetz play this and it really makes me want to go practice more so I can learn it. (Heifetz usually has that effect on violin players!) The second movement is especially beautiful. I believe that Leonid Kavokos also has some good recordings of this piece. He’s one of my favorite living violinists and he often comes to perform in St. Louis. He’s definitely worth checking out. Disclaimer though: his posture and position of his bow arm are both atrocious even though he plays amazingly well. I guess it’s a freak of nature…
The Tchaikovsky Concerto: This is probably the most famous violin concerto. David Oistrakh and Itzhak Perlman both do AWESOME things with this piece. I grew up listening to Isaac Stern’s recording of it with the Philidelphia Symphony, so I’m partial to that recording too.
Brahms Sonatas for Violin and Piano: I have to mention these even though they are not concertos. These are astonishingly beautiful. My favorite is No. 1 in G major. The first movement is…there aren’t words for it… Also check out the Franck Sonata for Violin and Piano. (The one in A major) The fourth movement is heavenly.
There’s also a lot of great short violin pieces (around 2-3 minutes) from the Romantic period that would be good for kids to hear. I’ll mention those another day as well.
I’m out of time to tell you about the 20th century music for violin, although much of that would be less appealing to kids anyway, but there is some that is tonal and quite enjoyable.
This should get you started. Talk to your teachers if you have questions about what would be good for your child. Also check in with us if you need help choosing what artist to hear. There are a number of amazing violinists both from the past as well as those alive today that are really essential for any good violin music library. I’ll get a comprehensive list of them later.