Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63, 1st movement
In this masterclass, Professor Garlitsky and student Pauline Van der Rest examine Sergueï Prokofiev's violin Concerto N°2 in G minor, a piece written in 1935 for solo violin and orchestra.
Firstly, Garlitsky advises his student to relax while playing and respect the intended tempo. The melody must be rounder, and professor Garlitsky encourages his student to take her time. Other elements discussed include playing with a light right hand and playing effectively with the orchestra.
Knowing and following the orchestral parts.
Played relaxed and maintaining a soft right hand.
Keeping up with a fast and lively tempo.
Avoiding cutting oneself off.
Producing a round sound.
This violin concerto was written in 1935 by Russian composer Sergueï Prokofiev and has three movements.
It premiered in December 1935 in Madrid and was a great success. The piece is scored for solo violin and a small orchestra and is sometimes said to have been inspired by traditional Russian folk music. The violinist must take his time to play this concerto well and find its “sound” which is round, warm, and lively.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this violin masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Boris Garlitsky’s feedback and comments.
In 1982 he was the winner of the Premio Paganini in Italy.
Born in Russia, Boris Garlitsky received his first music lessons from his father, the author of the standard textbook for young violinists, “Step by Step”. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory, and debuted as a soloist after winning the Italian Paganini Competition in 1982. Since then, he has played, among others, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Radio Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, as well as the Milan based Giuseppe Verdi Orchestra and the British Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Garlitsky is an active participant in several international music festivals. He regularly participates in the Pablo Casals Festival in France, mostly Mozart in New York, the London Proms, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and Gidon Kremer’s Chamber Music Festival at Lockenhaus in Austria. What’s more, Garlitsky performs for the BBC, Radio France, as well as a number of radio stations in Italy, Russia, and the United States. He has recorded for RCA, Naxos, Chandos and Polymnie. Furthermore, Garlitsky is devoted to chamber music and is a member of the Hermitage String Trio, praised highly in critical reviews.
Presently, Garlitsky is a dedicated educator. He holds a chair at the Folkwang Universität der Künste, Essen (Germany), and offers masterclasses on a yearly basis at the most renowned music institutions, including the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Hanns Eisler Musikhochschule in Berlin, and Kronberg Academy.
Sergei Prokofiev was a pianist and composer, born in Sontsovka (present-day Ukraine) in 1891. Naturally gifted, he began composing at an early age, and by 11 years old, he had already written two operas and a series of small piano pieces that he endearingly called his “little puppies.” His composition style became more complex over time, using unconventional time signatures and key changes.
His formal musical education began under the tutelage of Reinhold Glière. At 13, he began his studies at the Conservatory in St Petersburg. Upon completing his studies at the Conservatory, he won first prize (the Rubinstein Prize) with his first piano concerto, although the decision was not unanimous. While celebrated by some critics for being modern and avant-garde, Prokofiev’s compositions were not enjoyed by all. After completing his studies, Sergei Prokofiev traveled to London, where he met Diaghilev of the Ballet Russes, and Igor Stravinsky, who was writing ballet music for Diaghilev at the time. Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring made a particular impact on Prokofiev, notably in his compositions. The young composer wrote the opera The Gambler, based on a novel by Alekseï Alekseïevitch Broussilov, but the orchestra and singers struggled to understand the music, and refused to perform it. Prokofiev wrote his First Symphony, also known as the Classical Symphony, which resembles music from the Classical period, such as the works by Joseph Haydn. This work became internationally acclaimed and is still a very popular symphony today.
After living in New York for a few years to escape the chaos ensuing back home in Russia, Prokofiev eventually returned to Western Europe, proposing a ballet to Diaghilev in Paris. His ballet, now known as the Scythian Suite was not well received by Diaghilev. He wrote another ballet, The Tale of the Buffoon as well as his Third Piano Concerto, which were very popular, especially the latter.
Despite Prokofiev’s successful reputation in Western Europe, he returned to the Soviet Union after being beckoned by some of his contemporaries. Life was not easy for artists at the time. In spite of this, Prokofiev managed to write many of his major works during the Second World War, including but not limited to War and Peace (based on the novel by Tolstoy), Betrothal in a Monastery, and more.
Sergei Prokofiev died on March 5, 1953, of a brain hemorrhage. Due to the fact that Josef Stalin died on the same day, Prokofiev’s death was barely mentioned and went largely unnoticed in the media.