Violin Concerto No. 1
Professor Pavel Vernikov and student Simon Song-Sil Exbrayat examine Max Bruch’s Concerto No. 1 finale in this masterclass for violin. The pair discuss Bruch’s Hungarian-style oeuvre as well as his influence on Johannes Brahms. The piece is vivid, bright and complex and Exbrayat is advised to pay particular attention to the tone of the piece.
Vernikov cautions against working too much for too little results, and states that it should be the opposite. Additionally, he recommends better posture and the importance of relaxing one’s shoulders while maintaining focus.
Finding the tone and intention of the music.
Capturing the Hungarian style.
Remaining calm and relaxed.
When playing, avoid over exertion.
This Violin Concerto by German romantic composer Max Bruch is one of the most famous pieces in the solo violin repertoire. It was written in 1866 and premiered in April 1866 by Otto von Königslow with Bruch conducting. The piece was revised substantially in the following years and is structured like a typical concerto, in three movements.
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 Pavel Vernikov’s feedback and comments.
He won the ARD International Violin Competition in Munich and the Grand Prix at the “Vittorio Gui” International Violin Competition in Florence 2016.
Pavel Vernikov, a student of David Oistrach and S. Snitkowsky, gained his reputation as a virtuoso violinist over twenty years ago. Some prominent prizes he has won include, but are not limited to: the International ARD Violin Competition in Munich and the Grand Prix at the International Violin Competition “Vittorio Gui” in Florence.
What’s more, Vernikov has appeared in many prestigious venues, such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, La Salle Gaveau in Paris, La Scala in Milan, and Santa Cecilia in Rome. For the last 30 years he has been a member of the Tchaikovsky Trio. His artistic partners include Sviatoslav Richter, James Galway, Alain Meunier, and more.
He was the Artistic Director of the Gubbio Music Festival, the Dubrovnik Chamber Music Festival and the Eilat Chamber Music Festival. He teaches and gives masterclasses around the world in Italy, France, Finland, Spain (Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia Madrid), Israel (Rubin Academy), Germany (Kronberg Academy), and more. In addition, he has been invited to be a jury member at numerous international competitions (Szigeti, Kreisler, Gui, ARD-Competition in Munich, Sendai (Japan), Budapest, Sarasate, Wieniawski, etc.). Pavel Vernikov has recorded for RCA, Ondine, and Dynamic.
As an educator, Vernikov was the professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon. Currently, he is a professor of the highly esteemed Konservatorium Wien University, and at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Lausanne, site de Sion. His alumni consist of acclaimed musicians. Among them are: Massimo Quarta (1. Prize Paganini International Violin Competition, Genua), Fumiaki Miura (1. Prize Hannover International Violin Competition), Lorenza Borrani (Leader of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe), Fanny Clamagirand (1. Prize Fritz Kreisler International Violin Competition, Vienna and 1. Prize International Monte Carlo Violin Competition), and Miki Kobayashi (2. Prize Wieniawski Competition). In 2013, he was appointed Artistic Director of the Sion Festival in Switzerland.
Max Bruch (1838-1920) was a German composer, conductor, and educator. Born in Cologne, he began composing at a young age, winning the Frankfurt Mozart-Stiftung Prize to study with composers such as Ferdinand Hiller and Carl Reinecke. In 1858, he composed his first opera, Scherz, List und Rache, which spurred his teachers to suggest that he travel Germany as a composer. His first temporary home was in Mannheim, where he composed a number of popular choral works.
Bruch then became the music director at the Koblenz court from 1865-7, where he befriended violinists such as Joseph Joachim and Pablo Sarasate. With their guidance, he produced several works for violin, though it is his first concerto that has lasted the test of time. It is still frequently performed today and is the composer’s greatest claim to fame. After holding another music director position at Sondershausen from 1867-70, Bruch worked as a freelance composer for the better part of the next decade. He wrote over 200 works over the course of his career in many genres, though he continued to write in the traditionally Romantic style of Brahms and Mendelssohn well into the twentieth century. He was not supportive of the musical developments made by the composers who were part of the “New German School,” such as Wagner and Liszt, which eventually alienated him from the progressing classical music scene.
Bruch held several conducting positions throughout his career in Berlin, Liverpool, and Breslau. In 1890, he joined the faculty at the Hochschule für Musik, where he worked until 1911. He taught several important composers, such as Ralph Vaughan Williams and Ottorino Respighi. Bruch died in 1920. Though he never quite achieved his desired status as a composer, his legacy lives on in the beautiful Violin Concerto in G minor.