As I’ve mentioned in my post from beginning of January, this year I am pursuing 40 pieces a year challenge. I want to regularly show my progress to save my nice memories and to be able to track my progress.
I have recorded January pieces that were my short term goals. I’ve chosen three pieces – Severn Polish Dance, that is stylized mazurka written in virtuosic style, Kreisler Rondino on a Theme by Beethoven and more modern sounding Lullaby by Vesselin Stoyanov. This month I’m little bit late with the post, but I’ll try to be more on time next month.

01. Severn – Polish Dance

Edmund Severn is quite unknown American composer. Despite that fact Polish Dance – his most famous composition found its place among the most popular violin pedagogical repertoire. This piece is written in the key of D major, but the middle section transposes to key of g minor. Piece is a nice introduction to left hand pizzicato, double stops, natural and artificial harmonics. Despite that many challenges its violinistically written, making it really approachable. It’s graded at level 7 by RCM.
I had much fun working on this piece. Virtuosic pieces are really pleasant to listen and that was for me a nice introduction to this style. I had problems with playing artificial harmonics on the e string, probably caused by the fact my violin is not really good.

02. Kreisler – Rondino on a Theme by Beethoveen

 Fritz Kreisler is one of legendary violinists from 20th century and author of multiple small salon pieces. It was composed around 1905 and first published in 1915. Piece is in the key of E flat major. Piece is slow and lyrical. That’s a nice study of phrasing combined with playing whole phrases on one string, but anyway it isn’t very hard. RCM grades it at 7th level.
It was really funny to work on this miniature. Getting one section on the g string was really challenging, but I managed to play it in a nice way. I really enjoyed the outcome.

03. Stoyanov – Lullaby

When I was looking through one of old Russian by Fortunatov, I wasn’t expecting that I will find there this small masterpiece. I found only five recordings of this piece on the internet, so I decided that I must make a piano accompaniment for this piece. It took me some time to complete. It is composed in neoromantical style that I really enjoy. I really want to find and play more pieces like that.
That was a nice study in vibrato and lyrical phrasing. It wasn’t really hard, but had a nice short phrase in 5th position. The ornaments wasn’t hard to execute. I really liked a transposition one octave lower after the second theme. I am really excited to share the result.


Working in three/four months pieces rotation that I had last two years was really nice to work really deeply on a single piece. Right now I don’t have so much time to complete one piece, but anyway I really like the results. I am doing my best to polish the piece as much as I can. Playing more things is enjoyable for me, since after some time in pieces can become very boring and playing them leads to opposite results. I am really happy that I decided to pursue this challenge.
I was little bit late with my progress video this month, but I’ll try to improve next month. I am really satisfied that I have completed three pieces this month. I just finished first semester finals and I have winter holidays in February, so I will have opportunity to work more on something harder this month.
I am planning to work on Accolay Concerto in a minor this month (I am working on memorising the whole piece right now) – RCM 8 and Gigue by Vercianni from Suzuki book 5 – RCM 7. I am thinking about something special this month, but I am not sure if I’ll manage to complete it this month. I am excited to learn those things!

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Hi! I am late teen beginner. I've started playing violin one month before my 17th birthday. I am playing since September 2014. Before I tried to self-taught guitar for about two years.

11 thoughts on “40 pieces a year challenge – January Summary

  1. Hi Emma, that’s awesome! Despite being so busy you were able to learn 3 pieces in a month! And the Polish Dance was a pretty long piece too. It seems very complicated to me with all the double stops, wooow! I was wondering what you did at 2:40. Your hand goes over the strings and touches it a couple of times but I didn’t hear much. Was it for some special effect?

    I loved the Lullaby by Stoyanov. It sounds very dreamy, and it was so beautiful with the piano accompaniment. Your great intonation helps very much to make this piece sound good! This was my favorite of the 3 pieces you recorded.

    Good luck with Accolay!!! The Gigue is much fun, I’ve been working on it too. :-) But I left it to work on something else now. I’m learning the Concertino Op 21 by Rieding. It’s such a cool piece!

  2. Hi Mariko :)
    That’s funny what’s happened on 2:40 – I recorded this piece with a mute on and it started buzzing so I tried blindly to press it in a free moment and undercalculated the movement. The Polish Dance sounds much harder than it actually is. It was written by violinist and those double stops aren’t that hard.
    The lullaby by Stoyanov was unexpected discovery for me and I think it’s also my favourite piece out of this three, despite the fact it’s the easiest. Thanks for compliments.
    I am planning to record gigue this week and Accolay next week to give myself some time with my special project. I underestimated the tempo of the gigue. That’s funny, I am working on my special project for about a week now and I’ve got it preety much memorised (I think I’ll do it this month), but I still struggle to memorise whole Accolay concerto. I will probably end up playing Accolay from sheet music. Rieding Hungarian concerto is really beautiful and it’s really long. Do you play the whole piece?

    1. Ah that is funny indeed. I really thought you were doing something special but couldn’t figure out what it was. ;-) I’m looking forward to hear your special project!!
      Yes, the idea is to play the whole Rieding Concerto. It is long indeed but it’s so beautiful. And it would be great to learn the whole concerto. However I won’t be able to do that in 1 month, so I will take 2 months for this one. Since I really like it, I won’t get easily bored with it :-) There is 6 pages in total. So far I’ve been working very well on the first 2 pages. Pages 3 and 4 I’m learning now. So I still have a lot of work to do.

      1. Rieding Concerto sounds quite hard. It’s also as long as Accolay – it also has 6 pages and playing them all correctly is a real challenge. How are you doing with it now?

        1. Hi Emma, the Rieding Concerto is not so hard. I don’t know how it compares with Accolay since I’ve not learned that one yet. For me the main difficulty in the Rieding Concertino is the shifting. There is a lot of shifting, and most of the time it’s in 16th note passages. So to get those shifts clean is pretty challenging. The key in which it is played also changes a couple of times. And there are the notes C and D on the E string that have to be played forte. And I always make them crack because I push down too much. I’m so excited to play forte that I press my bow too much. So I have to work on playing with nicer tone on the E string.

          But so far I can now play all 6 pages. I just have to work on all the details now and then gradually speeding up. I hope I can manage in the next 3 weeks, because I really want to record it for my next progress video.

          Later today I hope to be able to listen to your videos!! Looking forward to it!

  3. Hi Mariko,

    I’ve discovered your blog and I’ve been reading it little by little in the past days. I’m enjoying your writing and your journey very much.

    This lullaby is a beautiful composition by Stoyanov, and the way you play it is lovely.

    Where can I purchase the sheet music for it?

    Thank you,
    Anne Marie

    1. Hi Anne Marie, so nice to meet you! I’m very happy that you like my blog. :-) This specific post is from Emma. She plays very well indeed! I’m sure she will be able to help you with the sheet music. I hope she sees your comment seen so you can play this piece too.
      What other pieces are you working on now Anne Marie?

  4. Hi Mariko,

    I’m working on many things… Here are a few:

    Regarding freedom of movement of the left fingers and intonation-
    Corelli Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Allegro and
    Corelli Sonata No. 3 in C Major, Allegro

    They are bound together with other pieces in a book called, Twenty-six Composers Teach the Violinist: Creative etudes from well-known literature. It’s compiled by William Starr.

    The other piece I’ve been spending wonderful time with is the Bach Bouree, the last piece in Suzuki Book 3, from Bach Cello Suite No. 3, 5th movement (transcribed for violin). I have it memorized now, so I’m purely playing it for musical expressiveness and joy!

    1. That’s wonderful! It’s great that you are combining the etudes with pieces, or use the pieces to work on some specific technique. I love the Bach Bourree. It’s very nice! Have fun with it!

      1. Hi Anne Marie,

        I’m sorry for not responding to you so long. I’m glad that you liked Lullaby by Stoianov as I did. I found this piece in Russian book Junyj Skripacz part 2 (Young Violinist 2). I got my book from my teacher and I don’t know if they are still selling printed version, but I found eBook googling юный скрипач выпуск 2. I’m not fluent Russian speaker, I understand a bit since my native language is partially intelligibile with it.
        You are playing really nice pieces right now. I really like Corelli sonatas!

        I’m sorry once again for making you wait that long for a response.

  5. Thank you, Emma!

    I’m feeling especially lucky right now because I’m in Ithaca, New York, at the Suzuki Summer Institute. Violin, viola, cello all day… all night! It’s wonderful to be in a setting with people from all over the world. My daughter is 9 years old, and she’s participating in the institute.

    No worries about taking some time. Life is like that!

    Anne Marie

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