If you are a violinist, or lover of classical music, you will find it almost impossible to narrow down your top 7 best violin pieces.
After all, most of us can easily come up with 20 or more violin pieces we absolutely love. However, in order to drum up interest in the violin and classical music, you can’t overwhelm people with a list of 100 of the best violin pieces they should listen to.
You have to narrow it down to the best of the best. The ones that you believe will capture their attention, and their imagination. But keep in mind these may not be the right songs for a beginner player.
With that being said, it was extremely difficult to narrow down the top 7 violin pieces you must hear before you die.
We also know that this article may cause some controversy. After all, no two people will probably agree on what the top 7 pieces are.
And that’s okay. We are always open to a healthy, respectful debate.
So now it's time for the fun part. We tried our best to cover a variety of classical pieces. From romantic, to the darker compositions, you are sure to find it all here.
1. Paganini Caprice No. 1
The “Arpeggio”, which is the first of many caprices for solo violin by Paganini, is quite difficult to play. However, it is still a piece that you will want to listen to over and over again.
Not only does the piece stretch the player to limits they aren’t used to, but it also encourages the audience to use their ears and imagination to really enjoy the piece.
Paganini was the type of violinist who really enjoyed pushing himself past what he perceived to be his limits.
This is why he would often compose pieces that he himself found difficulty in mastering at first.
This particular piece shows the dedication Paganini had to each piece he created. And though the Paganini Caprice No. 1 is not all that well known, it is one of the most joyous tunes you will ever hear.
2. Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
The Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto is one Tchaikovsky’s most well known pieces. It is also one of the hardest to play.
If you are a true classical music lover, you will love every minute of this 35 minute piece. It will be like heaven to you.
While the overall length of the song is 35 minutes, it is split into 3 continuous movements. And though Tchaikovsky wrote it in 1878, it wasn’t played for the first time until 1881, by Adolph Brodsky in Vienna.
This piece was the result of a very tumultuous time in Tchaikovsky’s life. You can hear the range of emotions he was going through in the extreme highs and serious lows.
The ending however is uplifting and signifies he was able to come out of the situation a better person.
There is a good chance you have heard this concerto in a lot of films and TV shows.
3. Concerto No. 1 in a minor, Dmitri Shostakovich
This piece is lovely and sad at the same time. When you first hear it, it will take your emotions to a place they have never been before.
Over the years many soloists have fallen in love with its melancholic tones. They try to do it justice, but not all succeed.
Shostakovich wrote this piece in a time where portraying your feelings was frowned upon.
His home country was under communist rule and everyone was supposed to stay quiet. Shostakovich showed a great deal of courage by writing this piece.
No matter what genre of music you like, you are sure to enjoy this three movement concerto.
4. Concerto in D Major, Ludwig van Beethoven
Ever heard of Beethoven? Of course you have.
This legend has no doubt inspired us all with this uplifting concerto. And while we all know what Concerto in D Major is now, when it was first played in 1806 it was not received all that well by the audience.
It wasn’t until 1844, when Joseph Joachim played it, that it started to become popular.
There are 3 movements in this concerto. The first one is a 25 minute introduction. And while that sounds like a long introduction, you will be so mesmerized you won’t realize how long it was.
It took some time to catch on, the audiences all over the world started to love the energy and power of this piece.
5. Concerto No. 5 in A Major, W.A. Mozart
Mozart was a musical genius.
I included this particular piece on the list because it is so vibrant and uplifting.
In the beginning of the piece there is a solo violin that plays during the opening adagio. As the piece goes on the violin continues to gently play over the orchestra. It does so for the remainder of the piece.
When you hear this song a bright smile is sure to wash across your face. Not only for the violinist, but the audience as well.
Like many songs on this list, this one has three movements, and is around 30 minutes long.
6. Mendelssohn Violin Concerto
The best way to describe the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto is with two words, enchanting and amazing.
The amazing part comes from the fact that Mendelssohn wrote this piece when he was just 13 years old. And enchanting because of the joyous way the song is structured.
If you are new to playing the violin, this concerto will make you fall in love with your instrument. It will make you feel like you are going on a romantic journey.
If you have been playing the violin for some time, you will have a deeper adoration for your instrument once you play this piece.
Each note in the concerto is like its own little character. By the end of the piece, it will feel like you just watched an entire Shakespearean comedy.
If you are a soloist, you will love this piece as it actually invites you to make it your own.
7. The Bach Chaconne in D Minor
No one really knows exactly when this piece was written. But it is believed that Bach wrote it between 1717 and 1720.
And unlike most songs on this list, The Bach Chaconne in D Minor has five movements, with each one having its own identity.
From the very first note of the piece, you will be captivated by the spirituality of the song. It will take both you, and the audience, on an emotional roller coaster.
This is probably one of the most structurally sounding violin pieces ever written. That’s why so many soloists love it.
If you are a teacher looking for a way to challenge your students, this piece will help you do that.
If you have never heard of The Bach Chaconne in D Minor, I suggest you go listen to it now. It will change your musical life.
And there you have it, the top 7 violin pieces we believe everyone needs to hear before they die. Do you agree with our list? Which ones would be on yours?