Interviews with Laurie Niles
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, Accompanied by One Violin
Most violin concertos are written for violin and orchestra, but practicing with orchestra is a mighty inconvenient proposition at any time -- particularly during a pandemic!
Of course, most players who want accompaniment turn to a pianist who uses a "piano reduction," a version in which the many instrumental voices of the orchestra are all condensed into one piano part. This works wonderfully, if you have a pianist on hand. But what if you don't? For example, I like to accompany my students when they play, but I don't play the piano.
What if there were....a "violin reduction" that allowed one violinist to be the "orchestra"?
I have some great news: there is!
Teaching with Duets: Martha Yasuda's Duet Arrangements of Suzuki Books 1-8 and More
"I think you're ready to play this with orchestra," I tell my students when they've reached a certain point with their current piece, be it "Lightly Row" or a movement from a Handel Sonata.
They know that at this juncture, I'm the orchestra. I reach for my duet books, and we take a ride together through their nearly-polished or recital-ready piece. Playing duet accompaniment provides opportunities that words can not: namely, communication through simultaneous music-making. Duet-accompanying also gives context to a student's efforts and allows me to support their music-making in a very literal way. It's a little different than accompanying at the piano, too, because I can model articulations, bowings and dynamics specific to the violin. (Also, I'm a much better violinist than I am pianist!)
Plus, I thoroughly enjoy it!
Read the entire in-depth interview.