Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs), Op. 20

My interest in this song was piqued when I saw this performance on a double bass by Lauren Pierce. This is a showcase piece normally performed by violinists.

About the composition:

Zigeunerweisen is in one movement but can be divided into four sections, the first three in the key of C minor and the last in A minor, based on the tempi:

  1. Moderato – An imposing, virtuosic introduction with slow majestic energy by the orchestra, then a little softer by the violin itself.
  2. Lento – The violin plays in lugubrious lento 4/4. This section has an improvisational quality; the melody, which essentially consists of pairs of 4-bar phrases, is punctuated with difficult runs and other technically demanding figures, including flying spiccato and ricochet bowings.
  3. Un poco più lento – The muted soloist plays a melancholic melody with the so-called reverse-applied dotted note (1/16 + dotted 1/8 rhythm: sixteenth noteeighth note.), akin to the “Mannheim sigh” of the classical era; in 2/4 time.
  4. Allegro molto vivace – At this point, the piece becomes extremely rapid. The challenging solo part consists mainly of long spiccato runs, along with double stopsartificial harmonics and left-hand pizzicato; in 2/4 time.
 (source) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zigeunerweisen

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