Sad Violins
November 4, 2004 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend some good, sad violin music? Vocals optional, preferably female.
posted by ScarletSpectrum to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oooh...I second this question.

The first thing I thought of was Preisner, but that's hauntingly sad vocals, not violin. So, nevermind. But thanks for reminding me.

*puts on Requiem For My Friend*

*waits for better recommendations*
posted by frykitty at 7:33 PM on November 4, 2004


Barber's Adagio for Strings. It's not just violin, but it's good and sad.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:35 PM on November 4, 2004


The Dirty Three's Horse Stories. No vocal. Not all sad. Wonderful album though.

On preview, my suggestion is not classical.
posted by dobbs at 7:36 PM on November 4, 2004


The last movement of Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. No question.
posted by kenko at 7:41 PM on November 4, 2004


Bach D minor partita for solo violin, particularly the sarabande and the chaconne.

The second movement of the Bach A minor violin concerto, likewise the second of the D minor concerto for two violins.

Bloch's Kol Nidrei.

My own mournful noodling.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:42 PM on November 4, 2004


The Fantasia On An Ostinato [Beethoven] is good, as is the rest, here: Credo by Helene Grimaud

[seconds on the Barber Adagio as well]
posted by lilboo at 7:50 PM on November 4, 2004


(OK, no violin, but piano can work too, you know)
posted by lilboo at 7:55 PM on November 4, 2004


Gorecki's Symphony #3 (a/k/a the "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs").

Lizst "Consolation #3" as performed in the movie Together.

Any of Ives's violin sonatas. Brahms's Violin Concerto. Sibelius's Violin Concerto.

The violin theme from John Williams's score to Schindler's List. I am normally not a fan of Williams, but that theme is really haunting.

"Appalachian Farewell" (best known as the theme from the PBS series The Civil War).
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:00 PM on November 4, 2004


Rachel's?
posted by kickingtheground at 8:03 PM on November 4, 2004


Ok, I had a great comment lined up and then the browser crashed. This will not be great.

Interférence Sardines - Girafe (not "La Girafe", it's different).
If you can tolerate viola, look up the ECM albums "Lachrymae" and "Romances and Elegies for Viola & Piano".
Eyvind Kang's "Occultem Lapidem".
Third Ear Band - I've only heard the album Abelard & Heloise. This and the Kang are not solo violin.
Possibly Art Zoyd's "Divertissement", but it's not solo violin and it picks up a bit.
Carla Kihlstedt's "Last Resort" from Two Foot Yard.
Lots of Deathprod's music is based on a processed violin; try "Orgone Donor" from Morals + Dogma. The violin's heavily processed but you can still hear its essential violinity.
Hala Strana's "Stouthrief". Contains soft & warm distortion (like from a radio), soft piano, bass and guitars. Vaguely eastern European melody.
There's probably something by Iva Bittová that would get you where you're going but I couldn't name names.
The Masada String Trio will have stuff with a central violin focus (and actually the album Bar Kokhba might have solo violin on it) but I don't have any MST albums and I don't want to listen to Bar Kokhba right now, sorry.
Lou Harrison's String Quartet Set (except for the lively third movement).
Phil Kline's "The Funeral of Jan Palach" (from Zippo Songs). This contains male vocals but it's great. I urge you to disregard the maleness of the vocals. It's really an excellent song.
Some of Tin Hat Trio.
Nils Økland's "Hetervig Skisse" is the only thing by him I've heard (on a label comp), it's either beautifully sad or just beautiful depending on when you hear it. It's played on a Hardanger fiddle (with sympathetic strings). It's good.
posted by kenko at 8:37 PM on November 4, 2004


Thanks very much! Great recommendations, and lots to go on...better get started =)
posted by ScarletSpectrum at 8:54 PM on November 4, 2004


Rachmaninov's Vocalise
posted by saladin at 8:54 PM on November 4, 2004


"Appalachian Farewell" (best known as the theme from the PBS series The Civil War).

Just a wee correction -- it's called Ashokan Farewell; a gorgeous little waltz.
posted by transient at 9:06 PM on November 4, 2004




Arvo Pärt - Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten

Not just violin, but, quite sad. It's been MeFiPimped before, mostly after it was used in the 9/11 segment of Fahrenheit 9/11.
posted by rfordh at 1:09 AM on November 5, 2004


There's also a violin/piano version of Fratres by Pärt.

If you are interested in "strings in general", you could also check out the fifth movement of the Quartet For the End of Time. But then you'd be into Cello Concerto territory. In which case, there'd be Elgar's Cello Concerto to consider. And his Violin Concerto, come to that, and Serenade for Strings and many others. Also (if you did decide to expand the remit) the slow movements of string quartets by Bartok, Beethoven, Britten and other composers whose names don't begin with B. And Schubert's string quintet, D956.
posted by Grangousier at 1:54 AM on November 5, 2004


Thanks transient! I had the vague sense that wasn't right, but I was too lazy to look it up.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:08 AM on November 5, 2004


i always get to the party after the peanuts have been eaten (or spilled on the floor) and people are getting their coats.

here's my tuppence worth:

bruch's violin concerto number 1 is achingly beautiful.
also, in contemporary terms: a silver mt zion, and set fire to flames. both canadian, and both pretty sad.
posted by nylon at 7:08 AM on November 5, 2004


Berg violin concerto
posted by monkey closet at 7:13 AM on November 5, 2004


and, if a viola is acceptable, morton feldman's rothko chapel is absolutely incredible. it's scored for viola, chorus and percussion.
posted by nylon at 7:14 AM on November 5, 2004


Iva Bittova. Listen to some of her here. She can get pretty eclectic at times but her standard stuff is plaintive violin with some nice singing [in Czech]. The album she does with Pavel Fajt called Svatba is cwonderful but her solo stuff is nice too.
posted by jessamyn at 8:03 AM on November 5, 2004


Saddest violin song ever,

Ernest Bloch's "Baal Shem",
I can only find the orchestral version,
but on a solo violin it's beautiful and sad.
posted by milovoo at 9:01 AM on November 5, 2004


There are several hauntingly beautiful songs that fit that bill on Songs from a Secret Garden by Secret Garden. Absolutely worth a listen.
posted by widdershins at 9:05 AM on November 5, 2004


stuff by a silver mount zion. [see beneath the godspeed you! black emperor discog information.] i'd recommend their first album, "he has left us alone but shafts of light still sometimes grace the corners of our bedrooms". the music's in the form of two movements, i guess, and there's beautiful piano and violin throughout, with very few vocals. though the vocals are not female. there's a section entitled "stumble then rise on some awkward morning" in the first movement [which itself is called "lonely as the sound of lying on the ground of an airplane going down] that is simple but incredibly sad violin.

and really, anything by other related groups is worth hearing as well. do make say think, set fire to flames, godspeed you! black emperor, fly pan am, molasses... some beautiful instrumental stuff, mostly with a very wistful feel.
posted by ubersturm at 12:54 AM on November 6, 2004


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