10 Most Famous Sad Violin Pieces


As the author Aldous Huxley once said, “After silence, that which comes closest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Mankind has been expressing powerful emotions through music for thousands of years, and often the most emotional music is the most memorable. Violin music is no exception. These ten famous french violin for sale pieces have stood the test of time and helped countless people find meaning in grief, loss, and suffering.

#1 Theme from Schindler’s List by John Williams
In less than four minutes, the theme from Schindler’s List encapsulates one of the greatest human tragedies of all time. Although John Williams did not experience the Holocaust, his music conveys bleak hopelessness, but also the inherent meaning and purpose of human life. Few of us face sorrows as painful as the Jews’ imprisonment, but his music helps all of us to find hope in our suffering.

#2 Canzonetta from Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto
The two outer movements of this concerto are exceptionally famous and revered, but the middle movement shouldn’t be overlooked either. Compared to the other movements it is surprisingly simple on the surface but no less moving. “Canzonetta” means a short, light vocal piece. Tchaikovsky’s Canzonetta really does sound as though it was created for the human voice. The opening theme is hauntingly wistful, spilling over into a joyfully reminiscent melody. The climax of the short piece is dramatic but never quite comes to a final resolution, instead reverting to the sad opening melody.

#3 Samuel Barber’s Adagio
Barber’s Adagio has taken many forms. Originally, it was the second movement of his String Quartet in B Minor. Shortly after he arranged it for string orchestra under its famous title, Adagio for Strings. Now versions exist for many combinations of instruments, including solo violin. The long sustained lines and extended phrases make this a beautiful piece for practicing legato.

#4 Melodie from Orfeo et Euridice by Gluck/Kreisler
Orfeo ed Euridice is one of the saddest Greek tragedies, which Gluck turned into a very famous opera. The opera opens with Orfeo mourning the sudden death of his beautiful wife Euridice. The god of love takes pity on him and gives him permission to travel to Hades and bring her back to life, but on one condition: he cannot look at her face until they have reached the land of the living. As they ascend from the underworld, Euridice cannot understand why Orfeo will not look at her, and begs him to do so. Her pleas are too much for Orfeo, and just before they reach the top of the tunnel he turns around. Instantly Euridice is lost to him. In Gluck’s opera version (but not the original story), Cupid has pity on Orfeo and returns his wife to him as a reward for his love.

#5 Adagio from Bach’s Solo Violin Sonata No. 1
Similarly to Orfeo, J.S. Bach also experienced great tragedy when his first wife, Maria Barbara, died unexpectedly in 1720. This is the same time Bach began writing his famous solo violin sonatas. Sonata No. 1 in G Minor is a beautiful expression of loss, reflection, and healing. The 1st movement, Adagio, is particularly moving and shows Bach’s introspective character.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *