How to celebrate with Aleksey Igudesman!

Reading time: 2 min. Aleksey Igudesman

Aleksey Igudesman might reasonably be described as a modern day Victor Borge. With his cabaret partner, Hyung-ki Joo, he has toured concert halls all over the world, wringing all that is humorous out of classical music with just the basic tools of violin and piano. The Happy Birthday Variations for violin and piano are dedicated to his good friend, the late Sir Roger Moore and are typical of Igudesman’s brand of humour. They take the internationally known musical greeting on a world-wide tour, from a Viennese Waltz, through a Big Band number, a Bulgarian Vivace in 7/8, a Russian Presto, a Tango and an Alpine Air to conclude in a Paganini-esque finale that’s not quite as difficult as it looks. A great concert showpiece for intermediate students, not least if someone in the audience is celebrating a special day! Or, if the teacher prefers to play the violin, Igudesman’s The Soloist’s Ultimate Happy Birthday (UE37199) does a different but equally funny job for violin duet.

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Happy Birthday Variations for violin and piano by Aleksey Igudesman


Aleksey Igudesmans next piece is called The Soloist’s Ultimate Happy Birthday but the sub-title says it all. “How to turn 13 famous violin concertos into Happy Birthday in under three minutes”. Listeners will have great fun, first spotting the famous snippets of the 13 concertos, from Bach to Berg, then picking out how Aleksey weaves the familiar birthday tune into the music. Will it be in the tune or in the accompaniment? The two violinists share equal billing, taking turns to introduce either the concerto or the interloper. Igudesman’s own mastery of the violin means he knows exactly how far he can push his players without making too many demands of their technique. There is more fun to be had by one student, with their teacher on the piano, in Igudesman's Happy Birthday Variations for violin and piano (UE37117).

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The Soloist's Ultimate Happy Birthday for 2 violins by Aleksey Igudesman

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