Variation 31

ID 5237

This variation is marked portando glissando and challenges our use of artistic sliding.

Ševčík’s 40 op. 3 variations were published in 1894, a time when violinists paid a great deal of attention to refined and nuanced sliding between notes.  This sliding was sometimes notated as portando, portamento or glissando, or of course was not notated at all, but the sophisticated player was expected to show their artistic carrying of the voice from one note to the next.

The recordings of the great 19th century violinist Joseph Joachim made towards the end of life give us a glimpse of how violinists who were contemporaries of Ševčík would have used glissando. When practicing glissando in this variation think about the distance of the interval and whether the phrase is getting louder or softer and work towards developing a range of glissando colours.

‘Violin Technique and Performance Practice in the Late 18th and Early 19th Centuries’
by Robin Stowell, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1985