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Posts posted by DR. S

  1. I do notice that as we get older in my community orchestra stand hogging becomes more of a problem.  Harder to see them itty bitty notes, especially with so much music now on 8.5 x 11 sheets.  Some of our more resourceful members go down to Fed-Ex office and enlarge the music.  When I was young I just let the older stand partners move the stand where they could see it, my eyes were good enough to compensate, but now, while not terrible - even with my 'bionic' eyes, it's a bit more of a struggle, sharps/natural confusion is the first thing to happen. 

  2. When you have few rehearsals, get the music at the last minute and it has difficutl passages, fingerings, while they should be kept to a minimum, can really help out, especially for us who do it as an advocation and don't have 4-6 hours a day to practice because we support our hapit with a full time job outside of music, but there is a problem when music is shared and each uses different fingerings.  The way we handle it is the person who 'owns' the music - usually the outside player puts fingerings on top and the inside player on the bottom. The smart inside player will mark their fingerings in their practice copy just where they would put them in the performance copy.  And again, these fingering will be minimal and only in a few spots. As far as bowings and musical notations, I really do not understand MikeCanada's issues,  The more the better.  I find the higher level of professional I play with the more marked up, in this respect, the music gets.  Look at Bernstein's library of marked parts from the NYP, highly marked and even a fingering or two - they are available online for free - very interesting browsing.  Often some very funny quips written in the margins - such as in the Planets most of the parts had writtien in them a tacet movement - "Earth, the bringer of Fools" or someother clever title. 

    By the way, I have never once had a standpartner from Hell,  Every single one has been pleasant and easy to get along with, and we are talking many, many standpartners over the last 45.  Maybe its just me. :-)  But then who knows, maybe I am the Standpartner from Hell for them.

  3. I like this one better.  As much due to the very good accompaniment as the style of the performance.  Sparkles more.




    Not dissing the Hahn performance at all.  Just love this one. Many traditionalists may not think it is stylistically valid, but I like Mozart with lots of energy and sparkle.  And the use of modern style with older music is a topic all of it's own.  Personally whle I find 'period' performances interesting, after a while they get boring and stale.   I can live without hearing another Mozart or Beethoven piano concert on a period instrument which frankly sounds exactly like it is being played on someone's grandmother's spinnet.


    I think Mozart or Beethoven, if they heard a modern Steinway, would absolutely think you were crazy to use their instruments. 

  4. When I was in New York, the NYP was not so good.  It was a demoralized group who hated their conductor and in a good part eachother.   So saying the Juilliard Orchestra, in 1980, was better was not like saying the Shepherd School Orchestra, 2013, is better than the Berliner.   The point was that many Conservatory Orchestras do often give top flight performances.  However, there is more to a peformance quality than technical specs of intonation, etc.   There is enthusiasm and musical expression that also come into play.   I really liked this Shepherd School Performance.

  5. Stephen, that is a FANTASTIC performance.   Often the very best orchestral performances come out of the Universities and Conservatories, more detail rehearsal time, highly motivated, excited as well as skilled intrumnetalists.  When I was at Juilliard, it was widely accepted by the most msuically saavy that the very best perfromances one could go to in NYC were those of the Juilliard Orchestra.

    Crazy Jane - Lin is and has been in the very top echelon for decades.   He was a student when I was at Juilliard, and even then, (we called him Jimmy then) we knew he was very special - along with David Kim and Nadia Sonnenberg-Salierno (sp).  I saw a peformance of Isaac Stern and Friends where Stern had Lin play a double concerto with him (Bach I think).    Lin played circles around Stern, which, to Stern's credit, never made him shy away from inviting the best yound talent he came across for his concerts - he was a great man and mentor, but well into his twilight years as a violinist. 

  6. I strongly recommend that you proceed.  Mozart as well as Haydn, Stamitz, Beethoven, and other classical composers of the time wrote music that on the surface does not always seem that difficult, notewise.   But the difficutly is in the control and finesse needed to pull it off well, and thus is the wonderful learning opportunity to study a work that has notes you can technically manage but will stretch your musical and bow control abilities to beyond your limits.  It is very cerebral music and requires such a touch to make it dance and soar as it should.  Go for it, but be a watchmaker, not a blacksmith.   My orchestral skills were honed in college by a brilliant conductor who used Mozart extensively for the same reasons to train his orchestras in dynamcis, instant response, clean notes, and to think, move, and breath as a single organism. 


    Find recordings of Jose Luis Garcia and the English Chamber Orchestra.  In my opinion he/they were among the best authorities in these works. 

  7. I often wondered how anyone could possibly do this, until the day I did it.  Lots of gigs, lots of equipment, in a hurry, set stuff of the ground, opened the trunk, put the stuff in, jumped in the car to drive off to my next engagement.  Luckily a colleque was just a minute or two behind me, in the same (luckily) remote/lttile used parking lot, saw my instrument sitting there and picked it up and called me that they had it.  I still had not realized I had left it.  My heart practically stopped when I realized what I had done.  Once in almost 50 years is a pretty good percentage of reliability, but still once too many.   Now leaving music at home or grabbing the wrong music has happened a few times - not often, but a few times and that is really embarrassing.

  8. You need to follow your heart and do what you love, but I'm going to give you the truth - in relation to classical music.  It is very late to get serious.  Whether you can do it depends on many things.  How well did you take to the instrument before you 'got serious?'  If you were a natural and generally had good instincts and reasonably good technique, then it may be possible, if you are exceptionally talented AND work very hard and smart.   (I would add Schradieck fluency exercises as well). 


    I'm going to tell you a bit about my background to make a point:  I started in 4th grade, got my first private teacher in 6th grade and was always considered very talented, but I did not get serious and start practicing regularly until the summer between 9th and 10th grade.  I played viola and while I achieved quite a bit, All-State all 4 years - 1st stand my Junior year, principal violist my senior year, invited to join the local professional orchestra my senior year, I struggled with poor training - I was not nearly as good as I could have been, and was getting by on talent mostly.  Late in my senior year, the new Concertmaster of the Symphony Orchestra, who was a Galamian student and had been a teaching assitant to both Galamian and Delay took an interest in me and invited me to attend a summer camp to study with him.  In 10 weeks he taught me from the gound up - literally going back to open strings,  All I did all day for the next 4 years was practice.  I spent my first two years at a local college, who had just hired a new viola teacher, who turned out to be quite good and continued the work started that summer.  Then I auditioned for and was accepted to a major music conservatory where I completely immersed myself.   My late start (and perhaps limited physical skills in this area) meant that I would never quite be as technically proficient as many of the other players who started earlier and had better tutelage, but I was good enough to play in any orchestra in the world as a section player at least, and I was gifted with a stand out sound, a wonderful instrument, and natural musicality.    But I could only have made it on viola - violin, no way.  This was in the late 1970's early 1980's.  And the bar has raised quite a bit since then in the skill sets kids are bringing to auditions for the few good jobs.  So you need to be able to seriosuly and objectively be able to compare what you have relative to other players, as a reference for where you need to work.  For classical music, as a soloist or an orchstra player, in a good orchestra that pays well, you need to be able to technically nail all the orchestra literature, and have a concentration and focus that allows you to make very, very few mistakes, if you can do this it doesn't matter if someone can play a paganinni caprice better than you (I could never play one at all).  If you maybe are not quite as technically developed, but develop a beautiful sound and musicality, you can probably still find a way to make it work.  As for other styles of music, I plead ignorance, but do encourage you to explore widely and broaden your horizons, but as for your Clasical training do not loose focus, the technical skills you delvelop can be used in any type of music, if you can learn the mental aspects of that style or type of music making.  Seek out the very best teachers and attend teh most reputable schools, because like it or not, thsi does open up doors and opportunities.   I was accepted for every audition I applied for, striaght out of school without having to send a prescreening tape, simply because of the school I went to and the teachers I had.   However, I burned myself out, and by the time I rediscoverd my love for playing I was an Engineer working in Aerospace - it supports my habit quite nicely, and was not a bad path at all.

  9. A little late, but for shear strength to weight, nothing beats Carbon Fiber.  However, it does have to be manufactured properly to take full advantage of the potential of the material, properly designed with quality resins and layed up without voids.  Wood laminate can be very strong, but again it must be manfactured very well with high quality materials - wood AND the glue used to bond it all together, and for the same stregth it will be quite a bit heavier than Carbon Fiber, or in other words, to get the same quality protection in a wood case, it will be heavy, no way around it. One plus for wood though is the way it fails, it doesn't lose all it's strength the second it breaks so even after being damaged it can still offer some protection, and minor damage is not a big deal.  But if yor carbon fiber case takes an exceptionally hard blow you really need to replace it to assure the adequate protection is maintained because you can't always see the damage, it might be in matrix (the glue that binds it all together) or an internal delamination between layers of the carbon fabric.  However, it is carbon fiber shells that keep race car drivers alive hitting walls at 200+ miles an hour.

  10. Her was considered the greatest concertmaster.   My teacher, William Lincer, told me a story of his auditon for concertmaster of the Boston.   At the time of the auditons he was sitting in the back of the violins - perhaps even the 2nds (?).  The outgoing concertmaster had recommended him for the audition.  He played through his prepared works beautifully and the committee, skeptical about this young man, started placing sightreading material in front of him.  Each time he played it flawlessly, obviously very familiar with the work.  Piece after piece they placed in front of him, and he performed each one perfectly.  Finally the old concertmaster chuckles and turns to the committee and tells them that they are not going to find a piece he does not know because he has dedicated himself to studying the orchestra literature.  He was also a 1st tier soloist.  I heard him several times as soloist and he could stand shoulder to shoulder with any of the major names. 

  11. I must be dense.  1) don't understand why you posted that video on a discussion of concert attire, nor do i know why the conductor intermngled the 1st and 2nds, though with them across the orchestra from each other, it kind of makes sense to do that.  Perhaps because they way the orchestra is shoehorned on the stage, the First and Seconds would not be able to see each other, so for ensemble reasons perhaps?

  12. It is a stage show.  What the performers wear is very important and part of the performance presentation.  Players can get away with wearing clothes that are a bit worn out, but certain things must be paid attention too.  Matching colors, modesty, proper fit in areas that can be seen such as pant leg length.   Shooes shoudl be clean and well polished.  In my opinion, no bare arms - men or women - at least 3/4 sleeves for women - and while skirts are fine, please keep them well below the knee, but I am of the opinion slacks are best for both sexes.  No jewelry that flashes or dangles.  The clothing one puts on for a concert should not make an individual statement but blend into the group.   

  13. Prefer the oversized off white printed sheet music, but like the convenience of downloadable files that I can store electronically and print out.  Wish they would create then to print out on oversized paper, but it is so nonstandard we would need special printers and paper - or they could format it to print ut on 11x17 which can be trimmed to size - that is what I do when I copy published music, copy it full size onto 11 x17 extra heavy off white paper at Fed Ex office and trim to size.  You can also enlarge the 8.5 x 11 music onto offwhite paper onto 11 x 17 and trim to size, it's not really that hard.