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Everything posted by vieuxtemps

  1. in 2 weeks time there is a book launch in Cremona of the first comprehensive monography about Nikolai Kittel.

    Written by the experts on Kittel: Grünke, Gabriel and Chins. 30 Kittel bows in it. And some photos of documents contributed by kenway.

    There will be a lot of your questions and answers in it. www.nikolai-kittel.com



  2. Was your teacher Louis Kaufman? quote: Originally posted by: guta Nikia, Interesting topic. Here is what I was taught by my teacher, who had an exceptionally beautiful vibrato. You can hear it on the soundtrack of "Gone With The Wind", "Wuthering Heights", and about 150 other Hollywood films. 1. Don't get too concerned about wrist vs. arm. It's fine for both to come into play. 2. Focus on the rolling motion, down and back up of the finger. 3. Listen for the sound you want, don't get hung up on mechanics. As long as the movement is correct, i.e. down and back up, just use it, and let it evolve. 4. Incorporate some vibrato into whatever you are playing. Everything from now on should be pleasant to the ear. 5. Use it or lose it. So use it. All best. Larry.
  3. You could try factory-made violins/outfits from a mail order place (such as Shar or WW&BW). Violins of a certain model are all priced the same; however, sometimes the pattern works better on certain pieces of wood than others. I know someone who played a $2000 factory instrument through conservatory. In general, you can get a cheaper price for the same sound depending on the country of origin and the maker's reputation. Italian stuff will almost always be more expensive; Czech or Chinese much less so. Also, an instrument is cheaper if no one knows who made it.
  4. I tried a 1997 Fantoni in late '98. For $5,000, it was in my Final Three along with a German fiddle at twice the price (with maybe half the projection!), and a Berger (my current instrument). The dealer had another buyer waiting, so I sent the instrument back rather than make a rushed decision to buy. The Fantoni seemed to be the marginal favorite when tested in a concert hall for projection, and I don't think the instrument had even opened up completely at the time. So depending on the year and condition, $4,000 could be a good value for the money. The dealer who provided "my" Fantoni included accompanying notes with all the instruments he sent. "A player from the Arizona Symphony LOVES his Fantoni!"
  5. Quote: ...challenging third movement, in which the virtuosic element is speed. "One must not confuse virtuosity with speed." -E. Ysaÿe
  6. Quote: ...it's tempting just to play the notes and it comes out sounding like an etude... I think that's just the kind of music that proves someone's musicianship. Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach too, but also those apparent etude-concertos. Once there was this composer--let's call him "Brahms"--who didn't give a rodent's posterior what critics thought. He did care about Viotti #22, though. There's an article, maybe in The Strad, that shows that concerto's influence on the Violin Concerto and Double Concerto of this "Brahms" person. The writer made a very good case with each of the musical examples, plus quotes from some Brahms-Joachim correspondence (along the lines of "what a wonderful concerto" and "I performed 'your' Viotti Concerto"). Kreisler, Ysaÿe, and Joachim (the well-intentioned source of today's out-of-control "serious music all the time" fetish) performed it. To show you how crude their musical taste was: they also performed Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart Concertos, as well as Beethoven Sonatas. If those critics think Wieniawski #2 is an inferior work, what would they say to the flashier #1 (written when the composer was about 17, and more influential in the grand scheme of things than some person with a newspaper job whining about what Fodor played)? Apparently it was good enough for Itzhak Perlman. He programmed it with the Israel Philharmonic once, but got sick and had a 14-year-old Schlomo Mintz fill in for him.
  7. Quote: Yeah, but you have to sign up at the NY times and they latch on to you like a bulldog after that. I've been trying to get rid of their related e-mails for the last two years from a link that was posted here. Is that who keeps sending me those emails about enlarging my mammaries?
  8. I've had a good experience with the softest gauge Jargar E's. The one E string I can't stand is Dominant steel E's; I've never tried the wound ones, though. Milstein squeaked an open E in Scherzo-Tarantella on his 1946 Library of Congress recital CD, so I wouldn't worry too much.
  9. I remember you! Aren't we old? How much time with accompanist will you get beforehand? Check tempos? Mark pianist's part for major places you take time and really play with the rhythm? On your own, you can make sure what you're doing is clear. Don't rush "boring" parts to you (where the pianist might have 256th notes or something). Take time in a way that's organic, so that your sound sort of dictates what you're doing with time. If you feel the rhythm and it's clear to you what's a triplet, what's offbeat, etc., then even though you're playing with a bit of give and take with the rhythm, the pianist will catch it. Plus, the pianist has your part written above his/hers and is an experienced "hired gun." Don't forget who's accompanying whom (I'll say that since I know it won't get to your head), unless your pianist happens to be a hundred-piece orchestra, in which case you'll have to give more and take less than expected. Especially in live performance, take the chance of not being together. The pianist will catch you, and if he/she doesn't, then at least you had less-than-perfect ensemble for the sake of making music instead of straitjacket notes. Enjoy!
  10. Belated happy birthday! I'm guessing 30 years old on the high end. Looking forward to hearing your creation.
  11. Sorry if someone mentioned this already--if someone has, I'll reinforce it. (Normally I'd read the whole thread, but I have to practice now, and in a way I've read this thread many times!) Use whatever set-up works best for you physically. I was talking to my teacher about the sound benefits of playing without a shoulder rest or sponge. She said, "What's the point of sound if you can't play?" To put her rhetorical question into perspective: she once changed chinrests because a luthier told her the clamp design would dampen less vibrations. The new chinrest forced her to change her head position, which in turn strained her neck, which in turn strained some muscles in her right shoulder, which started to spasm, which cut of circulation coming out of her right arm, which made her fingers swell while she played. All because of sound. ("The violin is not a trumpet.") Some people like a sponge. Some people like one or more of those red cosmetic sponges. Some people like a Kun. Or a Wolf, or a Resonans, or maybe a Playonair. (Zukerman uses a doorstop.) Some people would fold their lapels, or stuff their jackets. Some people played with no chinrest.
  12. I was just thinking about him! Actually, I've been thinking about him a lot lately, since his book is the reason I first got interested in the Schumann Sonata in A minor. I'm playing it in my senior recital in a few months.
  13. Thanks for sharing. For a while I wanted to buy "Hommage a Tibor Varga" from Berkshire Record Outlet, but it disappeared from their catalogue at least a year ago.
  14. Wow! The world needs more conscientious teachers like you. As for regular practice, maybe a different approach for each student would work, depending on that student's aspirations, needs, learning style, and personality. One of my friends used to practice 6 hours a day because his teacher was so incredibly demanding, critical, and blunt during lessons. At any scratch in tone or out-of-tune note, the guy would pounce. (Danger: student may burn out, crack psychologically, burst into tears, etc.) That approach may be best for students who have professional goals in music. I know of other teachers who will send students home if they're not prepared for a lesson, or they'll get all wide-eyed and shocked (but not necessarily angry) when a student hasn't practiced. "What? You can't come in here unprepared!" There's a teacher in my area who "fires" students from her studio if they constantly come in unprepared. I know of at least 2 instances when that has happened. Maybe part of the problem is the students need to get used to setting aside a certain time every day as untouchable practice time, like a daily appointment with yourself that you must keep. One thing I've learned (well, but too late) is that every day, the longer I wait to start practicing, the less likely it is that I'll even practice at all. Also, evening practice doesn't work so well for me since my mind is too worn out or flooded with garbage accumulated during the day. What motivates (and de-motivates) each student? I used to start every day with an hour and a half straight on scales and double stops, then wonder why I'm too tired and unmotivated to put in any more time later in the day. I'm fine, though, when I spend time on musical matters, vary my practice routine, and take breaks every 50 or 60 minutes.
  15. I don't. Try this: position your fingers on the stick the way they hang when you're just sitting around and relaxed. Now move your hand around about the wrist. Try playing at the tip and at the frog, and do some smooth back-and-forth string crossing with the wrist (keep the arm "quiet"). Now try with the index finger extended (if you have to, exaggerate until you notice what and where the difference is). How does it feel in your wrist when you move around? Galamian used to teach that bow hold way back in the day, most likely because that index finger position helped "grab" the string. One of the members of the Guarneri Quartet (Steinhardt, maybe Tree?) said it caused too much strain in his hand, so he changed the way he held the bow. Later in life, Galamian gave up on that bow hold too, as did some (but not all) of his students.
  16. What are your experiences with the various violin cases on the market? Both my student and I are in the market. I'm mostly interested in which ones have the best workmanship--a few extra bucks for a case that will stay intact for longer is OK. SW Strings Shar Amati Violin Shop Violins Etc.
  17. Sounds OK, unless the performer takes his/her anger out on the instrument physically and starts making ugly sounds where ugly sounds are not called for. My playing was always emotionally dead until I went to two funerals, broke up with my girlfriend, and got rejected from my first-choice college when nearly all of my closest friends got accepted into their first-choice schools, all in the span of about 4.5 months.
  18. Unfortunately for me, I haven't played around with what's out there right now. I hear people mentioned Stefano Scarampella and Sergio Peresson, though. Scarampella made instruments around 1890-1920 or so, and a real one in good condition can fetch around $75k. I think Peresson's sell for somewhere in the mid-30k's. Zyg's do appear to be in demand, though keep in mind the one that fetched an unheard-of price (for a living maker) was the one and only ex-Stern Zygmuntowicz. (Either that, or it was one of two ex-Stern's in the world.) Curtin, Alf, Harrild, and Borman seem to have lots of big-name endorsements. When I grow up, get a job, and hunt for a new violin, I'd like to try some of the following makers' works (in no particular order). After that, we'll see about a car or house. Samuel Zygmuntowicz David Palm Gregg Alf Joseph Curtin Jamie Lazzara Sergio Peresson Stefano Scarampella Phillip Injeian Stephen Demirdjian Paul Harrild Terry Michael Borman Tetsuo Matsuda Jennifer Becker David Folland Andrew Ryan David Gusset I can't remember where I heard of those last three, but they're on my master list, and the Palm Pilot never lies.
  19. I read it--quite informative. Every source I read/consult about Galamian has a different side of the story: his "Principles" book, the Meadowmount book/biography you mentioned, stories about him in a 1998 issue of The Strad, my teacher, other former students, etc. I think I'll always respect and admire how Galamian taught. Gingold called him the best pedagogue since Flesch, and I highly doubt Gingold needed to kiss anyone's ass to keep his jobs and prestige. As for what Galamian taught, I agree with it for the most part, but I don't like when it's misapplied as The One True Way (it's possible to misapply any set of good principles, though). There were Flesch, Auer, and others before Galamian, and in the end you have to go by what works for you. It seems the most successful Galamian (and Flesch) students had at least one other mentor with more performing experience, or were incredibly talented, or both.
  20. Following Milstein's advice, spend the most time on whatever you feel the least comfortable with. Write down all the stuff you think you should be doing and plan on covering it all every few days. Figure out how long you're going to allow yourself for everything; without time limits, you could spend a whole day on thirds alone. My teacher makes us do 30-45 minutes a day on technique (not including etudes), covering everything every 2-4 days. By everything, I mean scales, arpeggios, chromatic scales, broken thirds, double stops, bowings, rhythms, vibrato, shifting, velocity, and hard passages from solo repertoire. Definitely include double stops that appear in your solo rep. For example, if you're working on the last movement of Bruch #1 or Joachim's cadenza for 2nd mvmt of Mozart #4, you better as hell be practicing 10ths or they'll bite you in the ass. If you're grouping all your technical stuff into the "scales" category, don't forget bowing stuff, vibrato, and bowing stuff. You can apply various bowings (martele, spiccato, etc.) to scales. I recommend Galamian-style 3-octave scales. Start slow and aim for perfection before speeding it up. Take this opportunity to make sure your finger action, shifting, tone, and intonation are perfect. Build up to 2/bow, 3/bow, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24, and 48. You can also do separate bows at the 24/bow tempo for coordination. Once you're comfy with all your major and minor scales, change your fingerings. You can start most scales on either 1st or 2nd finger and do 12344 on top, you can do all your shifting on the E string like Ysaÿe, etc. You can also practice scales in "modes": pick a key but start and end on a note other than the tonic, e.g. F major starting and ending on open G. 1-octave scales/arpeggios on one string can be good for shifting. It's hard to cover every possible shift with every starting and ending finger in every starting and ending position, but at the very least make sure you practice the hard shifts in your solo rep. In general, you probably want your shifting practice to cover small shifts (like in scales), medium shifts (like in arpeggios), and big leaps (Dont Op. 35 #15). My teacher tells us to put problem spots from solo rep in our daily technical regimen. Pick out the shifts, chords, etc. that you're pretty sure you'll miss in performance, and include them in your daily practice. Your scale practice will of course vary depending on where you stand in the grand scheme of things: how many 3-octave scales you've learned, how comfortable you are in various double stops in each key. For example, if you've never started working on fingered octaves before, you might want to work with your teacher before practicing them at home. You might want to get to 24 notes per bow in a single key before moving on. Or you might want to start by learning every single major and minor scale at 1 note per bow. Or you might want to keep building scales and arpeggios and only move to a different key when you're comfortable with doing double stops 1 per bow, or 2 per bow, or 4 per bow. Or whatever.
  21. Bartok Solo Sonata Shulamit Ran: Inscriptions (solo violin) Joan Tower: Platinum Spirals (solo violin) Arvo Pärt: Fratres Good luck on the audition (especially if it's the one I think it is)!
  22. Try holding an open string for as long as you can in one bow. Shoot for 20 seconds at first, eventually getting up to 40 or a minute. It'll be a very faint sound. Keep the tone absolutely even and clean (no bumps, scratches, swells, or surges), and don't let any little blemish go unnoticed. Stay relaxed. Try right against the bridge, near the fingerboard, and pretty much anywhere in between (pick a contact point and stick with it). Start out with either A or D. I find G is easiest and E is hardest. (I get my best times on viola.) Another way is to focus on drawing a slow bow; this way, the exercise is purely physical. Don't worry about making a real sound. If it makes a creaking sound, keep that creaking absolutely continuous and even. Doing the exercise this way, I can sustain for longer on E (G is the hardest). Play small repeated notes (like an etude all in 8ths or 16ths) entirely at the frog or tip. Also do 2 open strings at a time at the frog, just bowing back and forth for the bow change. Listen very closely and make sure both strings sound equally through the bow changes. Also make as little break in sound as possible when you change bow; think of keeping the same bow speed, and in an instant reversing it, without stopping at all in between the up and down bow, even though according to physics, there would be a split second when your bow isn't moving at all at the frog. Casorti, Mazas (Bk 1), and Kreutzer are good for the bow. You can pick slur patterns and bowing techniques (spiccato, martele, etc.) and apply it to pretty much any scale, etude, or passage from a piece you're playing. For running 16th notes, one separate and 3 slurred is a good one (or 3 slurred and then one separate; either way, learn starting upbow and downbow). The tendency is to play the separate note too loud and run out of bow for the slurred notes. Aim to get them even. Any time you need to use lots of bow on a short(er) note, move the bow fast at the beginning of the bow, because if you realize half way through that you need to use more bow, you'll get an undesirable swell. Ditto for saving bow (save at the beginning).
  23. Not yet. But this one person I knew...her teacher was trying to get her to hear the note in her head before shifting. Student: (none too politely) "I can't do that." Teacher: "You always get on the defensive and give me attitude." Student: "Well I wouldn't be on the defensive all the time if you weren't always on the offensive." I don't think the teacher was amused at the time, but my sister thought it was pretty damn funny when I told her about it.
  24. What makes you think Juilliard is "friendly"? A friend of mine knows people from high school there; they're all miserable at Juilliard. Juilliard has a reputation for being tremendously cutthroat (think of someone standing outside you practice room trying to psyche you out). Someone in my friend's viola studio graduated from Curtis recently. The 2nd hand report I got was that people at Curtis are more bent on improving themselves than getting one step ahead of the other guy. At the risk of shamelessly plugging my school, let me add that Peabody is pretty friendly. The website claims some pianists will accompany each other in the same competition--it's true. My theory teacher last year chose to do graduate work (in piano) at Peabody because it was warm & fuzzy and personal compared to other musician factories he visited. What exactly turned you off Curtis? They make you prepare all that stuff to scare people away; they'll only actually hear 15 minutes. Have you considered applying to a couple other schools (by tape if not by live audition)? Which teachers do you want to study with at the schools you mentioned?
  25. I always thought it would make sense for Pam Frank to join Peabody's faculty: she has ties to Peabody faculty (Givens was her teacher for a decade; she knows Beaver, Greenberg, Kannen, and Lambros), we're always glad to see her around for masterclasses, and she doesn't seem to be doing much these days because of her injury. I'm concerned about technique though. In masterclasses she seemed interested in technique only if it related directly to music ("Use more bow!"), or if she was telling a student to forget about technique and think in terms of music. Of course, it was a masterclass, and she had a pretty thorough technical background when she was a student. Other than that, I think she will be great for the school in terms of musicianship and attracting more people to Peabody. I hope she does lots of chamber music coaching as well. It's nice to see Peled on cello faculty. My friend played in his masterclass and thought he was great; the only problem was he's fresh out of school and lacking name recognition.
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