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lwl

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Everything posted by lwl

  1. Warning: Some of these schools have age limits that are startlingly low. Don't delay too long.
  2. Interlochen is more orchestral in orientation. Another fairly good camp in the Midwest is Blue Lake (or at least it used to be, I don't know about now). Neither of these camps is especially competitive to get into; a fair number of serious but definitely mediocre-at-best players attend.
  3. Indeed, I think the top music schools carry MORE weight in the music world, than an Ivy League diploma does in the non-music world. Get a relevant degree from a top-notch school and it'll be a nice plus on your resume if you apply for a job in that field -- but certainly no guarantee of even an interview, and it's a very mild plus at best. And if you didn't graduate with a great GPA, you may actually be at a disadvantage to someone from a lesser school with better grades (especially if you are applying to grad school). Whereas D_A points out the value of a Juilliard degree.
  4. Don't get me wrong -- I think the Phantom Menace is an excellent score. But I don't think it ranks among Williams' very best work. I do have this score, along with practically everything else Williams has written and that I've been able to get my hands on. Too much money spent on ebay.
  5. Actually, I don't think HKV should feel any obligation whatsoever to discipline LKH. That is the responsible of the boy's parents, clearly. I suspect most readers are rather embarassed on HKV's behalf, for LKH's actions -- but nobody really expects someone's violin teacher to control a potty-mouthed child, for heaven's sake.
  6. I've been listening to fiddlers lately, and I derive a great deal more pleasure from violin-plus-drum, as opposed to just violin. I don't know why that is -- perhaps it's the added interest of having another sound timbre.
  7. quote: Originally posted by Violinflu: If you want to hear some Great Williams, check out the soundtrack to The Phantom Menace. One of his most complicated, highest quality soundtracks, unfortunately attached to one of the worst movies... I like this soundtrack, but I don't consider it amongst his best. (I am a huge fan of Williams and, indeed, film score composers in general.) I don't think it's on par with the original Star Wars trilogy, in fact -- particularly compared to the quality of The Empire Strikes Back. As I think about this more, I think Williams exploits the melodic possibilities of the instrument extremely well. What he does not seem to be able to do is to blend virtuosic development with that keen sense of melody -- I think this weakness is even apparent in the extension of The Witches of Eastwick, for instance. Once he moves away from writing music that's effective for a scene, towards music purely effective for the instrument, he seems to falter.
  8. Now we have an interesting debate! It's not that fiddlers (as a group) don't care about playing in tune -- it's that they're less obsessed with perfection than classical players tend to be. The good ones are conscientious enough that technical issues do not mar a performance in a distracting manner. I can enjoy listening to players on a variety of levels. But I do believe that if one is going to play the classical repertoire, that a conscientious attempt ought to be made to achieve as much technically as is possible within the context that one is aiming for. For example, if you attend a community orchestra performance, you will almost certainly hear the occasional bits of messy ensemble, missed notes, intonation problems, and faking. It's still enjoyable, though. But it's not the players throwing up their hands and saying, "To heck with the notes!" If we were only allowed to be perfect, we could have all hung up our hats after Heifetz died. Michael Darnton's favorite article about assessing competence applies here, in reverse: The more competent you become as a player, the more critical you should become about your own playing. It has nothing to do with hierarchy; it has everything to do with artistic integrity. As a beginner, one can be delighted by just having gotten a note out without a squeak -- and rightfully so. Bit by bit, one's standards climb -- both technical and musical. So, too, do the standards by which other people evaluate your playing. Can you say, "I want to be judged by different standards?" You can, certainly -- but you really have to go out and clearly define a new category. If you tell people that, for instance, you're a good Irish fiddler, they will expect to hear something from you that is of a standard with previous good Irish fiddlers that they're heard. If you tell people that you're a great virtuoso classical violinist, then they'll expect you to sound at least somewhat similar to other people making the same claim. Interestingly, in the field of classical playing, I do not think there has ever *not* been an emphasis on the right notes and correct intonation; can anyone cite a historical counter-example? Even "cafe violinists" were expected to be quite skilled, I believe.
  9. Gil Shaham's latest recording is now out. He plays music by John Williams -- the violin concerto, a work called "Treesong", and the three pieces from Schindler's List. It's certainly very interesting to hear Shaham play the Schindler's List pieces, as this work was written for Perlman and anyone who's ever seen the movie or heard the score probably has Perlman's way of playing it indelibly etched in their brain. Shaham is the most Perlman-esque of the younger generation, in my opinion, and it sounds good in his hands, though distinctly different from Perlman. I have the extant Mark Peskanov recording of the concerto, and while Shaham is a better advocate for it than he is (at least in my opinion), I still fail to like it. (Williams also revised the work since that recording; I don't know the recordings well enough yet to tell how much was changed and how much of my impression of "better" is composer's changes vs. the players.) I haven't yet formed an impression of Treesong; it's not easy listening, in my opinion, and is going to take quite a few hearings before I can really make a judgement on it. It was written for Shaham, and it's well-played -- but Joshua Bell, for instance, did a splendid job playing Nicholas Maw's violin concerto, and I still don't like that work. Williams is capable of accessible, melodic writing, as he so clearly demonstrates in his film music. Why he chooses these atonal idioms for his classical composition is something I simply don't understand. Why not a concert work for violin in the vein of Schindler's List, or the fiddle solos of The Patriot, or the virtuosic writing for The Witches of the Eastwick (also transformed into a fairly effective concert piece for Gil Shaham)? Any other opinions?
  10. quote: Originally posted by HuangKaiVun: Even I have enough cojones to admit that I was severely OFF in several areas in my unedited one-take Paganini impromptu snapshots - and WILL BE in the future. I do not disagree with ANYBODY, not even lwl, on that number. The irony, I think, is that if initially you had said, "Yes, I'm severely out of tune in these clips, please ignore," nobody would have hit you over the head with that fact. That, frankly, would have been mean -- there's never any need to complain about what the performer himself already admits to! This plays into the slide story, too, by the way -- there was no need for your stand partner to comment. You (that poster) knew it. Therefore the commentary served no purpose. If you had declared that you thought you played wonderfully, a comment about that might have been warranted (though certainly not in the way it was stated).
  11. Diverted into a thread of its own. How much of a given player's playing do you think you, or someone else, needs to hear, before you can form an impression of them as a violinist? A more in-depth informed opinion? I think this is a particularly interesting question in the age of recording, where young performers may cut a single private CD and circulate it -- and even for those who are promoted by record companies and already have major touring careers, our first encounter with them is often on disc. Consequently we hear them for a limited time and in a limited amount of repertoire -- and if we don't like that first impression, we may never listen to anything of theirs ever again. Even taking a performer of the past: One might form quite different opinions of Heifetz based on a single recording, if those recordings are the Sibelius concerto of his youth, or his stereo recording of the Tchaikovsky concerto. Certain generalizations could be made about the violinist from both, of course. Thoughts?
  12. quote: Originally posted by HuangKaiVun: And NO, 30 seconds of hit-and-run violin playing is NOT ENOUGH to get a good view of a player. When you're actually on stage, you can't play for 30 seconds and then run off with your tail between your legs. You've gotta GO THE DISTANCE. Certainly a reasonable statement -- and obviously why we don't have 30-second competitions in the real world. In the context of a board such as this one, though, I do believe that it gives you a quick impression of a player. I think it's nice to associate music with a name, here. Probably an interesting thread unto itself: "How much of a given player's playing do you need to hear to really form an opinion of them as a musician and technician?" (A particularly interesting question in the age of recording, I think!) Hmm. Guess I should break that off into a thread of its own...
  13. quote: Originally posted by Mu0n: Gallery wise, I much prefer having whole works, to reduced versions that leave me wanting for more. We could set up several accounts on: http://www.freewebz.com In such a case, it really makes more sense for whoever wants to post entire works to just create their own Web accounts, and post the URLs in their profile.
  14. quote: Originally posted by Mu0n: This idea has merit and can be extended to your gallery, Lydia. Have a section for under 1 minute snippets, and a free-for-all section, with no limits on the length. Of course, you'll get many more snippets than whole pieces. Unless there's some bandwidth, and therefore, money issue you've decided not to talk about to us. A number of reasons for choosing 30 seconds and 1 minute. Looking at my webserver logs and what people download (including the Mystery Violinists gallery), there is a direct correlation between size of sound clip, and the number of people who download it. Also, the larger the clip size, the more people seem to get halfway through the download. Larger clips are also a real pain for modem users. 30 seconds gets you a 5 MB WAV file, typically, and a high-quality MP3 file of less than 500K. Both of these file sizes are reasonably readily managed by anybody. 60 seconds is a bit longer, but allows you to get a more significant chunk of music in, while still keeping the file sizes manageable. Even 30-60 seconds is more than sufficient to get a pretty good impression of a player, and of a work, particularly a virtuosic work. Gallery-wise, I'd rather hear a few contrasting short snippets from a given player, rather than one long clip. I do have finite bandwidth and finite disk space, as well. Supply me with large quantities of both, for free, and I'll be happy to do any amount of sound file hosting for you.
  15. quote: Originally posted by HuangKaiVun: lwl, iupviolin's "friendly" challenge is NOT "false camaraderie". Better one be able to "mow" through a work than denigrate it as "tricks", no? Actually, I was talking about the "go have a meal together" line, and the other bits that you occasionally spew of "friendship" to people you have just been extraordinarily rude to. I feel that it is absolutely, utterly disrespectful to the composer of a work, no matter how bad you think the composer is or how trite the work is, to "mow through" it. I cannot help but feel that music is art, and that music is craft, and that music is beauty. If we pursue none of those things in our playing, but merely "mow through" things, I think it has a corrupting effect on our musical souls. We are, in effect, training ourselves to be insensitive to beauty in music, to art in music, to craftsmanship in music. None of those things are good for us as violinists, musicians, artists, or people. Even works that I dismiss as not much beyond a strung-together collection of tricks, certainly deserve to be played with respect for the craft (indeed, perhaps these works deserve a player's respect for craft more than any other), and with an ear for beauty, and with as much art as can be conveyed. Whether it's Bach or Mozart or Paganini or Ernst, music does not deserve to be treated like a boot camp obstacle course. It is not a playground for He-Man theatrics -- not even for the greatest of virtuosos. And while personal pleasure in one's playing is certainly important, I cannot advocate the empty self-gratification of "mowing through" repertoire. [This message has been edited by lwl (edited 10-25-2001).] [This message has been edited by mark (edited 10-26-2001).]
  16. Worth reading: Menuhin and Primrose's "Violin and Viola". Primrose's notes on the viola are what you want, but Menuhin is always interesting in his own right (he writes the section on the violin).
  17. On a further, non-HKV specific note: It might be fun to do one-minute clips of a bunch of the Fingerboard's advanced players playing part of a Paganini Caprice. Good challenge for everyone -- practice, embarass yourself in public, and so forth. Not a challenge of each other -- a challenge to ourselves, for the lazy among us, to go out and do it. My suggestion: #5, through the first ending of the repeat (three lines from the bottom of the first page, in my Flesch/International edition). Almost exactly a minute long, at full tempo. Or for thirty seconds: Just the arpeggios that begin #5. Anybody up for that? [This message has been edited by lwl (edited 10-24-2001).]
  18. Actually, I did not say you "hardly have a career". My phrasing was quite specific. You were talking about having spent your career fixing other people's problems. I quibbled with your definition of what a career meant, since you've been at it professionally about about a year and a half, whereas usually when people say, "I've made my career doing X" they're talking about a lifetime. You chose to take it as an insult to the way you make your livelihood; despite the fact that I clarified this repeatedly, you chose to ignore it. Fine; so be it. I find it weirdly strange that you read insult into all kinds of remarks, but there's little I can do about that. You know, I'm perfectly capable of playing Paganini. Have never looked at Ernst -- my teacher has encouraged me to learn some of his music, but I haven't had any interest. Am I going to engage in a juvenile pissing match over who plays better than whom, though? Of course not. It seems to matter to *you* to feel superior as a violinist; it does not matter to *me*. I also don't feel the need for any false camaraderie. Actually, the entire concept of mowing through all the Caprices, as you put it, just horrifies me; I might not think it's sacred music (I'd probably be more horrified if you suggested mowing through all the Bach unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas, for instance), but "mowing through" anything seems to be the antithesis of why I play music.
  19. If I remember right, DavidK was talking about his own attitude towards playing at age 13, rather than the quality of his playing at that age. The discussion had turned to musical values, I think, and DavidK had mentioned that at age 13 (like so many others of us, I think!) he was really into it for speed and getting through it, as opposed to aiming for accuracy.
  20. Actually, I said nothing of the sort -- can you find a quotation of that? (It's not the kind of phrasing that I use, certainly.) When I first heard your initial posted sound clip, I *did* assume that LKH had accidentally posted a clip of himself, rather than posting a clip of you. That was charitable -- I gave you the initial benefit of the doubt of "surely HKV, given all his claims, does not play like this". In fact, I recall giving "him" concrete, technical advice on what might be done to fix the problems I heard -- surely the definition of constructive commentary. I suppose you could draw the conclusion you did about calling your playing unworthy of a seventh-grader (LKH is 13, if I recall correctly, so I suppose 7th grade would be about right) -- but I certainly did not say that, though I will note that sound clip certainly did not say to me, "This is a master technician and professional violinist." I have never said that *anybody* can play the Paganini Caprices (clearly that would be silly) -- but I have said in the past that you are certainly not the only player who can. There are thousands of players around the world capable of executing them, and more than a few such players who post on this board (among them a goodly number of our high-school-age posters). This is routine conservatory repertoire (heck, pre-conservatory repertoire). However, this goes right back to Staccato's initial question and the point of this thread. Someone who is a beginning violinist years away from being capable of attempting Paganini, but had a good critical ear, could very readily have told you that you were out of tune, dropping tons of notes, and failing to achieve the necessary clarity of execution. (I might note, as a side note, that I've posted soundclips to the Maestronet Gallery and a fair number of people here have heard me in person. However, whether or not I can play is not the issue -- the whole point of this thread is that it doesn't take a superior player to make valid criticisms.) [This message has been edited by lwl (edited 10-24-2001).]
  21. Actually, I don't think anyone has ever told you (HKV) that you suck and can't play. (Though I do find it fascinating that you seem to have decided to take this thread very personally, though I don't *believe* anyone else's comments were initially directed at you, before you deflected them that way.) However, quite a few people have commented about your frequently poor intonation and sloppy execution. That's a specific and valid criticism. It is especially so because you consider yourself a professional player, and indeed have claimed to be a much better violinist than any other professional violinist in your metropolitan area (which, being Albany, is certainly not devoid of well-trained professional players). As such, you have opened yourself to being held to a higher standard -- though I would argue that all violinists ultimately have to meet some baseline standards of intonation, clarity, and tonal quality, regardless of their level of advancement. Nor does a commentator need to be able to play the violin at all to make a valid comment about quality of technical execution, particularly when it involves fundamentals such as intonation and clarity/correctness of the notes. As a side note, though I don't agree with iupviolin that Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Mutter are "bad violinists", I can say that I don't care for their interpretations of most of the standard repertoire. From a technical perspective, though, their playing is usually pretty sterling, in accordance with today's standards for professional players. This, too, is valid commentary -- either coming from myself, or someone who is not a violinist or even musician at all.
  22. Three days or so with synthetics. Steel is pretty much instantly stable. Gut, a week or two. Though if push comes to shove, synthetic strings will settle enough that you can use them in a concert in a couple of hours. Every advanced string player should have the ability to automatically adjust intonation if they hear a string has gone out of tune, even badly out of tune. You can't compensate for the open strings (though here's a good reason to be able to change fingerings on the fly!) but you can deal with everything else.
  23. Didn't the Scottish fiddle tradition incorporate elements of the classical compositions then in vogue? Baroque music of Germany, Italy, etc.?
  24. The criticism that someone receives is also going to be related to their claims/status. For instance, you don't judge Itzhak Perlman by the same standards you judge an eight-year-old student. Someone who claims to be a professional is likely to be held to higher standards than someone who claims to be an amateur; similarly, players who claim, "I can play better than X" (whether X is a rival student, professional colleague, famous soloist, whatever) also invite much harsher criticism. World-class soloists get held to incredibly nitpicky standards.
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