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lwl

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Everything posted by lwl

  1. quote: Originally posted by crystal: How can you possibly be offended at what I've said? I haven't said that this is always the case, or it evens happens to half of the players in any situation. Whether you like it or agree with it or not, it IS the truth that SOME people have trouble in this area. I suppose I find offensive the concept that women should be barred from doing anything simply because the men who are already in those positions supposedly aren't mature enough to handle dealing with women in the workplace -- which is really what the whole "romance disrupting everything" argument boils down to. I'm all in favor of forcing men like that to grow up, frankly. By the way: I'll believe that Vienna can't find a suitable woman when they start doing auditions behind a curtain. (Did you see that study -- English, I think -- about the differences in audition responses from judges who did and didn't see female candidates? Very interesting -- the women behind curtains made out overwhelmingly better.) I'm not familiar enough with the concertmasters of the major symphony orchestras, unfortunately. The new concertmaster of the National Symphony (Washington DC) is a woman; she was previously the assistant concertmaster of Boston. There are quite a few female assistant/associate concertmasters out there, as well -- Sheryl Staples of New York is a good example. So is Nadya Tichman of San Francisco (who was acting concertmaster for quite a while, during the several years that passed between Raymond Kobler's departure and the arrival of Alexander Barantschik this season). I would guess that most major symphonies, at this point, have at least one woman holding a titled chair. Concertmaster positions in major symphonies turn over very rarely -- no doubt as time goes on we'll be seeing more women in that leader's seat. [This message has been edited by lwl (edited 11-28-2001).]
  2. An orchestra has dozens upon dozens of players -- 75+ players for a smaller regional symphony, and if you're doing a Mahler symphony, you could easily have 100+ players around. It's not exactly a tiny and intimate community, though of course it's the size of a small company and presumably everyone eventually gets to sorta know everyone else. None of crystal's arguments hold water to me, either, and I'm trying hard not to find them offensive. In a long-term, close-knit group -- consider that members of major symphonies often spend a lifetime in a group -- there's already plenty of friction. Members do have long-running feuds. There are past teacher-pupil associations. People have lived together, argued, made up, whatever. Players become friends or enemies. But they still gather together to make music and seem to manage just fine. I have not seen one scrap of evidence that says, for instance, that the Vienna Philharmonic concentrates any better, performs better, makes more efficient use of rehearsal time, or has a more frictionless existence than, say, the New York Philharmonic does. Vienna is an all-boys club because it has chosen to stay that way for reasons of tradition that have nothing whatsoever to do with logic. If they were basing things purely on merit and wanted to go single-sex, perhaps they should become an all-female orchestra. Seems like most of the folks winning major orchestral posts these days are women, at least in the USA. Frankly, I don't think women should be barred from any workplace just because here and there, there are some men who can't keep it in their pants, or at least keep it out of the professional environment. [This message has been edited by lwl (edited 11-28-2001).]
  3. Certainly be interested in trying it out. (Plus there are a bunch of other Maestronetters in the area whom I'm sure would be curious to play it. )
  4. Certainly the *deception* is wrong -- and the intent to deceive seems to be there. I don't think that the judges should necessarily be faulted for not knowing, though. They might not be string players, used to thinking about string-related timbres. And how many people are likely to think, "Gee, I wonder if this person has a 5-string viola?"
  5. I'm trying to recall who it was who said that the joke at the time was that you could always tell the Galamian students, because they all scratched. (Of course, this is a statement about a particular period in Galamian's career, too...) Certainly seems to be true of the contemporaries of Itzhak Perlman, though, at least early in their careers, if not now. I'm not sure I'd agree that Auer has the same basic tone production as his students do. Similarities in ethos, sure. (Auer used the old German-style bowhold, too.) I recall a number of theories are out there that believe that the characteristic sound of the Auer pupils didn't really show up 'til Mischa Elman arrived in Auer's class, whereupon his classmates copied what he did.
  6. quote: Originally posted by purplehaze: I wish anonymous would become un-anonymous! I absolutely love listening to your clip. This is the 3rd time I have downloaded it onto my super-slow computer so that I can hear those brilliant first few notes. I have really been wishing for a clip of the whole work! By the way, rather than downloading each time you want to listen, right-click on the link and choose "Save Target As..." so you can save the sound file to your local hard drive.
  7. lwl

    Octaves

    Another note on emphasizing the lower note: Be particularly careful to do this on melodic passages in octaves. This will prevent the octaves from sounding shrill. Also, helpful for setting the frame of the hand: Practice fourths.
  8. Brodsky appears to have passed on some of the secrets of Ysaye's tone production techniques to his students. Both Hahn and Kang have an immensely smooth legato, though Kang doesn't have the control that Hahn does. Josefowicz has it, as well -- but doesn't seem to choose to use it, usually. Hahn is also able to do a Ysaye-style silent partial retake. Brodsky doesn't seem to have stamped his personality on his students, though -- a good mark of a master teacher. (Consider how different the Flesch pupils are from each other, for instance.) Hahn, Kang, and Josefowicz all have very different musical personalities. (Josefowicz also seems to have gone heavy into a questionable quirkiness in the last few years, which is a shame.) Rosand was a student of Sametini's, as well as Zimbalist's. He has traits both of the Franco-Belgian school and of the Russian one. I've never seen him live, though. The Galamian-descended soloists tend to favor a tone production technique that places the bow right up by the bridge, with lots of pressure. Up close (and on record), the tone is extremely scratchy, but at a distance, the scratches don't carry but the tone itself does. Lots of vibrato tends to be used, as well, again to bolster projection. Gingold's students tend to use more bow, less pressure, and keep the bow less close to the bridge, though in recent years, Joshua Bell has said that he's begun to favor a by-the-bridge soloistic sound production for projection (to the detriment of his tone on record, in my opinion). I don't think I've heard enough Persinger students to really characterize their sound. Menuhin probably can't rightly be considered a "true" student of Persinger's, in that Persinger guided him but Menuhin appears to have picked up how to play almost on his own.
  9. lwl

    Octaves

    Release the downward pressure of the fingers completely between each octave. You can let the fingers rest lightly upon the strings; just don't apply any weight. This allows you to 'reset' the hand between each octave, so you don't lock the hand into a frame that's wrong for that particular position. Don't press too hard with either the left-hand fingers or the bow. Use the minimal left hand finger-weight needed to get a good sound -- experiment with that. That will prevent tension from building up in the hand, too. And don't crunch with the bow; you can make the octave go out of tune that way. Practice with both fingers down, but play just one string, so you are sure that all the 1st fingers are correct, and then all the 4th fingers are correct. Hopefully when you try both strings, you will now find that both of them are correct. Make sure the two fingers come down as a unit. Picture where you're going before you go. Set the hand before you move the bow.
  10. Cerovsek has a good Wieniawski disc, though I have some reservations about it. I'm not nearly as enthused about his other recordings, though, nor of the live broadcast I heard.
  11. This seems entirely reasonable to me, too. These folks are being loaned, *loaned*, mind you, these instruments. Their patrons are people who are *investing* in the instruments, and have agreed that, rather than letting them sit in a vault, that they'll loan them to young people who otherwise couldn't afford them. Such a thing could reasonably be considered a risk to the instruments. They're exposed to the constant stresses of flying. They're used often and hard. Sometimes they're abused -- remember when Maxim Vengerov *threw* his Strad down during a concert when a string broke? It doesn't seem unreasonable for them to insist the instruments be taken to a restorer of their choice for periodic check-ups, too. (And of the various places one can fly in the United States, Chicago remains one of the cheapest, as a major hub.) Besides, under those conditions, I imagine maintenance is free. This is a business arrangement -- patronage always has been, though some patrons historically have been more selfless than others.
  12. Sarah Chang also managed that feat (with the New York Philharmonic, I believe).
  13. quote: Originally posted by vieuxtemps: the Brodsky and Gingold students don't seem as modern as the Juilliard students of Galamian and Delay Possibly because what you cited earlier as the "modern violinist sound" is really the sound of the Galamian-descended students (including those of DeLay). These folks have by and large dominated the solo scene (and the orchestral and chamber music scenes, for that matter) for decades now. Young players are certainly influenced by their contemporaries (and the cross-pollination of masterclasses and the like), and the Galamian sound has become the sound of the most recent generations of violinists. Attending a concert of Juliette Kang's, by the way, is an extremely interesting experience -- she studied with Brodsky, and then went to DeLay. You can definitely see and hear the influence of both teachers in her playing.
  14. Try out the Mystery Violinists Challenge -- lots and lots of recordings of players spread out throughout the 20th century. http://www.black-knight.org/violin/mystery/ I've been considering doing an update to this challenge sometime. Perhaps over the holiday season... Personally, I don't think there's any clean distinction between "modern" players and "non-modern" players; I think this is largely meaningless, unless we're talking strictly about something quantitative, like date of birth. I do think that it's useful to talk about traditions, though, and certain other specifics -- there's definitely a strong thread of heritage between the various students of Dorothy DeLay, for instance, especially those who came to prominence in the last two decades.
  15. Robert Gerle has an excellent suggestion for dealing with memorizing repetitive passages: change the fingerings and bowings slightly with each repetition so you know which fingerings/bowings "flow" into a particular ending.
  16. I think Allegro missed my point, too, which is this: Chang is a good violinist. Hahn is a *great* violinist. We make comparisons between players all the time. It's no great stretch to say that Heifetz was superior to a vast number of his contemporaries -- fine violinists though they might have been.
  17. Previous thread on Cerovsek and Ehnes: http://fingerboard.maestronet.com/ubb/Foru...TML/004006.html I haven't heard Ehnes yet, though his recent Bruch recording is on my to-buy list. I'm not convinced that Cerovsek is better, either technically or musically, than Bell, though.
  18. Unfortunately, Menuhin was notoriously effusive in his praise of young players. I would *almost* agree with DeLay's assertion that Chang is the greatest violin *prodigy* that has existed. It depends what you mean by "greatest". Compare the young Menuhin to the young Chang, and hear the differences in depth of musicianship, and spontaneous originality -- the young Menuhin is breathtaking. On the other hand, Chang's technique at that age was jaw-droppingly well-controlled (while Menuhin had a command of the instrument, he lacked any true intellectual basis for it). As far as prodigies have gone, Chang is pretty amazing. I bought her Tchaikovsky recording when it came out and really liked it, though over the years it has faded in my estimation. But from a child it's pretty darn spectacular. The debut recording is also excellent -- fabulous from a child (though not anywhere near up to the musical standard of similar recordings from the child Menuhin), and more than respectable from an adult. The problem with Chang is that she hasn't gotten much better since the age of fifteen or so. She is now just one of many adult soloists with excellent technical facility, and arguably there are players with better dexterity -- Maxim Vengerov comes to mind. Her tone production is unremarkable; she has the typical Galamian bow arm. And her interpretations are anonymous. If she had first come to the concert stage at the age of eighteen, or twenty-one, would we have found anything special about her? I'm not convinced we would have. Would she still have warranted this kind of recording contract and acclaim? It'd be a crap shoot against all the other excellent young players, I'd bet. As for the Elgar works -- have you heard the young Menuhin in Salut d'Amour? Or the young Josef Hassid in La Capricieuse? Perfect comparisons for what it means to be a truly gifted prodigy of incredible communicative gifts, as opposed to a fingerboard wizard. (Those recordings hold up against, and perhaps surpass, practically anyone else's recordings of those works.) But Chang is a *former* prodigy now -- to be judged by the same standards as any other adult soloist (whether or not that soloist was also exploited in childhood as a prodigy). Is she up to the current international standard? Sure. Are there current soloists who are better, even *much* better? You betcha. [This message has been edited by lwl (edited 11-19-2001).]
  19. Try changing the E string. A lot of brands wear out quickly, and E strings are dirt cheap, usually.
  20. *Be careful* with your use of ice -- don't leave the ice on for more than a few minutes at a time, etc. Aleve is helpful, too -- one a day. If you can possibly do so, don't play AT ALL for a couple of days.
  21. Violinflu, I get exactly what you mean -- and I agree. The best bows are the ones that feel like they've immediately become part of your hand. Even if they don't instantly feel like what you're *used* to (and ultimately might not be what you want), they have a "rightness" about them. (I find I need two or three weeks of playing with a bow, a lot, though, before I know whether a bow is really right, as opposed to just acceptable.)
  22. Experiment; some of this depends on the type of strings you use, and your set-up. In general, I find that I pull the E and A string sideways, but to get a sound that will carry in a concert hall, I have to actually scoop the finger slightly under the G and D strings, so there's a very solid pluck. Sevcik has an exercise for left-hand pizzicato, but I have never found it particularly useful for strengthening the hand for this; I think straight-up finger exercises, first position, concentrating on quick, snappy movements of the fingers in their normal playing position, does a more effective job of building strength (especially since it's less fatiguing and therefore you can spend more time on it, *and* it's useful to build facility that way anyway). One thing that I haven't figured out how to deal with is snapping the strings out of tune; I find it's extremely easy to snap the E out of tune, and almost as easy to snap the A out of tune. (The left-hand pizz motion is more forceful than the right-hand one, at least for me...)
  23. My suggestion: Right-click on the soundclip links and then choose the option to save to disk. When it's done downloading, then listen. If your player makes an attempt to stream, results might not be good.
  24. Szeryng's Khachaturian is still in print. It's on the Mercury label, coupled with his Brahms (with Monteux; do yourself a favor and just ignore its presence on the CD).
  25. Hahn has said that she admires Milstein and Grumiaux -- and it certainly shows in her own tastes, which, like theirs, are of a classicist vein. I hear Hahn as being closer to the Milstein mold than the Grumiaux one, in terms of taste -- Grumiaux is even more elegant and restrained. Grumiaux, in romantic repertoire, is generally always *too* restrained for my personal tastes. Hahn verges on it at times (I would have liked her Barber concerto to "gush" more, for instance), but generally she hits the right combination of sentiment vs. taste, for me. I think she's now easily the equal of Grumiaux -- but not yet Milstein.
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