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lwl

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Everything posted by lwl

  1. Criticism helps me play better. It's why I still take lessons. Interesting you note the G-string thing -- that bugs me from time to time, but I've never done anything about it. It's a set-up problem -- the G is lower than it probably really should be. If it really vibrates, it buzzes against the fingerboard. Only happens with certain string brands, though (probably tension-related, I would guess).
  2. Do you consider yourself to have a more intellectual, or more emotional, approach to musical interpretation? Is this a conscious decision, or one that just seems to be the way things are for you? Are you trying to change? By "intellectual", I mean more analysis-oriented -- considering the work's structure, its history, its context, the tradition of performance practice around it (from its time of composition to the present), and so forth. By "emotional", I mean more instinctual -- what you "feel" is right. While "intellectual" interpreters are sometimes considered "cooler", one does not necessarily imply the other.
  3. Let me also advocate the virtues of Inter-Library Loan.
  4. I'll note the Gallery specifically has the criticism-or-not option specifically because some people don't want to hear criticism. However, thus far, people have (at least in public) been very polite about what's been posted thus far. Various players have also posted "please criticise me" clips in the past -- if you dig those threads out of the archives, I think in general they have contained useful advice. I'm a bit behind on recent submissions -- been work-swamped for a bit (haven't been posting much, either, consequently). I should have them up in the next week or so. That aside: LongHair's probably correct; I should post another clip as a substitute for the first one I posted. (The first section is soft as well as played with a mute; consequently it's somewhat under the orchestral texture. I picked it because I wanted a clip that went to the end of the work; I suppose I should grab the non-muted version that comes before that, instead.) On the other hand, at least on my MP3 player, the violin is sufficiently clear -- though you really have to turn the speaker volume up to maximum (artifact of the minidisc transfer). Anyway, LongHair, I think it's one of the great violin concertos -- if you've never heard a complete recording, get one, because it's a phenomenal piece of music (and tonal and consequently fairly accessible, though dissonant). I'm curious about HKV's comments on the technical flaws -- what do you hear, and in which clip? (I hear some things I'm not happy with, but that may be entirely different from what someone else hears!)
  5. I think you can read whatever motives you want into my question, frankly -- it's not as if you have to respond if you're feeling "suspicious". (Also, HKV, actually *read* what I wrote. I was fairly specific to say "commensurate with skill level". Obviously beginners are not expected to sound like virtuosos.) quote: Originally posted by roman: I feel ready to play a piece when I am able to close my eyes, and feel in my mind EXACTLY what my fingers need to do. When I can get through the entire piece in my mind like that, then I know that my Motor Memory is intact. This is interesting -- I'd been wondering if I was unusual in feeling that way. I, too, feel a piece is secure in my hands if I can "play" through the music in my head, from memory, and feel *as if* my body is moving correctly, even if I'm not actually moving at all. However, to me, this is distinct from really feeling like I'm ready to *perform* it. That feeling is the "I'm not going to screw up horribly" feeling, for me, as opposed to the "I really feel like I can communicate what I want to" feeling. I often feel like I don't want to work on a piece of music for long enough to make it what I would consider "performance-ready" -- I'm impatient, and that impatience often manifests itself in an eagerness to move along to something new (in musical matters as well as non-musical ones). My teacher feels, though, that because even when I feel well-prepared I am a victim of stage fright, that I should play in front of others as often as possible, even when a work is in a state that I don't consider "ready". I have really mixed feelings about this -- even if I don't expect the *audience* to "know better", *I* do, and consequently it leads to a certain degree of guilt. [This message has been edited by lwl (edited 11-11-2001).]
  6. quote: Originally posted by Mu0n: Lydia decided not to post my clip for some reason (for now, I'll assume she just forgot about it, and that's it not caused by overwhelming embarassment for me). That was recorded in July anyway. I think you missed my message to you, saying that I had downloaded the clip initially but not saved it for editing, and no longer have a copy of it (the website that you posted it to no longer has the file accessible) -- and that therefore, please resend.
  7. Remember that it's not just the *repetitive* strain injuries you have to worry about -- it's straining yourself, period. Playing a string instrument is an athletic activity. Treat your body accordingly.
  8. Carl Flesch, "The Art of Violin Playing, Volume 1". Or Robert Gerle, "The Art of Bowing Practice".
  9. I've seen the video. He looks silly. (The cover photo, showing him practically bent backwards, really is reflective of how he plays these things.)
  10. Answering my own question... As an advanced but amateur player, my attitudes towards performance are somewhat mixed. In order to play for an audience with a "clear conscience", I feel like I have to be nearly 100% technically solid -- that the intonation is solid, that the clarity is excellent, passagework is even and clean, etc. -- i.e., overall, it doesn't sound either sloppy or uncontrolled. Obviously, I also care about musical communication -- but I view the development of an interpretation as an ongoing process, as well as something often better done in front of an audience (for whatever reason, playing "live" tends to spawn more ideas). So as long as the broad underpinnings are there, I can play in front of a casual and largely uncritical audience. I can listen to and enjoy other people's performances regardless of how badly they're executed, usually -- though I tend to find consistently poor intonation very jarring (perfect pitch, sensitive, I guess). However, if a player goes through a work at a level that isn't commensurate with their theoretical skill level (or the difficulty of the piece), I feel embarassed for them -- either because I'm plugging into the sympathy vibe of "Dear God, I'm sorry, you must have worked hard on that and you're screwing it up in public", or into the horror vibe of, "Don't you realize what you sound like?" I find this especially true with virtuosic pieces, which I like to have thrown off with flash and dash and effortless virtuosity -- impressive all the more because they are in tune, clean, clear, and sound and look like they're easy for the player.
  11. When do you feel that something that you're working on is ready to be performed? In what way does this change, depending on the venue? (i.e., playing in your teacher's recital, playing in front of a non-paying audience, playing in front of a paying audience, playing in a competition, etc.) How has your opinion of what's "good enough" changed as you've evolved as a player? Then reflect this back: When do you consider *another player* ready to perform a particular work, in a given venue (i.e., the circumstances you can listen with enjoyment and without feeling embarassment for the player)? How does this change depending on the player's level of development?
  12. This raises an interesting question: When is a work ready to be performed? iupviolin seems to have some standard in mind -- if he can't make that, he doesn't want to play it in front of people. Moreover, he seems to have a standard in mind below which he thinks *other* people probably shouldn't be playing something in public. This is probably a topic worth its own thread. I'll do that.
  13. My answer is straightforward: If you substitute an "alternative" bowing, are you getting the sound you want, or are you compromising the sound you want for technical reasons? (Do you even play works in which these bowings matter?) Be cautious with your answer -- would you prefer the sound of the non-alternative bowing if it was just as technically easy as the alternative?
  14. quote: Originally posted by deStaunton: Liszt once said to his manager " I'm an artist, not a businessman." The irony of *Liszt* saying that should not be lost.
  15. I don't own Bell's Sibelius and have no clear recollection of it, but I do recall that it met with a great deal of serious critical acclaim from critics who usually don't praise lightly. Bell's playing is often not to my taste, but I believe that he plays with the conviction of his own ideas, which are usually not so exotic that they're difficult to listen to (unlike Anne Sophie-Mutter, for example, whose interpretations of non-contemporary works often make no sense to me). But I wouldn't call him a bad violinist on this grounds. Personally, I think the Maw concerto is a rather forgettable piece of music; the only person who seems to think it's Brahms-like is the author of the stupidly overblown CD cover notes; anyone else with ears would probably severely question that statement. It was written for Bell, and I think he does music a favor by premiering and recording contemporary compositions, though one wishes he'd picked something else. As for his forays into crossover, I enjoy them. I think it's a legitimate thing for a classical artist to be doing, and shouldn't be sneered at. If he has fun doing it, and people want to listen to it, great for him. Sounds like someone has a serious case of jealousy.
  16. paganiniboy, I don't see why you should be annoyed. Your teacher is certainly entitled to look surprised if he finds that an inexpensive instrument sounds much better than he expected, and he should certainly be curious about the maker -- it's natural. It's only an insult if you choose to take it that way. A teacher is unlikely to care what you're playing, unless he feels that the quality of the violin is hindering your progress, or he thinks you're not taking proper care of the instrument (failing to change the strings in a timely manner, etc.)
  17. I believe HKV's primary instrument is an instrument of unknown origin, labeled "Gagliano", which his family purchased for $18,000 last year -- there are some board threads about it, I think, if you search the archives. I also believe he owns some modern Italian instruments (probaby now worth in the $40K range? I'm not sure) which his parents purchased for him during his days at Juilliard Pre-College (I don't know if such instruments are *typical*, but they are certainly not *unusual* in the hands of serious teenagers whose parents earn at least middle-class incomes), though he no longer plays them. He's also said that he currently uses some less expensive instruments, one of them a student grade violin (I don't recall the prices). Instruments in the range of $15,000 and up (about the starting range for the better contemporary instruments) are pretty common in the hands of serious students at the high school level and beyond. Some conservatory students do indeed play lesser-quality isntruments, simply because their families cannot afford to purchase anything better. The key thing to note is that such things, save for the rare students lucky enough to either find a patron or inherit a good instrument, are usually purchased for students by their families (parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.) Consequently the question probably boils down to how many conservatory students are likely to have parents able and willing to spend that kind of money. (The same applies to young professionals.)
  18. Haven't tested anything else out yet. I don't really have much else that uses a miniplug.
  19. Heifetz is interesting because he got faster and less emotional as he got older. Some of his early recordings are really molten, and he's backed off to a much cooler (but faster) interpretation by the time a few decades more have passed.
  20. It lets you digitally transfer music FROM your computer TO your minidisc. Say you had some CDs that you wanted to copy to minidisc -- the PClink lets you do that.
  21. Ifshin's. http://www.ifshinviolins.com/
  22. Very fine playing -- congratulations. The technical security (mostly in terms of intonation) got noticeably more solid as time went on -- warming up? Nervous? You play very well, and your instrumental command sounds solid; the occasional fluff sounded like a slip, as opposed to a routine problem. (Spot-on intonation can be a real pain in this piece, and you did a terrific job in that respect, overall.) The pacing of the cadenza actually works for me -- more freedom wouldn't hurt, and might make it sound a little less "planned", though. I think your tone could probably use a bit more color contrast in places. It's hard to tell if that's just an artifact of the recording. Also, the orchestra sounds like it was consistently playing too loudly, which presumably feeds the need to choose between projection and variety of tone.
  23. Whoops -- by International edition, I was referring to the Galamian.
  24. Warning: These are difficult. Some movements are more difficult than others, and none of the movements are easy. (I believe ASTA rates the unaccompanied sonatas and partitas as a whole, as level 5 -- equivalent to works at the difficulty level of the Bruch G minor concerto and above. Some teachers introduce the easiest movements relatively early on in a student's development, though.) The International edition is good. In addition to having intelligent fingerings and bowings (which everyone will change to suit their tastes anyway, but it's nice to have something decent as a starting point), it also contains a fascimile of the manuscript.
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