gowan

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About gowan

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  1. I studied violin in my youth, from ages 9 to age 13, when I quit completely. Thirty years later I took up the violin again. After one year I had reached the level I had been when I first quit. I found that accepting my limitations made it possible to keep going and I joined a good community orchestra at age 48. I began playing chamber music, which I love, and I started playing the viola thinking that would give me more opportunities to play string quartets. Now, at age 77 I am about the same level of proficiency at both instruments. I mostly play viola in the orchestra, apparently due to a shortage in our community. I have no difficulty switching from one instrument to the other. Occasionally I mentally switch instruments when something in the music, such as editorial fingerings, makes me start playing viola fingering on the violin or vice versa. One problem area is when the viola music switches from C-clef (viola clef) to G-clef (violin clef). You wouldn't think that as I am adept at playing violin this would not be difficult but I really have to concentrate at these points, making sight-reading more difficult. I mostly practice the instruments according to my moods. Rather than do a lot of etudes and the like I work on the pieces I am playing or am preparing to play.
  2. The maker of my instruments lives half an hour away from my house and has routinely touched up small dings like the OP showed. He uses spirit varnish to do touch ups like that and it is so fast-drying that it dries in the air while I wait. My thoughts are to do nothing and let it be a contribution to the history/patina of the instrument or else use some sort of "official" touch-up medium. If the injury actually goes through to raw wood, some sort of sealant varnish-like substance would protect the instrument better than some water-based stain.
  3. I don't know about the situation in Asia but not too long ago there was some trouble involving peoples' instruments being confiscated at the border. I don't remember the details but it seems that someone bringing a violin into the European Union countries has to have necessary documentation, claim that the instrument is your own and won't be sold. It might even be necessary to show on leaving the country that the instrument you are taking out is the same one you brought in.
  4. Just some relevant general info... Years ago I went to a concert by the Guarneri Quartet, and I noticed that Arnold Steinhardt's chin rest was very high. At a reception after the concert I asked him about his chin rest. He said that he has a long neck and had struggled with neck pain for a long time. Using a custom made high chin rest solved his problem. He didn't say who made the rest. Another thing...I recall reading somewhere that it is better to use a high chin rest than to use a high shoulder rest.
  5. David Bromberg amassed a huge collection of American violins. It was supposed to be going to the Library of Congress but I heard the deal fell through. https://www.thestrad.com/news/david-bromberg-american-violin-collection-faces-being-broken-up/9215.article
  6. Ivry Gitlis still plays but not at his peak sound quality.
  7. I agree that some excellent musicians don't understand how to teach. It is common to think that someone who can do something well he/she can teach others how to do it. Musicians who have had outstanding careers will make good faculty at conservatory or in a college or university. Some of these incompetent teachers blame the student when things don't work. Worst of all is a teacher who injures students by forcing to play in a way that is not compatible with the students' physiological condition.
  8. That top plate looks a bit Brescian to me.
  9. I like the recording by Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich. To me this performance has more expressivity and character than many others.
  10. https://www.thestrad.com/news-free-trial/dalibor-karvay-named-first-concertmaster-of-vienna-symphony/9736.article?fbclid=IwAR3EnzMwZcPUGYoAf6esNwOuZW9ADBW9qFhL8DwrvmwMfvgUFTikqf-enSk It says he plays an instrument by Viennese luthier Julia Maria Pasch. Anyone familiar with this maker's work?
  11. I have had good results reporting ads as "inappropriate". It took a while doing this every time and eventually the ads stopped.
  12. I think most classical concert venues explicitly state that recordings or filming are not permitted. However, there has been a long history of illicit recordings of operas, symphonies and solo recitals, especially of famous performers. These bootleg recordings sometimes surface commercially later as historical documents. In the past it was difficult to smuggle a small tape recorder, such as Nagra, and microphone into the concert. Now with cell phones easily capable of use in the hall it is very difficult to control secret recording. In the case described, the person recording was making no effort to conceal his activity. Worse, he refused to stop and had to be ejected from the hall.
  13. A couple of years ago I stumbled and fell onto pavement and, in trying to save myself, I jammed the middle finger on my left hand into the pavement, tearing open the finger tip. Probably the callus kept me from getting a more serious injury but, even so, a couple of stitches were needed. The laceration healed fairly quickly but it was over a year before I didn't feel any pain pressing that finger on a string. That sounds bad but I was able to play after a month. Just some discomfort lasted some time to totally heal. Good luck
  14. I can read music on the stand using my progressive lenses, provided the stand is straight in front of me. That makes it difficult to share a stand but, so far, I've been able to work out an arrangement that, while not perfect, is doable. In our orchestra one can have a stand to oneself but that means you have to sit at the back of the section. I like Andrew's solution. I can see the conductor well enough using the "wrong" glasses so I think I will try Andrew's approach after my next eye exam.
  15. People are stimulated to cry for many reasons, feelings of joy, feelings of sadness even just in the presence of beauty. I don't see Elgar's "Nimrod" variation from the Enigma Variations is not sad, it expresses his feelings of love and gratitude for a dear friend. I have cried in an art museum from seeing a particularly beautiful painting. And it is common for people to cry at weddings, at least some of them for joy.