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gowan

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  1. Beethoven Opus 132 (Heiliger Dankgesang movement) or the Cavatina movement of Opus 130. Single complete work I'll pick Mozart string quintet in G-minor. Interesting that so many of us picked Beethoven movements
  2. SOme replies above have mentioned that attention should be paid to the bow as well as the violin. There is an entire reperoire of bow strokes, especially as the pieces reach high skill level. Unfortunately many "student" bows simply can't do the strokes required. $5000 is a typical price for a professional level bow. To complicate things bow and violin have to fit with each other. People buying professional level violins often find they have to get a new bow at the same time. Before I bought a violin by a highly respected luthier I played a Mirecourt (French workshop) violin. Before I spent $20,000 a friend suggested I get a better bow and I found that a better bow made a big improvement in what I could do with my Mirecourt violin. Then when I finally bought my bench made instrument I used the good bow to help decide on the instrument.
  3. The Metropolitan Opera in New York City usually includes a modern opera in its offerings every year. For example Philip Glass's operas "Einstein on the Beach" and "Akhnaten", or one by Nico Muhly, which were certainly well attended. There have been many other modern operas at the Met. The community orchestra I play in performed Glass's violin concerto No. 2 which was one of the best size audiences we got except for holiday concerts. Certainly modern music can be put on successfully by classical organizations. Making this work requires creative promotion work and represents taking a risk. Unfortunately most classical music organizations are struggling financially, even world class groups like the Met, so we should not be surprised that producers go for works they know will pay the bills.
  4. For those interested in great antique instruments, the record label Onyx issued a wonderful CD in 2008 of James Ehnes playing short pieces using several amazing Strads, Guarneri "del Gesu" violins, and violas by da Salo, Andrea Guarneri, and Guadagnini. All the instruments came from the collection of David Fulton. For those interested in comparing the sound of the instruments, Ehnes played all the violins on a section of Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, and the violas on a section of Berlioz' Harold in Italy. Accompanying the CD is a DVD displaying all the instruments with the camera moving around each instrument giving as good views as possible short of actually holding the instruments.
  5. IIRC Drucker didn't keep his Zygmuntowicz violin. He sold it to Joshua Bell(!) who apparently liked it.
  6. I played in a community orchestra for 25 years and the programming was thoughtful and creative. The programming was done by the music director with support from a committee of orchestra players. Most concerts had a theme that related pieces being played. For example we did a "Scottish" program consisting of Mendelssohn's "Scottish" Symphony, Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, and Pee tr Maxwell Davies Orkney Wedding. The latter was not an old warhorse in any way. Another themed concert was based on folk music: Bartok, Copland, and Dvorak. I think we educated the audiences' taste in this way as well as providing a way into contemporary music. Having an imaginative, charismatic director made all this work. I think young people are more open minded about music. Surveys showed that the young, adult audience members were much more receptive to "new" music than the older people. People who enjoy TwoSet might also enjoy the interviews on YouTube by Nick Canellakis and Michael Brown
  7. First I've heard of that Mozart being played in scordatura. I agree that E-flat sounds good on viola tuned the usual way but I wonder whether tuning it up a half step might make it easier to play. I have played some Baroque pieces on violin where the score was printed with the usual key signature, etc. but the piece was to be played scordatura. That made it difficult for me because to be played scordatura the printed note was played (scordatura) the sound didn't match what my mind expected.
  8. It is interesting to consider what about the sound we hear tells us that it is from a violin. It is easy to tell often that synthesized "violin" sound is supposed to sound like a violin but is recognizable as fake. When we hear recorded sound, from LP, tape, or CD, we usually easily identify it as a recorded violin sound. What is it that we recognize? Frequencies seem to be important but recorded sound from an LP lacks much of the frequency spectrum. Back in the years when high fidelity pretty much meant LP (say in the 1970's, pre CD) the high end audio people used to say that frequencies above 20000 Hz, though mostly inaudible to the human ear, had an effect on the quality of reproduced sound at audible frequencies.
  9. The particular attic might also give useful indications. Suppose the violin had been found in the attic of a villa known to have been occupied by a friend of a friend of Count Cozio di Salabue ...
  10. In my experience that often bows get broken at the head and can be repaired with a spline in the head. Also often the actual playing with the bow does not suffer at all. Of course the money value of the bow takes a big hit with such a repair with the repaired bow having a money value 30% or less of the value of the bow in good unbroken condition. The repair can be done so as to be practically invisible. If you really like the bow and weren't hoping to trade it in in the future, this way you can get a great playing bow.
  11. I also love the piano quintet. It is a wonderful piece for the violist, especially the second (Dumky) movement
  12. I think many sources that sell instruments via mail include a clause in the trial agreement that the item must be returned in original condition and may charge for excessive use.
  13. When people have been marginalized or even excluded from a society, it isn't surprised to see them reject the culture of the oppressors. As for "classical" music there is much appreciation by members of minority groups, for example many African-American jazz musicians appreciate the materials of classical music. There are music conservatories that offer studies from outside the classical mainstream, such as Berklee College of Music in Boston, and there are others.
  14. If you visit almost any violin shop, even high level ones, you will find many violins hanging by the scroll or in open cubbies, exposed to the air of the room. Obviously, leaving an instrument out of its case is more risky than its being snuggly in its case, but if you are careful not to leave the instrument on the seat of a chair or couch or randomly on the floor it should be fairly safe. To keep it clean wipe it regularly with a dry soft cloth.
  15. Regarding managers requiring musicians to use, for example, wooden or brown instruments, has been known at every level of orchestra. At the top level I have heard of players auditioning for the top orchestras being told by the music director to get a better instrument. As for appearance, violists who play a Pelegrina, made by David Rivinus , have been told not to use that instrument because it looks so unusual. I can understand that because management wouldn't want a single strange looking instrument to stand out from the orchestra. As for blending and allowing a player to use any "fiddle" they might happen to have, how about an electronic violin, solid body or skeleton body, with amplifier and speakers? Also, blending can be too much. Some professional quartet had a matching quartet built for them by a well known luthier, all the instruments by the same maker and purposely designed to match. Ironically the quartet members gave up their specially built instruments, partly because some individuals didn't like their particular ones but also because the instruments were too similar and didn't allow for variety in expression.
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