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Everything posted by gowan

  1. I also love the piano quintet. It is a wonderful piece for the violist, especially the second (Dumky) movement
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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"
  6. The chin rest is on the wrong side of the violin, too. I've never seen a chin rest that fits on that side of the instrument. Maybe this is a "left handed" violin. I wondered if the image had been "mirrored" but the arrangement of the pegs is normal. Some people like to play baroque music on a modern violin using a Baroque style bow, especially in the case of Bach. I guess it makes the Bach triple stops easier to play and same for some string crossing patterns.
  7. When you go to a maker (bow or violin) you will be asked how you play and what you want out of the bow. If you have never played a Baroque style bow you won't be able to say how you play with a Baroque bow. A Baroque style bow from a respected modern maker will cost the same as a modern style bow from the same maker, i.e. thousands of dollars. Personally I would be reluctant to spend so much on something I know so little about. I would recommend getting an inexpensive bow, something like what Shar sells (under $200). If you use such a bow enough to appreciate the difference between Baroqu
  8. At some point someone buying a fine instrument has to trust someone involved, either the seller, dealer, or maker. There are so many stories of faked instruments that fool even so-called experts, the "Balfour" strad for example. One would think that buying from a living maker would be reliable as regards authenticity but it seems that an unscrupulous maker could import a white instrument and "finish" it and sell it as completely his own work and for his much higher price. There are so many pitfalls. If I were buying an instrument I would put most importance on how it plays and sounds. It
  9. Two extremely hard woods are lignum vitae and ipe. I saw somewhere that Lynn Hannings used ipe as a bow wood. Of course it is a rain forest wood. It is widely used to make decks with.
  10. Rachel Barton Pine usually plays a del Gesu, the 1742 "Soldat". In the small NPR studio we are very close to the violin and, to me, it has a wirey edgy sound which might serve well in a large hall. The warmth and softness of Sato's instrument, a Giovanni Grancino (1695), would at least partly be due to the gut strings and Baroque technique. It appears he was playing in a rather large room, maybe in a church(?), but from the reverb it would seem to be heard some distance away. For comparison I listened to Rachel Podger's recording of the piece and her interpretation seemed close to what Sat
  11. I want to play in an early music group but I can't afford to buy or commission a violin to play historically informed performance style. I thought I could just put some gut strings on a modern violin, have a baroque style bridge installed and use a baroque style bow but I have heard that using the baroque bridge and bow won't work because the neck angle will be wrong, the bridge won't work properly with the stronger bass bar. Do any of the makers here know whether this makes sense ? Thanks for your comments.
  12. I know of several women of petite stature who play 7/8th or 3/4th violins. One woman played a full size violin professionally but tried a 3/4th testing the sound and setup for a student and found that she liked it so much she kept it for herself! I'd also say that you have to be very careful with exercises to make your hand do what it doesn't want to do. So many musicians have injured themselves doing hand stretching exercises, even ones from famous methods books . If it is painful don't do it is my recommendation.
  13. FWIW Gidon Kremer has been playing a Nicolo Amati violin and prefers it to the Guarneri del Gesu he had been playing.
  14. What happens when instruments are bought from the UK or from the EU by USA citizens?
  15. I think slab cut backs are common in violas. Anyone want to comment on this except to make a viola joke out of it? E.g. there are so many viola jokes because violas are often made from joke wood.
  16. I don't know whether this is an issue but I notice that almost all of your pieces have fast tempo indications, except the Bach Andante of course. But if I were a judge I would miss hearing something at a really slow tempo such as Adagio or Lento, since there are musical as well as technical aspects in playing slow music that are not present at a faster tempo.
  17. But it's not everywhere at a high standard. I listen to a lot of music on YouTube or streaming and, really, there is no comparison with what I hear live in a good hall. There are not many orchestra halls in the world that can compare with Boston's Symphony Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, or the Vienna Musikverein. Then, too, the quality of the performance, i.e. instruments, skill of the players, and the interpretation are important. There is a place for classical music performances not at the highest levels. I play in a community orchestra and many people, who have never been to a class
  18. I wouldn't travel a long way just to hear a good orchestra. I do shortish trips to hear the Boston Symphony in their home hall 2.5 hours drive) and in Tanglewood in the summer (1.5 hours) and I usually go to New York City for the Met Opera a couple of times a year. Only exceptionally do I go to concerts by visiting orchestras in Boston or New York. If I were going to Amsterdam as part of a vacation trip to Europe I would try to get to The Concertgebouw, and when I was on a trip to Europe that included Vienna I did go to the Vienna State Opera. But those European trips were not just for the
  19. So many times it has been mentioned that when you hear a great soloist up close, such as Heifetz, you hear a lot of "scratchy" noises. I also appreciate hearing how Hahn plays Sibelius without orchestra.
  20. I love this piece but I wouldn't know how to tell you what Tchaikovsky's conception of it is other than just giving you the score for it. Every performance is an interpretation of the piece or a gloss on it, almost by definition there can be no "perfect" interpretation. Any interpretation gives us more insight into the music.
  21. Beautiful work. Do you like the sound with the "distorted" arching? Are you experimenting to see what the distortion does to the sound? Would you expect the undistorted original-when-new arching would sound better that the current arching? I don't know what to think about this. If age produced distortion makes a wonderful instrument would it be possible that further age and use would push it over the edge to sounding worse?
  22. @Bill Merkel When I've gone to medical offices or hospitals during the pandemic I have not been allowed to use my own mask, no one is. They hand out disposable mask when you enter and they are not N95 masks. I think I understand why they do this: used masks can become loaded with virus particles and thus become worse than wearing no mask.
  23. Yes, it is sad not to be able to attend live performances or play with other people. Watching and listening on-line is better than having no way to listen to the music. I agree that you lose the emotional connection with the performer. I have spent countless hours listening to music on records and can have an emotional response that way. I have seen a number of Metropolitan Opera live streaming performances. Considering the difficulty of seeing such a performance live in person in the opera hall, I am grateful for this opportunity. And with the Met streaming, I get some things I would n
  24. As an amateur player I enjoy playing string quartets. One day our quartet ventured to play something really difficult, Beethoven opus 130. At the end someone said "Well Beethoven must be turning in his grave after that". I responded, saying "If Beethoven didn't want people to play it he shouldn't have published it." Kopatchinskaja certainly has an idiosyncratic approach to her work. I find it interesting, drawing my attention to things I hadn't previously considered, not just the score but also the sounds of the instrument. Many soloists play the "received" interpretation, according to