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crazy jane

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Everything posted by crazy jane

  1. Slow movement, Schubert cello quintet. Arthur Rubinstein said of it, “This music has always sounded to me like a serene and resigned entrance to death. I have always wished to hear this movement, even on a record, in my own last hour.” I would also pick the whole quintet as my favorite chamber work--but maybe only if it's performed by Walter Weller's group.
  2. In our region, we were fortunate to have a dealer who has worked very hard to assist talented young players in finding very good instruments without bankrupting their families. I think he realized that he was cultivating his future clients, should these kids find themselves advancing in music as a profession. When my daughter (who in high school was lucky to be playing on a pretty good instrument that had been played by two generations of family before her) began the professional audition process after college, she also began auditioning better instruments through this same dealer, who ultimately reached out to other shops to find a match for her. It took about six months, but the violin she selected has served her very well in her professional capacity. The violin she selected was on trial from a shop two thousand miles away. I really recommend working though a good dealer who is willing to go the extra mile. Sure, he's going to make a nice commission--but that is well-earned, if he can access a much broader field of options.
  3. Along the same lines (for strings), never be the first player in or the last one out.
  4. I love Kenny Baker, too. But... Jerusalem Ridge
  5. It was my very great honor to play in the pit with this baritone for five different productions. The last was seven or eight years ago, when visa probem called him back to Korea. The Violetta is pretty spectacular, as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iBGPLH_dw8 of course Koreans can't sing. Everybody knows that.
  6. Nice to hear about George, who used to post here frequently and impressed me as a very kind man. I find his profile page (years active on MN) amusing--a true "old timer"!!
  7. James Burnham is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Raphael Bronstein. Burnham has held principal positions in several American symphony orchestras and performed for many years with the Metropolitan Opera. He was a long-time chamber music teacher at Greenwood Music Camp in Massachusetts and also taught as a Visiting Professor of Violin at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. He and his wife, Lesley Heller, produced an album for The Musical Heritage Society entitled The Heller-Burnham Violin Duo, which is currently available at most online venues. --from the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra bio page
  8. Well, bearing eight children while dealing with a husband in mental decline would certainly pose its challenges.... As the truly great violinist Camilla Wicks noted, “I don’t think the difficulty of having a career, marrying, and raising children will ever be solved. I didn’t dare tell management when I was pregnant. It was so hard. I wore special dresses and learned how to walk so I didn’t look pregnant.” (One of her children had significant special needs, and it sounds like her husband, whom she eventually divorced, was, well, "traditional" in his domestic perspective.) Her obit is definitely worth a read.
  9. I use Tuner Lite . It has a chromatic tuner as well as a pitch pipe function--and is free. (My cellist daughter recommended it, and she's got a pretty good sense of pitch.) Yay for quitting smoking! It's been 36 years since I did. Don't look back!
  10. I don't have small hands, but I do play a 16 3/4" viola. I strongly second Schradiek. I ate these up when I was young and it really built my technique. Now that I am much older, I find that my 16 3/4" viola grows when I take too much time off. To get back in shape, I do my calisthenics: the Schradiek first position exercises, to stretch my hand frame and increase left hand strength and fluency (--and to keep my first and fourth finger intonation honest); and select Kreuzer exercises for bowing patterns and intonation. By the way, my teacher also recommended taking up guitar (standard accoustic) to help develop the left hand. I never did, however.
  11. I am not sure the Primrose transcription was ever published. I do know that Roberto Diaz has a recording of it, so you might try contacting him through Curtis. Ask a Librarian (Library of Congress) is worth a try, as is your state's version of Ask a Librarian. If they have one, it is typically manned 24 hours a day by university librarians throughout the state and is accessible through most college and public libraries as a "Help" feature on the library menu.
  12. Wonderful post, Andrew. Happy New Year!
  13. If you enjoy literature, here is a prescient "short" (but rather long) science fiction story by E. M. Forster from 1909 about a world technological shift away from travel and direct experience and to self-isolation and virtual experience. I recommend it to all (along with Elizabeth Bishop's great poem, "Questions of Travel"). The Machine Stops
  14. When we walked into the wrong church in Prague--not the one with the organ concert (we'd seen musicians entering)--we were lucky enough to hear one of the most moving concerts of my lifetime: an all Dvorak program, none of which I was familiar with, the centerpiece of which was his wonderful Biblické písně (Biblical Lieder) for baritone and orchestra. The audience was rapt. No one coughed or whispered or unwrapped cough drops or clapped between movements, as they are wont to do in the States. I suppose that could seem unenthusiastic. The audience for Jenůfa in Budapest was similarly restrained and attentive. Maybe decades of war and totalitarian rule do that. But they were certainly there to hear the opera, and I am very glad we were, too (the opera house was a seven minute walk from our Airbnb). And in Nurnberg we were walking around near Hans Sachs Platz and heard familiar music coming from the opera house. I could have kicked myself for missing Siegfried that afternoon. I guess what I'm saying is I agree with Bill--the more music is available, the greater the opportunity there is for serendipity: the spontaneous discovery of something wonderful. (And I feel strongly that search engines have deprived us of much serendipity, leading us to search for that which we already know rather than discover something we never knew existed.)
  15. Ditto that! I've been in the pit for Lucia and L'elisir and enjoyed both immensely. Don Pasquale was, unfortunately, covid-cancelled. Oh, the tyranny of personal opinion...
  16. It seems to me that we need to be more careful in distinguishing the performance from the music. I have heard PhilipKT elsewhere denigrate Tchaikovsky's music as that of a "spoiled baby," so I am already questioning his criticism of PatKop, which I can't really distinguish from that of the composer himself. Music resides purely in the mind--performance interprets it. That is why it is so frustrating for some players, even great ones, to feel that performance is doomed to fail. Bach wrote his Art of the Fugue for no person and no performer and no specified instrument. In that way it is like a mathematic equation, awaiting application. Beethoven's late quartets are obviously music of the mind, purely. I expect Mozart's work was never performed truly as his imagination conceived it. (I once dreamed I was on stage playing a symphony I had written. It was completely vivid, detailed, and complex, and I received pleasure from "hearing" each musical voice truly....this, though I have never composed music in my life.) As for musical opinion, which this thread is full of, some of the musical insults on this site reveal just how subjective the "trained" human ear and mind are!
  17. The role in the 20th century has been (until recently) a bass-baritone (along the lines of Ramy). There's a wonderful recording with Walter Berry, Christa Ludwig, Fritz Wunderlich and Lucia Popp (Ferdinand Leitner). But it's rather a hoot to listen to two countertenors dueling in the political roles of Caesar and Ptolemy (different production)--gotta love it (and the amazing horn playing--natural?):
  18. Here is an interesting performance, for your consideration. It features divinely beautiful music, two unparalleled singers, and (curious for Salzburg) an imported band. Obviously the direction is....unusual. Yet the performers all seem to be enjoying themselves immensely, and the idea that Cleopatra seduces Caesar here not by her physical beauty but by the music of her words is, I think, wonderful. The production is at once both fresh and modern (if not to everyone's taste) and decidedly HIP in its musical renditions. Yet those "historical" elements--the countertenor, the vocal and instrumental ornamentation--actually contribute to the freshness of the performance, I think-- as though we are hearing Handel for the first time. Just curious how it is received (& it's entertaining to read the comments).
  19. I still can't get past your categorical condemnation of Tchaikovsky as a "spoiled baby"--that, for the man who wrote not only the deeply felt score of Eugene Onegin, but who also wrote the libretto, with its deep and complex insights into the diversity of human passions. I won't even get into his ballet scores. An open mind is a great thing--it makes the world a wonderfully infinite place.
  20. May justice be served. https://www.michiganradio.org/post/former-u-m-violin-professor-arrested-charged-transporting-minor-sex
  21. This is a very important subject that is fully deserving of the attention of the entire music community. There are two distinct issues at play: child rape (for consent does not exist for minors) and sexual harassment of "adult" students (often accompanied by coercion and threats to one's future career). Both involve the issue of institutional oversight in addition to faculty comportment. I have had a long career in academia, and I have also observed two of my daughters navigate the snake pit that is elite music school. Both attended Meadowmount as high school students (minors), and at least two pedagogues there were well known predators, one of whom was chasing my daughter. Ultimately both were dismissed--and both were very powerful people at Meadowmount and in the music industry. Curtis obviously deals with both categories of students, serving in loco parentis for one group and as an overseeing institution for the other. As a private institution, Curtis may not have to comply with Title IX (though I assume if they receive government monies, they must play by government rules). This obligates any employee in an institution to direct a student complaint to the Title IX office at their school. Unfortunately, while faculty receives intensive training with regard to Title IX, I am not sure all students are aware of their protections. And this isn't exclusively a "women's problem." I know of at least one young man who was subjected to unwelcome sexual advances from his teacher. Even at public universities, abuse remains rampant--not simply in music schools (witness Ohio State's wrestling team). Powerful and influential teachers and coaches tend to get a pass, and students suffer the consequences. Witness the case of William Preucil at CIM. My eldest daughter is now a professional symphony player who also coaches youth orchestra musicians. One of what she considers her most important jobs in this capacity is to give her female students, in particular, "the talk"--what they must be aware of as they approach college, and what options they have. (I won't even get into her experience with some of her male colleagues in the orchestra who are only emboldened by their tenure status.) Obviously most teachers (like you, PhilipKT) have the student's best interests at heart. But with some, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
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