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Stephen

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Everything posted by Stephen

  1. I'm in Boston. Bought it originally when I was in the area 20 years ago.
  2. Hi all: Does anyone know of the whereabouts of John Burdette? A maker from Cherry Hill, NJ area. I have a violin of his and am considering selling-- I'd guess that he would be as likely a source as any. Alternatively, does anyone have suggestions for a Philadelphia-area dealer known to handle modern or local makers? Thx
  3. I actually have a Toman violin, made in the early 90s. He lived only about a mile from my house in suburban Boston.
  4. Your orchestra network is likely to be useful. If you need an external resource, try joining the Amateur Chamber Music Players, which published a nationwide directory of people looking to form quartets and other small ensembles.
  5. I suspect that a lot of kids' lessons is to ease guilt of parents-- children who study are going to develop better, get into better schools, etc. And then the parents are off the hook because they have done the right thing. That's a pretty goal-oriented approach, however, and one not much connected to music per se. There's a nice book by an academic literary critic named Wayne Booth called "For the Love of it," which is a sort of journal/meditation on taking up an instrument late in life. Booth began the cello at around 30 (and he was a well-trained enough musician to have been aware of how awful he sounded early on.) Now he is a very competent, if unglamorous, amateur cellist in his late 60s or early 70s. He devotes much of his book to celebrating the civic value implicit in participatory activities, as distinct from spectator sports.
  6. Actually, I think it might mean something more like "playing is good, but forgetting WHY anyone bothers to play is also acceptable."
  7. Bach. I've often thought that the Preludio from the E-Major Partita (#3) would make a lovely processional. Has the air of a carnival barker clearing his throat and detailing the delights that will follow--- in a very festive vein. In fact, were money no object and were I thinking of getting married again, I would want to have the arrangement of this movement for orchestra and organ played. I think it's the Sinfonia from Cantata #29, and maybe one other cantata. Maybe if my daughter is interested... I did play the 3rd movement from the C-Major Sonata at my sister's wedding, during a break in the action before the vows. And for the recessional, one could do either of the last two movements of the E-Major Partita. Don't know from having tried what would work without piano, but Sarasate arranged a few Chopin Nocturnes that might do for the bridesmaids. Or, depending on how you feel about them, Paganini's "Witches Dance."
  8. Perhaps one of the auction houses. I see that Tarisio is handling a lot of equipment from the shop of Arthur Toman, who made one of my instruments. If these play as well as you suggest, there might be a lot of amateurs or students who would be happy to find a relative bargain. You didn't say how large the estate was. One other option would be to seed a music school with a bulk donation. An appropriate appraisal could either lighten the burden on the estate tax, or (if already passed to the son) provide years of income tax benefits.
  9. Quote: (For eg., when you see a series of measures, each of which is marked "f," what was intended at that time period was a crescendo!) I had a very literal-minded conductor in college who rehearsed a Mozart Symphony until each of a series of Fs was EXACTLY the same as the one before it. He was not a long-term success there, although I note that this gig is not on his resume, either. Lucky you playing the 4th. It's the only Beethoven symphony I haven't at least rehearsed, and it's one of my favorites.
  10. Try another bow. If you don't bounce, then it's the bow. I was cursed with a stick that did precisely this--- about 1/3 of the way up from the frog, it would skip. Nothing to be done about it, except to have a competent player try a stick if you don't think you can evaluate it effectively.
  11. Follow the section leader, even if he/she is wrong. If everyone does that, problems are easy to fix. And while I wouldn't INSIST on it if you find yourself in the outside seat of the stand, often the inside player takes on secretarial stuff like copying bowings. Certainly, that person should turn pages unless it is really easy for you to do with your left hand. Chords are often divided-- outside player plays the top. Also, when the part is divided, someone will have to decide if it is divided by player (e.g., outside/inside or 1,2,3; 4,5,6; 7,8,9, etc.) or by stand. Normally, it will be outside/inside unless it gets really complicated, as in Mahler or Debussy.
  12. Quote: Erika, I really don't understand the distinction between violins and fiddles. Aren't they pretty much exactly the same, except with respect to the way they're played and the music that is played on them? At any rate, what is the difference between your husband's violins and fiddles? T.F. Then what, precisely, do you mean by your screen name?
  13. Quote: BillW: I understand now. That's very interesting, I might wind up using some of that info, thanks so much! ConcertA: exactly, it's basically a toy given by an idiot who didn't know better, but had enough moolah to buy it without bothering to research it, so I actually quite like that it's nearly useless, it adds to her father's personality. What on earth should she be playing on? Hmm, she was from a very wealthy family, so she should have a good piece, but as she wasn't believed to have the sort of talent that warranted a tremendous expenditure, the violin she played, say, through college, should not have been terribly expensive. I would think that her father might have been willing to shell out between $5,000 to $50,000 under duress, if it were stressed that this was what she needed. Perhaps it could even have been a high school graduation gift. Any suggestions from anyone? Am I totally off-base with my price range? One shouldn't blame a parent for messing up a first purchase of a violin. They really have no way of knowing better. When my mother shopped for my first (also 1/8 size), she went to what was then the most prestigious dealer in NY, and asked what they had. She walked out that day with a French, handmade instrument (no name, of course) that had some age on it--- not a plywood job by any means--- and a bow that had a nice abalone insert on the frog. The whole thing cost something like $50 or $75, and she was convinced she was being taken. A full-size instrument is a different story, and there are any number of stories one could tell with that. By this time in a violinist's life, he/she will be a much more informed consumer. Was it a semi-famous name that had a lot of work done, and was hence lower priced? Was it the flavor-of-the-month modern maker being promoted by a dealer (@ maybe $20K)? Perhaps a shrewd purchase of something just above investment grade but not overpriced-- say, a Vuillaume, which is not so expensive as the Italian it is a copy of, but nevertheless quite nice at best? Those retail for around $100K. How wealthy is wealthy, and what conversation would she have had to get the new instrument bought and paid for? Remember, that any violin student's career is an endless series of trade-ups-- first in size, and then in quality, as possible.
  14. Quote: One last general question: I have her removing her wedding band before she plays. Is this usual? Or totally unnecessary unless it just bugs her? Professionals will often (not always) wear the ring on their right hand full-time. Very few musicians can afford the risk of losing jewelry, and so wouldn't remove a ring right before a concert.
  15. Quote: Stephen, VERY interesting, so there are little social hierarchies, I certainly might use something along those lines. Regarding practice, I've tried to keep references to pieces brief, mostly using just the composer's name if they're only doing one piece by that composer, the way I imagine it might be spoken of when discussing it among themselves. Here is a sentence spoken by Alexander, the cellist and leader of the trio: "I'm comfortable with the Haydn, God knows we've done it enough, and the Strauss is in good shape. Can you guys please practice the Handel during those two weeks, though?" he pleaded. Does this ring true? Are these characters meant to sound English? Strauss (Richard or otherwise) is generally a lot harder than Handel. You might also consider whether a trio would really be playing Strauss in the first place. Richard Strauss didn't write much chamber music, and if he did write music for this combination I am not aware of it. Anything by Johann Strauss or his waltzing relations would be played by a trio only in arrangement, and wouldn't comfortably fit on a program with Handel and Haydn. Come to think of it, not much of anything by major composers has been written for the instruments you mention. Putting together a program would require a lot of sleuthing or skill at arrangement. Anyone joining this sort of a group would need a compelling reason, such as that they were the only three musicians for miles around. If you care to, there might be something to be made of her not-quite-semi-professional status. She is likely good enough to have some respect among amateurs or non-musicians, but will likely be ignored by full-time pros. After you've decided what sort of community she lives in, approach an amateur and a professional in this setting to see what their attitudes toward her might be. Ask the pro if he would ever play with an amateur for fun. Consider also the relationship between music educators (i.e., people with education degrees) and performers (conservatory graduates, for the most part).
  16. THe most irritating violin faux pas I know of tend to be in films, where there are visual problems. That won't be your problem until you sell the movie rights. For your novel, you will have to get the relationship between player and instrument right. And this can vary a bit, depending on the personalities involved, the kind of violin, the professional status of the player, etc. For example, I've noticed that in amateur circles, people often ask what instrument one plays, and that certain answers are accorded respect (as if it signaled seriousness of the player, or perhaps financial success in the non-musical sphere). More serious players (and pros) will ask the same question, but put a different spin on it, as an instrument is a tool of the trade and not primarily a social ornament. More generally, you will have to get the musical stuff right. No vacuous references to "plaintive strains" in any piece of music, and don't make a big deal of things that aren't big deals. Some authors seem to learn one thing about music and produce it out of context just to show that they know, and that rings false. If a practice regime is part of the plot, figure out what your player would be working on but don't spend more time discussing the particular scales and etudes than your character would in real life. This stuff is really like brushing your teeth or going to the gym. For one example of a good, unobtrusive musical reference used to illuminate character, try Dorothy Sayers' "Gaudy Night." It's really a throwaway moment toward the end of the novel (which is not at all about music), but Sayers was a competent undergraduate musician and very careful about getting details right, whether musical, oenological, sartorial, or whatever.
  17. Quote: I also am unable to get past this aspect of the man. J. Or, for a more nuanced view, try Osborne's Karajan biography http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-h...1059505-1950368 which, among its other virtues, decisively refutes the double-membership canard put forth by Zucker and others.
  18. This is a tough quest, since most recordings have at least one significant shortcoming. What trips most up are tempo choices--- there is a common misprint in the Trio's marking that leads people to play it at half speed (Norrington) or ignore it altogether (most everyone else). Same with the march in the last movement with tenor solo. Also, nearly nobody believes Beethoven's tempo for the slow movement, or knows how to make it work properly if they do believe it. Almost everyone is too slow, here. Klemperer gets pretty close on expression and is actually faster than many of the competition. Toscanini is too slow and static in most of his recordings of this movement (which are otherwise quite beautiful), and Furtwangler (and his disciples) tend to be even slower. It's been a long time, but I seem to remember that Munch/BSO was pretty good overall, and I have heard nice things about Reiner. No specific memory about tempo choices, soloists, etc. I'd be intrigued to hear the Monteux recording. I participated in a studio recording once that observed all of the correct tempi to the letter (may still be available from www.bostonphil.org), but I was disappointed with the edited result and haven't been back for 10 years. Maybe time to revisit.
  19. Once octaves are more or less under control, don't rule out scales in tenths.
  20. Could really be posted under "events" but if anyone wishes to run into me that weekend, the Boston Philharmonic will be performing Mahler on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. I plan to be holding up the back wall on the left.
  21. This is not a real-time update from the trenches, but I have seen and played the Mozart/Bach WTC arrangements before. Pretty sure that at least a few are for string trio, and don't remember them to be especially virtuosic. I know you'll be a competent judge of level, of course.
  22. Quote: Oh, and speaking of Heifetz and his predilection of playing things fast, did he ever record the Barber? No.
  23. Even if she can limp through a 45 minute lesson, 3 hours in orchestra once or twice a week could wreck her for good. I'd say that she shouldn't play the audition, which is no big deal, because she shouldn't be in the orchestra--- for a while. If everyone thinks of this as "injured reserve" status, some good sense is likely to be injected into the process.
  24. John Harbison has done a bit for solo violin. Also, although I haven't seen it in a catalogue, Astor Piazzola has done some solo violin music, which has his usual touch.
  25. Where they say, "thank you very much."
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