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Lydia Leong

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Everything posted by Lydia Leong

  1. My inclination is to say that if you're going to own just one Joshau Bell disc, it should be his "Gershwin Fantasy"; it's an excellent choice of repertoire, well-played. Similarly, if you're going to own a single Rosand disc, I would make it his "Aaron Rosand Plays...", with the Joachim "Hungarian" concerto, the Ernst concerto, and other infrequently-heard virtuosic works. If you want to hear Rosand in more mainstream repertoire, his Sarasate disc is an excellent choice.
  2. quote: Originally posted by funny_mom: What about Perlman's Encore and Perlman's A La Carte? "A La Carte" is terrific, especially since the accompaniment is orchestra, not piano, as it typically is with most of the works that Perlman plays on it. (Among them is one of my favorite short works, Sarasate's Introduction and Tarantella, which is, I think, much-enhanced by orchestra rather than piano, especially the use of percussion.) "Encores" is typical first-rate Perlman playing, though much of what is on the CD has been done better by other players, in my opinion. It's not good enough to make my list of things that everyone ought to have.
  3. The first two movements of the Barber are not particularly difficult. I would say that the difficulty level is comparable to the first two movements of the Bruch G minor. The last movement is more challenging. You need a very good, fast, continuous, heavy spiccato in triplets, perfectly in sync with your left hand. The left-hand gymnastics are modest, but the tempo is quite quick (though you have some discretion here), and must be kept steady. It's essentially a perpetual motion piece. (Have you done Paganini's Moto Perpetuo or a similar work? If you loved it, you'll probably enjoy the Barber's last movement. If you hated it, the Barber's last movement will probably be **** .) The violin part is unedited. You might look upon this as a positive or negative thing.
  4. I like Shaham's "Four Seasons", though I'm sure there will be some who disagree. There's a nice little "Winter" video bonus on the disc, too. I'm not familiar with the Perlman/Stern Bach Double. I don't much care for "Greatest Hits" discs, usually. For Perlman, I'd rather recommend his "Bits and Pieces" to anyone looking for that kind of thing. Better yet, get Milstein's "Encores" CD. Hahn's Barber/Meyer CD is wonderful and a must-hear. Milstein's Bach set on DG is my personal preference, but his EMI recording is also very good. I think that if you're only going to own a single Kreisler album, EMI's "Kreisler Plays Kreisler" should be it. I can't recommend Mutter's Mozart, even the slightest bit. Get Grumiaux's set instead; it's cheap (Philips 2-for-1) and outstanding. Perlman's "Great Romantic Concertos" set is fairly good, though not as good as a now out-of-print EMI 3-CD set of his. I'd recommend buying the single discs instead: Mendelssohn/Bruch (the early, 1970s recording) is a good place to start. The Heifetz Mendelssohn/Tchaikovsky on RCA suffers from overly fast tempi. It's certainly characteristically Heifetz, but probably not the best sampling one could get. I'd recommend his "Showpieces" recording instead, or better yet, his EMI mono recording of the Sibelius and Glazunov. [This message has been edited by Lydia Leong (edited 10-31-2000).]
  5. Iceman, Have you tried the Olive E in heavy gauge? The normal, medium-gauge Olive E whistles to the point of unplayability on my violin, but the heavy gauge is fine, and the "ring" of the string is almost as good, with no perceptible difference in E-string speed of response.
  6. Max, Strings can really alter the sound of an instrument, some in more extreme ways than others: Pirastro Aricores, for instance.
  7. If you think there's something wrong with the set-up of a particular instrument, the shop should be willing to check it over. (After all, they should want to maximize their opportunity to make a sale). I dislike shops optimizing the string set-up of instruments, beyond putting on a decent E string, and good-quality strings with more or less neutral properties, like Dominants or Tonicas. It throws in an unnecessary variable.
  8. Given that a set of Infelds is now only about $5 more than a set of Dominants, through the string discounters, there's a compelling case to be made for Infeld Red/Blues rather than Dominants.
  9. HKV, That statement doesn't make sense, given the physics of sound associated with vibrato...
  10. At least on violin, a minimal-pressure clean stop of the string will get you sufficient articulation. What takes practice and is worth building up are the extensors -- what you use when you lift a finger from the string -- a very fast vertical action which actually only barely raises the finger above the string. Get good at this and your playing sounds nice and clean.
  11. There has been a slow escalation of pitch over the last century-plus, because the higher frequency results in a more "brilliant" sound. A-440 was an agreed-upon "standard" during, I believe, the late 19th century, in an effort to halt the upward progression of pitch, which, among other things, was harmful to instruments (older instruments are designed for a lower tension, i.e., lower pitch). 442, 443, or even 450 gets used in some orchestras today, though. A good player should be able to adjust to an arbitrary A. Indeed, a good player should be able to adjust to his strings being slightly out of tune, without actually playing out of tune (which does mean having to avoid open strings if this occurs, of course).
  12. Before you spend a lot of money: Rehair the bow, make sure the violin set-up is good (bridge, soundpost, etc.) and try a different brand of E string. (If you are using the Dominant E, definitely do this! The standard Dominant E is awful.) For $3000, though, you should be able to get both a decent-quality violin and bow.
  13. Excessive gyration also destabilizes the "platform" of the violin, making it far more difficult to achieve precise bow control and left-hand exactitude. Competition judges at the local level are often massively ignorant musicians. Movement was discussed in a thread some months back. I judge it likely that people who criticize a performance based on movement are the ones who are incapable of a deeper, more thoughtful insight into someone's playing. Don't lock your knees, though. Supposedly this can lead to fainting.
  14. My own experience in youth orchestras was that "tuning people" were only available in school orchestras -- youth symphony members were expected to be able to tune on their own. I used four fine tuners until I was strong enough to turn the pegs smoothly on my own. I kept two fine tuners on my three-quarter-size (A and E strings), and did for a while on my full-size as well. I still find the A peg to be very awkward -- short arms, small hands, and the A is tough to get good leverage on. If it weren't for the negative impact of a fine tuner, soundwise, I'd continue to use an A fine tuner. Eventually, as a kid, I learned to cheat, and ask the oboe for an A backstage. (I consistently occupied principal chairs, so oboe players usually were happy to oblige a polite request.) These days, you're probably safe taking Andy's suggestion, and using a digital tuner beforehand, if you know the frequency of A your orchestra tunes to. (Obviously if ou do this, you need strings that are not sensitive to the heat of stage lights.)
  15. Have you folks seen the board software that Sheila's board uses? For those who don't like the MaestroNet format (I think UBB is a more robust piece of software), the software Sheila's board is using lets you pick one of a whole bunch of different presentation formats, including the old-board-style, new-board-style, and a bunch of others as well.
  16. Emma, I think you need to distinguish the things you ned to play professionally, vs. what you need to be a contented amateur. Amateurs need not devote excessive time to practice, buy expensive instruments, etc. They DO need to keep their fingernails short, and devote some reasonable amount of time to practice (certainly 15-30 minutes a day). I admire those with the patience to work with beginners.
  17. My concern with the Arcus is that it feels so extremely different that it requires radical changes to "normal" bowing technique for off-the-string strokes. This presents a challenge in getting used to the bow, for advanced players, and for players just learning fine control, it might be detrimental to long-term development, if the player ever plans to do anything other than use an Arcus.
  18. Quartettist, Why do you call the pieces in the Suzuki books dull? They don't strike me as being any more dull than what you'd find in any other repertoire collection for beginners. Indeed, there's a good selection of simplified good music. (It's something of a pity that nobody has done a CD set of the "actual" pieces Suzuki arranged.)
  19. Indeed, I am reminded of a Romanian violin teacher that I had as a child. By all rights, my teacher should have dropped me during the very lengthy period I was unenthusiastic about playing -- there was an entire year when I didn't practice at all, or only practiced for an hour the night before my lesson. I continue to be grateful to him for having doggedly kept at it.
  20. I was in two large Suzuki programs as a child, and I believe that not a single violin teacher in either program neglected scales or etudes, from practically the very beginning, not to mention supplementary material for repertoire or the use of additional method books. I did Doflein, for instance, along with Schradieck and Sevcik, as a beginner. There are teachers, both Suzuki and non, who do not believe in teaching etudes, but they are relatively rare. The only really notable one I can think of is Nell Novak, teacher of the cellist Wendy Warner, who has done a lot of collaboration with Rachel Barton. I suspect the development of musicality is heavily stunted by the fact that children don't listen to enough music -- and don't get to nearly enough concerts. Fritz Kreisler grew up surrounded by the music of Vienna. Auer's pupils were surrounded by music from an early age, owing to their music-school training from early childhood. Etc.
  21. Very few people measure the success of banner ads through click-thru rates any more, though this remains an interesting and important metric. It's just as important to gain the things out of banner ads that one gains out of traditional print, TV, radio, etc. advertising, like brand awareness -- things that are not so readily tangibly measured, unfortunately. (wearing my industry analyst hat for a moment)
  22. I don't think that there's much evidence that professional musicians come from a particularly wealthy demographic, though no doubt they come from a slightly better-off demographic than the population as a whole -- born into families that could afford to give their children private music lessons.
  23. Loren caught my drift exactly. Financing a car is near-trivial today, and there are a goodly number of people driving around with cars that cost upwards of $30K. Indeed, I wonder how many people own, over the course of a lifetime, cars that cost in aggregate more than the purchase price of their house!
  24. A side note to JKF: A Peresson, these days, will run you about $30K.
  25. crystal's post on $30K violins made me wonder the following: If you could pay for a violin the same way you pay for a car -- i.e., financing over several years, or leasing, at comparable rates -- how many of you would buy car-priced instruments?
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