Stephen Fine

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About Stephen Fine

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  1. Not all touring artists describe the experience the same way, but people do seem to experience time differently when playing the same music over and over again. Some famous touring artists never get over their stage fright. Yet, they manage to sound like touring artists. A big part of music school is teaching you to identify and control the physical tendencies he's pointing out in Vlad. Music school's approach is a tiered system. You cluster practice rooms together so first you can grab your friend out of their room and ask them to listen to you try something. (Tier 1: Friend in a Practice Room). You hold Studio Class once a week and have everyone in the studio perform with some regularity. Performers for studio class dress up and get critiqued afterwards. (Tier 2: Formal Studio Class in front of a whole class and teachers). A couple times a semester, the studio holds a recital open to the public and students will play a single movement or a short work. (Tier 3: Formal Recital in front of a live audience, performance of a short work). To graduate, students must present hour long recitals. At this point, hopefully all their experience leading up to now, all the critiquing by friends and teachers in the practice rooms and studio classes. All the experience of getting nervous in Studio Recitals, but persevering nonetheless... It adds up to a good level of experience to draw upon for if things go wrong in a graduate recital. (Tier 4: Formal Recital in front of a live audience an hour long, high pressure) Of course, at my music schools, there were no excused absences, except for Tier 5: Professional Orchestra Auditions and Tier 6: Professional Gigs with Major Artists and Ensembles. I wonder how closely this relates to Immersion Therapy which I know is often an effective way of getting over one's fears.
  2. Hi Kriss, Any update? I wish I had seen this post. I'm from Gainesville where Gino lived, and when I was a kid, I played on a 3/4 size bow named the "Gino Cavaceppi Memorial Bow" made by David Forbes. I think David knew Gino, you could call him if you wanted first-hand information. If your violin is in good shape, it's definitely worth something.
  3. Don't let a bad experience with a luthier dissuade you from practicing and attempting to upgrade your equipment. There are so many lovely shops. But, also, make sure you're affording your luthier the proper amount of respect. I know more about luthierie than your average player, but I would never think to tell my luthier how to do his job. But, then, the guy I see is an expert and I would have to have a lot of nerve to challenge his judgement. And one further thought when selecting a dealer: the ability to judge good instruments and bows is separate from the ability to provide good customer service.
  4. It was not cut down. And Paul showed up for one post on Maestronet to discuss the viola in 2012.
  5. I'm here! Sorry, a little late! I could write one of my own like the good old days, but Elizabeth Bishop says it better: Sonnet I am in need of music that would flow Over my fretful, feeling fingertips, Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips, With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow. Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low, Of some song sung to rest the tired dead, A song to fall like water on my head, And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow! There is a magic made by melody: A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep To the subaqueous stillness of the sea, And floats forever in a moon-green pool, Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep. - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - -- - - - - - - - - And here's one by Nikki Wallschlaeger: Violin I had the passion but not the stamina nor the discipline, no one knew how to discipline me so they just let me be, Let me play along, let me think I was somebody, I could be somebody, even without the no-how. Never cared one bit when my bow didn’t match the rest of the orchestra, I could get their notes right but always a little beyond, sawing my bow across the strings, cuttin it up even if I wasn’t valuable even if I lacked respect for rules of European thought and composure. A crescendo of trying to be somebody, a decrescendo of trying to belong, I played along o yes, I play along.
  6. I haven't asked him yet. He's a little bit out of my usual price range. Really nice American Craftsman style. Last year, I was looking for a flat file. My mom had purchased one for canvases and paper and larger scale art supplies that was a bit too large for even some of the large scores that I'm struggling to find the perfect shelf for, but it was very nice, so I started looking for a smaller version. I found something that looked perfect... so beautiful. And expensive, but in my price range too! I had almost finished ordering it when I rechecked the dimensions and realized that it was a jewelry box. I have another friend who just learned cabinet-making to convert his van into a tiny home. He could probably help me now too. But my cousin's work is exquisite and owning a piece by him would be meaningful.
  7. Thanks for posting. My cousin is a carpenter, and I like to dream about what my ideal music cabinet would look like. Right now, my music is arranged in several different cabinets of varying functionality.
  8. Excellent example, Bill. There are so many violinists with particular voices that, if you are familiar enough with them, you could never mistake for another. I love Kopatchinskaja, and I hope she inspires a generation of performers who take more chances. At SFCM when I was there, there were 3 violin professors of extraordinary musical abilities all of whom were technical powerhouses who knew how to take chances, they sounded completely different from each other. Check out: Ian: (if you don't know this sonata, don't miss the 2nd movement) Bettina: And Axel:
  9. Lebrecht is good for gathering all our gossip in one place, but this is a bad article... very bad. I disagree with almost all of it and certainly the thrust of it.
  10. Using your definition, we can only pretend we know anything at all. Studies of eyewitness and earwitness identification have proven how unreliable our own memories are for events we have seen and heard ourselves, especially over time, especially when other peoples' memories are discussed along with our own. I saw Rostropovich play Dvorak in 2000 and my memory is that he didn't use portamento between every note, and I have a recording of him and a few YouTube recordings of him playing without portamento between every note, but does that mean that I know that he didn't usually play Dvorak Concerto with portamento between every note? No, I can't know that. I didn't attend every single performance, and even if I did, who's to say my memory is accurate? And even if there was a recording of every single performance, who's to say that they haven't been digitally altered in the years since then? We don't only have descriptions of performances, by the way. We have much more. For one thing, we have early and later editions with fingerings and bowing's by various performers. These technical details reveal quite a bit about shifting. We also have the descriptions of how the students and colleagues of various performers played. We know how people sounded compared to what was considered normal. And it's good to remember that the descriptions of performances aren't from single sources, for major artists like Joachim we have reams of letters and reviews describing his playing. But if I'm arguing with you about whether it's possible to really know anything at all... well, that's a topic for a philosophy forum, not here. As far as I can tell, you listen to HIPP and enjoy it, so I'm not sure what we are arguing about here. Until you can provide me with a real example of anything at all instead of all this hypothetical criticism it's hard for me to respond. PS- finally saw your edit on the earlier post. I'm wondering if you have inside information about ensembles where the emphasis is "mostly musicological". Honestly, I only have a few friends in the scene, and while I know that's not how their ensembles rehearse, I can't say that I've done a survey.
  11. I don't understand what wiggle room you think there is. A concert 200 years ago, given the same score and musicians of a similar caliber, will sound roughly the same today even on modern instruments. The biggest disparities might come from tempo selection. This is an area where HIPP research has been "valuable". For example, Mozart's operas are replete with unlabeled dance movements that, in the time of Mozart, would have been instantly recognized. Everyone knew what a minuet sounded like. Everyone knew the steps and the vibe of it. Nowadays, we don't have that context any more. Play a minuet waltz tempo, play a minuet sarabande tempo, it doesn't matter... the modern audience doesn't have that cultural context. So we might ask, what value even is there in insisting that an aria accompanied by a minuet be played at a minuet tempo if the cultural context is absent... the answer is that the value is limited. As has been said countless times in this thread now, HIPP is just a template, just like the score itself. It helps us tap into the aural tradition that has been subverted by our own modern aural tradition. But there isn't wiggle room for portamento between every note (which was your example, not mine). Could there have been even more portamento than we thought? Absolutely. But not to a point where we wouldn't know about it. There's just not enough difference between modern performance practice and HIPP and the possibility of what historical performances actually sounded like for me to get the skepticism.
  12. So then why couldn't you provide a real example? We know for a fact that Beethoven would not have expected to hear portamento between every note. Can you provide an example of something that is being guessed at? PS- I don't see the difference in genre between a Schubert song and Phoenix's Lisztomania from their album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.
  13. Gowan, have you considered that modern pop/rock is pretty closely related to music in the style of Beethoven or Mozart (which is to say tonal and formal and progressive?). Mozart and Beethoven were musicians from professional musical families with immense musical talent. They became masters of the styles of the big cities that they had access to. The other genre that is probably easier to identify with the scores of Mozart and Beethoven is music for film and television. Is John Williams not in the style of Beethoven in the way that you mean? PDQ Bach has had some success. And there must be countless others that we just aren't aware of. Your Ancient Greek example I like but don't quite understand your take. Translation is incredibly difficult work, part science and part art. I think it is very similar to HIPP. Of course, the more removed in time you are, the more difficult it becomes, so translating and understanding the full nuance of Ancient Greek is more difficult than understanding and translating the full nuance of modern Greek. (Although, as you point out, we can only approach things with our own personal, cultural, temporal perspective.) If I had more time to think, I'd like to incorporate into this conversation the idea of an oral (or in this case aural) tradition. It's a bit of a fallacy these days to mistrust tradition in favor of documentary evidence. But I personally am only 2 generations from de Bériot, 3 generations from Viotti from my first teacher. And from my college teacher I'm only 3 generations from Joachim. These performances were not so long ago.
  14. We have quite a bit of written materials from students, teachers, and audience members about how different people played, what their style sounded like, how it differed from other musicians, how the fashion of technique evolved. We know about when continuous vibrato was developed, when various ornaments went in and out of style, improvisatory habits, how different musicians used their bows, shifting technique, etc. . . Quite frankly, your example is absurd. If you knew much about the subject, you would indeed be floored if research turned up that Joachim slurped between every note. We know a good bit about how Joachim sounded (even if we didn't have recordings of him from 1903). There are some performers and composers that we know very little about their style, Beethoven and Joachim aren't them. One more point. Historical equipment is the best teacher for how to play historically accurate. The gut strings and the Baroque bows force you to adapt your modern style over time. The Baroque bow stroke, the tendency away from sostenuto, that's not "made up", that's just physics.
  15. I just don't understand this mindset. It's overly skeptical. Any performance of Beethoven's Violin Concerto is ALREADY extremely similar to a performance from Beethoven's time. No matter the performer. We are using the same score, the same instruments, the same human limitations... sometimes in the same rooms. Add to that performers using historically accurate equipment and it sounds more similar.