Carl Stross

Beethoven orchestral masterclass with Maxim Vengerov

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5 hours ago, Carl Stross said:

I was referring to Shostakovici.   And "too Russian" is in the main, related to mood.  That is why for me he's not an irreplaceable composer. I have troubles uplifting my mood - I can do  depression naturally and effortlessly.  

That’s fair. Some composers appeal to us more than others because we prefer their message. I recall a comment someone offered about their own preference:”I like Mozart better. Beethoven is gloomy.”

The composer who can truly uplift us is the rarest of them all.

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8 hours ago, Carl Stross said:

Never you tolerate pro,s looking down at amateurs : they've been badly brought up and need fixin'. I mean, where is their money coming from ?

I've been mostly lucky in that the pros I've met have been lovely.

Where I have noticed that "derisive snobbism" has mostly been with "not very good players" thinking they were much better than they are and who put down the players that are just below them...if that made sense.

Dunno what that is. Ego? Small scale ego, I mean, not the ego required to be a competent player.

You can have ego and still be nice.

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21 hours ago, Rue said:

Where I have noticed that "derisive snobbism" has mostly been with "not very good players" thinking they were much better than they are and who put down the players that are just below them...if that made sense.

Dunno what that is.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

While there are some very knowledgable snobs out there, those are few and far between and they usually have some narrowness to their interests that accounts for their snobbery.

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At the end of the day, I don't personally want to participate in a masterclass with a renowned musician just to have that musician give me what is essentially a private lesson.  It is my belief that one goes into a masterclass already having learned a piece and ready to perform.  To me, the purpose of a masterclass is to hear what the instructor has to say and his/her thoughts on performing the piece.

If you watch Vengerov's other masterclass youtubes, you will see him impart his own interpretations to many students.  What they do with this information later on and whether they apply it to their own interpretation is entirely up to the student.  

Now as to the spin-off topic of composers, interpretation, emotional impact, etc....some people are in it for fame, some for money, some for personal gratification.  Bach wrote thousands of pieces.  Many were for the church, many were likely for himself, many were probably just written for a paycheck (this last one is purely speculation).  Nonetheless, these are pieces of music that we have to work with and if the piece just doesn't speak to you or if the piece is just blah for you...why don't you inject some life into it yourself?  The beauty of art and music is that you can do these things.  I am fairly confident that Vengerov is doing just that.

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On 10/18/2020 at 7:03 AM, PhilipKT said:

That’s fair. Some composers appeal to us more than others because we prefer their message. I recall a comment someone offered about their own preference:”I like Mozart better. Beethoven is gloomy.”

The composer who can truly uplift us is the rarest of them all.

Agreed.  I will take it a step further...the ARTIST who can truly uplift us with their interpretation of "gloomy" music is also pretty rare, but very much coveted.  

I LOVE the Beethoven vln cto...but I can rarely sit through all 45 minutes (most pretty gloom and doom) of it lol....having said that, I can sit through ASM's version of it very easily or Heifetz's version (only because it is more like 38 minutes LOL!)

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1 hour ago, violinnewb said:

Agreed.  I will take it a step further...the ARTIST who can truly uplift us with their interpretation of "gloomy" music is also pretty rare, but very much coveted.  

I LOVE the Beethoven vln cto...but I can rarely sit through all 45 minutes (most pretty gloom and doom) of it lol....having said that, I can sit through ASM's version of it very easily or Heifetz's version (only because it is more like 38 minutes LOL!)

Your comment illustrates the Collaborative effort involved. It’s not just the composer, and it’s actually not just the performer, the listener also plays an important role in what he brings to the experience.

The Khachatryan cello Concerto is a dreadful piece, but I have heard exciting performances of it.

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3 hours ago, violinnewb said:

LOVE the Beethoven vln cto...but I can rarely sit through all 45 minutes (most pretty gloom and doom) of it lol

Quite common : that's because of the way it was ( intentionally ) written.  There is somewhere a short version at around 22 minutes, quite effective. I know who did it but can't retrieve the name. Though it is somewhere inside my head. There is also a ( very )  simplified version of the 1st Mov, maybe by Baklanova (?).

The nice thing about B's c/to is that it works with diametrically opposed interpretations. A very academic and a free interpretation ( close to "nuts" :) ) can be equally effective. 

The concert shines brightest I think, when played with a small, minimalist orchestra and preferable an Opera orchestra. In general Opera orchestras are far more flexible, alive and downright musical compared with Symphs.  A good Opera orch is all around a much better organism.

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On 10/16/2020 at 6:16 PM, PhilipKT said:

 

Tchaikovsky’s music strikes a chord with the memories of shallow grief. Think of a teenage boy who has lost his first girlfriend. One of the books I have in my permanent library is called “men of music” and in their chapter on Haydn, they specifically say“ [with Haydn’s music] You cannot ‘wallow’ as you can with Tchaikovsky” 

 

Yes, and are you aware where this is coming from?

Used to be music people regarded Tchaikovsky and his compatriots as lesser composers because they were of "the Slavic race" (a construct since abandoned, but living on in these value judgements about the culture). Brahms and Elgar were better as was shown by their superior contrapuntal skills. And primarily they were of the "German race", thus more "objective," manly, and less prone to "wallowing". We all know where this type of thinking ended.

And then there's also the issue of Tchaikovksy's sexual orientation...

I both like Tchaikovksy and Shostakovich and see many similarities. They are both composers with an intensily theatrical bent. So if people are experiencing this much greater "depth" in DSCH that is largely because DSCH is manipulating the audience with theatrical means, just like Tchaikovsky did, among other things by creating vast dynamic changes.

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2 hours ago, Herman West said:

Used to be music people regarded Tchaikovsky and his compatriots as lesser composers because they were of "the Slavic race" (a construct since abandoned, but living on in these value judgements about the culture). Brahms and Elgar were better as was shown by their superior contrapuntal skills. And primarily they were of the "German race", thus more "objective," manly, and less prone to "wallowing". We all know where this type of thinking ended.

And then there's also the issue of Tchaikovksy's sexual orientation...

It comes across as Brahms and Elgar were superior technically to Tch's compatriots. That's really not the case....  :) 

I know nothing about Tch besides some of his music, some of which I like A LOT. I heard he was a homosexual but I find it hard to believe. 

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20 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Your comment illustrates the Collaborative effort involved. It’s not just the composer, and it’s actually not just the performer, the listener also plays an important role in what he brings to the experience.

The Khachatryan cello Concerto is a dreadful piece, but I have heard exciting performances of it.

Frankly, there isn't a cello concerto that I don't love...but yess...collaboration AND the listener make huge differences!  I have seen many orchestras with their collective heads down just playing by rote while the soloist is performing her heart out, and vice versa.  I think the best is when a conductor is pouring his should out while the orchestra just plows away.

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There is a Masterclass with Christian Tetzlaf on the Bach Chaconne that illustrates alot of what we are saying here.  

In the masterclass, the violinist gives a solid performance of the Chaconne.  KEEP IN MIND...I say solid as in she hits most of the notes and plays it through by memory and with proficiency.  

Having said that, Tetzlaf goes through painstaking efforts to basically say that the violinist played the Chaconne like a robot.  My words, not his.  

The Chaconne is another LONG piece that is enigmatic.  The title itself suggests that it is a dance.  But it is mostly gloom and doom (at least the minor sections which is most of the piece).  There are very few dynamics written and even though it is technically a brilliant piece, it takes a whole lot to make it appealing to me, personally.  I also say these things from the mindset that the Chaconne is on my bucket list and I have recently begun learning it. LOL

Now, is it a negative thing that Tetzlaf and Vengerov are trying to tell these students to play  with more, umm...lets say creativity, emotion, etc.?  Is it bad that they are using there own interpretations to make suggestions?  

In the case of Vengereov, his instruction and suggestions to the young man are particularly interesting to me because alot of it has to do with the soloists relationship with the conductor, the orchestra, and the score.  These are things that most soloists and orchestras don't actively think about.  In fact, many of the orchestras, a couple professional and mostly community, have more or less told the soloists "don't worry, play your way and we will follow you."  While I generally agree with that, why not teach our students that the solo part is symbiotic to the orchestral score?  And while doing so, why not throw in some imagery?  

LOL why is this thread so compelling to me?  I don't think it should even be a debate on the topic of a teacher's influence on a student.

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6 hours ago, Herman West said:

Yes, and are you aware where this is coming from?

Used to be music people regarded Tchaikovsky and his compatriots as lesser composers because they were of "the Slavic race" (a construct since abandoned, but living on in these value judgements about the culture). Brahms and Elgar were better as was shown by their superior contrapuntal skills. And primarily they were of the "German race", thus more "objective," manly, and less prone to "wallowing". We all know where this type of thinking ended.

And then there's also the issue of Tchaikovksy's sexual orientation...

I both like Tchaikovksy and Shostakovich and see many similarities. They are both composers with an intensily theatrical bent. So if people are experiencing this much greater "depth" in DSCH that is largely because DSCH is manipulating the audience with theatrical means, just like Tchaikovsky did, among other things by creating vast dynamic changes.

How is is possible to denigrate Tchaikovsky because he is “Slavic“, and yet venerate Rimsky and Borodin and -at the time- Glinka, who were also Russian? I’ve been in music for 50 years and I’ve never heard a peep about such a claim, either in the present or in my history books. Unless you know something about Elgar’s lineage that I don’t, he was as English as Rule Brittania. Shaw’s brilliant essay about Elgar should stop any chatter about him or his music being in any way “German”

“Theatricality” is shallow. It is literally “putting on a show” and if all you see in Shostakovich is “theatricality“, well then...

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Ugh...I love Brahms as well but really...another 45 minute violin concerto with 70% double stops and chords...

Once, I was in a festival symphony and we played Brahms Academic Overture, Hungarian dances 3 and 5, Symphony no. 1 and the Violin Cto...I slept for a day afterwards...talk about loooonnngggg.....

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