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Last year, we spent an afternoon the day before our first concert playing around with some new recording equipment including a multi-camera switcher, trying to add a bit more production value to our videos.

I love this repertoire!  Kim Kashkashian and Robert Levin have a 2007 album called Asturiana: Songs from Spain and Argentina.  After I heard it, I immediately sent her an email asking for some of their arrangements and I only had to wait 10 years before they published them.  The edition is very expensive (and in two volumes) and doesn't include exactly the same repertoire as the album, but it's definitely worth it for any violist.

Anyway, please enjoy these three songs by Ginastera, Guastavino, and Montsalvatge:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kviZB7gc9AI

(annoying that we still can't embed videos)

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Thanks for posting. Love the playing. Anyone one hearing these pieces, especially for those students interested in trying new literature, should enjoy hearing the less played pieces that are out there

Sounds good, but keep tweaking on the new set up. I know that the performance is a system check... but you should go for it.

The Kashkashian/ Levin on the ECM label were important for me. The Elegies recordings made me re-think how much emotion should be introduced in to performance. Have never located the vinyls but have multiple cds in various locations. I do have kids attempt the pieces. The Benjamin Britten Elegy was a shocker when first heard and have loved it since. Bless Manfred Eicher as he produced so much great music. 

Levin, now retired should be heard if one is luck enough to attend his masterclass. The details offered are considerable negotiations as to how one might play a passage. When Thousands of us perform Mozart yearly, what and why are the decisions that we make or should be made? That dialog is presented freely, without limitations. I aspire to teach and present the information he offers and delivers. 

Utube access is wonderful. Making a commercial recording has many limitations, among them, the Label and the producers. The internet allows for performances outside set limitations by other forces. Just a thought...

 

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14 hours ago, GoPractice said:

Sounds good, but keep tweaking on the new set up. I know that the performance is a system check... but you should go for it.

The Kashkashian/ Levin on the ECM label were important for me. The Elegies recordings made me re-think how much emotion should be introduced in to performance. Have never located the vinyls but have multiple cds in various locations. I do have kids attempt the pieces. The Benjamin Britten Elegy was a shocker when first heard and have loved it since. Bless Manfred Eicher as he produced so much great music. 

Levin, now retired should be heard if one is luck enough to attend his masterclass.

Thanks for the comments, very helpful.  We are definitely going to keep playing around with the technical aspects.

That Elegies CD is one of my favorites as well.  And the Britten Lachrymae is hopefully going to be one of our future recording projects.  We've performed it a few times now.  It's one of my favorite 20th century viola pieces.  And I have a personal connection to the Elegies album: my viola was the one Kim used back then. 

I heard Levin live once.  I'd built him way up in my head after all the recordings, and then he managed to exceed expectations.  Such a thoughtful musician.

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5 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

Thanks for the comments, very helpful.  We are definitely going to keep playing around with the technical aspects.

That Elegies CD is one of my favorites as well.  And the Britten Lachrymae is hopefully going to be one of our future recording projects.  We've performed it a few times now.  It's one of my favorite 20th century viola pieces.  And I have a personal connection to the Elegies album: my viola was the one Kim used back then. 

I heard Levin live once.  I'd built him way up in my head after all the recordings, and then he managed to exceed expectations.  Such a thoughtful musician.

You must have posted earlier that your instrument was hers... It stuns me. I have wanted to hear that particular instrument and that of Ms Fuchs'. Ms Kashkashian's playing was not overly sappy, had strength and control. Her control was inspiring as yours is... I wanted so much to sound like that for decades. Not sure of the path as how the instrument was acquired but it was never a thought in my mind that possessing such an instrument was possible. 

My path to instruments is not common, but yours must have been more than luck. 

When I first started performing, an Italian viola was lent to me and it was good. If only I had known how to play it then. It was like I was sweeping dust around in circles within a large room. Never cleared or polished the remote corners... not close.  Then after listening to Ms Kashkashian hundreds of time on the cd, some courage appeared and I started to "push" the instrument and people would comment on how lovely the viola sounded ( not my playing. )

Context has been important in my life. I have had to defend a lot of decisions. Listening to artists defend their work is a lower form of grace. Not that I possess that grace, but there are many who do with hardened hearts. Hearing youth in their 20s talk about discoveries and implementing undeveloped ideas both infuriating and a delight. I see how my lack of courage at the time was such a stress and it looks relatively simple now. And within chamber situations persuasiveness and sincerity can not run out as I am more likely to be in the position to beg to play with players. Or appear to be too aloof.

My forced model performer and perhaps tone was of Mr Grumiaux as a kid. Because of my personal habits of being a hybrid of Elman and a theremin with thin tone, I spent hours on scales and arpeggios. Doctor's orders, no seriously, he had a PhD. I was a wimpy kid. Then after the Elegies cd, no bullies were kicking rosin in my face. Well, it wasn't a quick transformation as it took many years and injuries. After having given back the first Italian instrument, I was able to purchase a basic German instrument played by the daughter of a saxophone performing friend, where he had also started on viola in the 1930s when there was no money. So he understood violas and value but had it sit in the closet for 30+years after the daughter stopped playing in high school. I played everything on that instrument and because it was mine, pushed it with less regard. I worked on it in the shop. Tuned it up, tuned it down, electrified, CGCG tuning... with Spirocores, sounded like a Primrose recording on good days ( the instrument was heard. ) Then the sister instrument to the Italian, larger, was lent to me. This time I was ready. But a serious mistake was made the first six months as I wanted very much to sound like Ms Kashkashian on the cd. Subsequently, having heard her live, there was a better understanding of how she sounded and what she was capable of. I was actually closer at the time. Instruments do have personalities and this one resisted a smooth sweetness in the upper voice, perhaps because of the size, 

Though it has been 30 years since that release, that controlled but expressive, tonally dynamic but natural ( within the normal confines of bowing, ) musical and emotionally checked -- but as more one listed, it was sorrowful. A friend had to played some Brahms at a professor's passing and he played it notably well without much emotion because the notes presented so much. And I respected that ability. Listening to the cd, something solidified within my psyche as a violist, understanding what was possible. That I wanted to play all the notes with the possible intent of the composer, and expressively. Hers was one where I could not describe why it was public but so intimate... The playing spoke in words I did not know but as a newly- minted performing "violist" it was a skill and sound I wanted. Until that point, for example, Walter Trampler's ease of coloring the space was appreciated. It was possible to sort of play that way, but was never capable of bringing it to on stage volumes. The tone would start to harsh at about mezzoforte.  

Artists are cagey, especially when cornered, as many do not want to share what was behind the work. Visual or conceptual artists are the worst. "Oh that walrus in a tunic juggling... It would please me if the viewer were to experience something individual."  No dumbass, we see a walrus, juggling. as i do. with words. 

Sometimes we do not possess the ( correct? ) words that can describe what occurred. Frankly, the experience was a little too intense at first and it was only possible to listen to it in bytes. I was staying at a friends house for the summer and would listen to it on headphones late at night 60 seconds at a time. The Glazunov was listenable for the average person so played him that track. Looking at the cd jacket he commented that the composer must have truly loved his friend.   

I own an viola that allows me to play in any section, but it has limitations there too. It can create a unique and beautiful voice but the bow currently is a welding torch. Still learning how to manage it after 2 years. Not performing because of the current situation has slowed development. Violin work is easier to get because a piano duo is cheaper and "safer." SO hearing your instrument, it is remarkable but on my laptop that rich midrange was withdrawn. It is there, creamy and lively, but not as loud as the controlled and sweet top end and robust low end. Will have to get out the headphones.    

Yes, Lachrymae is the proper title. Never looked up the intended meaning. Let us see...

Just saw this nicely written ( presented ) post.

https://goodmorningbritten.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/listening-to-britten-lachrymae-op-48/

 

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22 hours ago, GoPractice said:

Though it has been 30 years since that release, that controlled but expressive, tonally dynamic but natural ( within the normal confines of bowing, ) musical and emotionally checked -- but as more one listed, it was sorrowful. A friend had to played some Brahms at a professor's passing and he played it notably well without much emotion because the notes presented so much. And I respected that ability. Listening to the cd, something solidified within my psyche as a violist, understanding what was possible. That I wanted to play all the notes with the possible intent of the composer, and expressively. Hers was one where I could not describe why it was public but so intimate... The playing spoke in words I did not know but as a newly- minted performing "violist" it was a skill and sound I wanted.

Their Brahms recording was formational for me.  It's so good.

Here's a taste for the uninitiated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aokIMamg1l4

 

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40 minutes ago, Stephen Fine said:

Their Brahms recording was formational for me.  It's so good.

Here's a taste for the uninitiated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aokIMamg1l4

Wow, great post. This was the gate way drug to Mahler.

A clarinetist friend played this at her Recital and comment on her attempt taper her phrases like string players. She had a lovely tone and her middle phrasing due to air was nothing I could match. But upon re- hearing this recording those memories flow back.

Late Brahms chamber works are so bountiful in possibilities.

I was playing period on period instruments and tried playing Brahms on my wheezy instruments. Talk about bow speeds, the instruments sound great, but the attack needs to be sure footed or the sound takes about as long to develop as warming up a cup o'noodles.

* The bonus at the time was that I was soooo eager to switch back and forth. My music was was falling apart from being thrown around. From Monteverdi to Lennox Berkeley, Mozart, L'Histoire, Bach, struggle with Biber... struggle... then back to Poulenc. Then lunch. The morning just disappeared. Each note was like a new paint on fresh canvas. It was rich and wet and the shimmer of it was a revelation. It through me back to being a child making discoveries. I never practiced so hard to that I hated it and lucky for it. I rarely feel young these days, and do not necessarily miss it, but this recording takes me back. 

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