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ysaye
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Prof. Auer wrote a book on what repertoire he gave to his students ages ago. In that little book, he started off with Kreutzer and Rode Studies, followed by Viotti, Kreutzer, Rode, Spohr Concerti, then Dont Caprices and Bach sonata, Mendelssohn concerto and so on. What amazes me is why Prof. Auer didn't give his students Mozart concerti. He mentioned he didn't give the Bach concerti because it's not musically interesting. Nothing was explained about the absence of the Mozart concerti. Does anyone know why?

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I have perhaps the same work by Leopold Auer titled: Violin Playing as I Teach It, copyright 1921 -- a fascinating book historically and of a true teaching master.

Written in his advanced years of great maturity. The sequence of student works are quite as you say in his chapter XIV: Practical Repertory Hints -- What I Give My Pupils to Play. Mozart is not listed there.

However, he is mentioned numerous times in the book and interestingly so on page 156 under the chapter: Nuance, where I quote:

"If the violinist can play Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, with the proper beauty of nuance their music demands, he need not fear any similar problems which the more modern works of the repertory may offer." So, perhaps it is that he regards Mozart's works to be more in the category of highest expression a violinist may achieve rather than that which is best suited to those who still have a long way to go and therefore are more likely to profit more from lesser works -- Perhaps.

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I studied with an Auer pupil who stated "Only the very young and the very foolish play Mozart." The implication being that (as another teacher once told me) "Playing Mozart is like standing naked on a pedestal and pointing out all your blemishes." I don't know if the first teacher's quote was from Auer or not, but it's stuck with me. He DID teach Mozart works to his students.

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While I respect Auer's accomplishments as a teacher, I must say sometimes he doesn't come across well with historical hindsight.

I mean wasn't he the fellow who pronounced Tchaikovsky "unplayable" and unsuitable for public performance? What a slap in the face for the composer who originally dedicated the concerto to him...Auer apparently even advised Sauret against playing it.

In the the book (Violin Playing as I Teach It) I also vaguely recall he was quite critical of continuous vibrato. In my vague recollection he also made some derogatory comments regarding scales in that tome.

Musical tastes change with time, but Auer was perhaps too conservative.

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Auer later retracted that "unplayable" statement, saying that what he actually meant was that he didn't have adequate time to prepare it for performance.

He did, after all, teach the concerto to his students.

How many contemporary violin teachers do you know that routinely teach a brand-new concerto to all of their students, after all? Rates of adoption for new repertoire have certainly changed.

Auer decried vibrato that was not tastefully applied. This is still a valid criticism, I think.

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Ah! To say this without seeming too catty - a dilema.

If I had to depend only on the Mozart, Bach, and Handel interpretations of some of Auer's best known former students (is that too much of a generalization?) - I too might not have a very high opinion of the works. I feel fortunate to be living in a time when these great composers have come back into full recognition and the techniques that full exposition of their music now requires have become recognized as critical to all violin technique.

I realize that a good bit of this has "sneaked in" while I've been fiddling away for the past 60+ years - but I think the way it is being done now is the right way, although I sometimes find the "original music" versions that have also "sneaked in" kind of barren to my tastes. The published opinions of Leopold Mozart notwithstanding, I like a little vibrato on it too, just like Pinkus Zukerman does.

Andy

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Do any others share a view that a little less vibrato and a little more tonal shading would be welcome? Of course, many who know me believe I was born about 200 years too late on many counts -- ah, l'ancien regime!

I am quite in agreement with Auer on this and appreciate his very pointed opinions so stated. It requires greater intellectual effort and technique to explore and create proper shadings of tonal color than it does to sugar-coat most all with vibrato. I fear something great may have been lost. What would we not give to hear the performance of Paganini in which it is said women fainted, for instance? And without vibrato!

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Appaerntly with Mozart you are supposed to use little vibrato. I personally don't really like the Mozart not because of difficulty they werent all to difficult for me, but there is just something about his works that just kinda dont apeel to me. When I was studying the Mozart Concerti my teacher said that The mozart concerti are a nessasary evil and that by playing them you improve technique greatly.

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I had a teacher who told me that a continuous vibrato was unforgivable, unless one was older than seventy and was afflicted with an uncontrollable palsy. wink.gif

(His point was: The player should be able to turn the vibrato on and off at need... and it should *never* be used to mask intonation problems.)

I would say that vibrato contributes significantly to the shades of tonal color that you can produce. Listen to a player like Milstein vary his vibrato -- and slide subtly into and out of it.

I wonder how much of this originates from the instruments we learn on, too. On a lot of instruments, it's easier to get an approximation of the desired effect through use of vibrato, than it is by varying sounding point, bow pressure and speed, etc. Ditto for trying to get sufficient projection and after-ring on notes.

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quote:

Originally posted by Lydia Leong:

I had a teacher who told me that a continuous vibrato was unforgivable, unless one was older than seventy and was afflicted with an uncontrollable palsy.
wink.gif

Aha! Now the truth comes out... This teacher must have been a direct/descendent pupil of Auer because he virtually quotes Auer verbatim wink.gif

But I agree one must possess _control_ over vibrato. I still remember an incident early on in my training. The school conductor asked me to demonstrate a scale without vibrato to the orchestra. So I proceeded to play the scale he requested. He then yelled "No vibrato!" while I was playing this scale. After I finished

I protested "What vibrato? I wasn't using any vibrato!" The rest of the orchestra burst out laughing...

Apparently I was so enamored of that voluputous tone I didn't realize I was doing it...I'm glad I learned that lesson early...

As for Auer and Tchaikovsky Concerto... Yes, Auer did teach his students this work and apparently made peace with it. But I get the feeling he was just up to no good. I can understand if he didn't feel up to the task, but why deter someone else from premiering it? Was he so concerned that someone else was going to steal his thunder??

starlight_sweetie: Everyone is entitled to different musical tastes. But just keep in mind Mozart wrote these concerti when he was about 19. His best pieces were yet to come. Wonder what your teacher meant by a "necessary evil?"

[This message has been edited by Flyboy (edited 11-22-2000).]

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quote:

Originally posted by starlight_sweetie:

Appaerntly with Mozart you are supposed to use little vibrato. I personally don't really like the Mozart not because of difficulty they werent all to difficult for me, but there is just something about his works that just kinda dont apeel to me. When I was studying the Mozart Concerti my teacher said that The mozart concerti are a nessasary evil and that by playing them you improve technique greatly.

I felt that way about Mozart until a few months ago when I began to study with a teacher who showed me how to play them. The quest for perfection of technique and tasteful expression is very involving. Once you understand what they might sound like (hear the ideal sound in your imagination), they are challenging and compelling. Too often people like me look at them and say, "Too easy", and don't give them a chance to speak, playing them carelessly and mechanically.

If your teacher has a negative view of Mozart, then I pity you. Mozart is not my absolute favorite composer, and I never got extremely excited by hearing others play the concerti; I had to experience an attempt to really master one myself before I began to get excited about Mozart concerti. I studied no. 3 and 5 with a former teacher, but didn't click until I started with my present teacher's guidance.

I really think you're missing out, but you have to come to that conclusion for yourself.

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quote:

Originally posted by Emma Lily:

If your teacher has a negative view of Mozart, then I pity you. Mozart is not my absolute favorite composer, and I never got extremely excited by hearing others play the concerti; I had to experience an attempt to really master one myself before I began to get excited about Mozart concerti. I studied no. 3 and 5 with a former teacher, but didn't click until I started with my present teacher's guidance.

I really think you're missing out, but you have to come to that conclusion for yourself.

And if you've suddenly (re)discovered Mozart violin concerti, I would highly recommend Sinfonia Concertante and Concertone. I for one, don't understand why these works aren't played more often. Slow movement of Sinfonia Concertante, when _done well_, ranks right up there with slow movement from Bach's Double...

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quote:

Originally posted by Emma Lily:

I felt that way about Mozart until a few months ago when I began to study with a teacher who showed me how to play them. The quest for perfection of technique and tasteful expression is very involving. Once you understand what they might sound like (hear the ideal sound in your imagination), they are challenging and compelling. Too often people like me look at them and say, "Too easy", and don't give them a chance to speak, playing them carelessly and mechanically.

If your teacher has a negative view of Mozart, then I pity you. Mozart is not my absolute favorite composer, and I never got extremely excited by hearing others play the concerti; I had to experience an attempt to really master one myself before I began to get excited about Mozart concerti. I studied no. 3 and 5 with a former teacher, but didn't click until I started with my present teacher's guidance.

I really think you're missing out, but you have to come to that conclusion for yourself.

I have studied the Mozart concerti extensivley with my teachers that was just one who said he didnt like them. I have played em with one teacher who is a Mozart fanatic and told me that one certain part should go like this and another like that and I learned what he wanted expressivly as well as technically , but i still am not a big fan of Mozart.

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Flyboy,

Heh. Yes, a direct descendent -- he was taught by a student of Auer's.

Auer apparently tried to talk other people out of doing the premier for the same reason that he didn't want to do it himself -- that there wasn't enough preparation time available, and the player who took it on could only both harm his reputation and that of Tchaikovsky's.

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quote:

Originally posted by starlight_sweetie:

I have studied the Mozart concerti extensivley with my teachers that was just one who said he didnt like them. I have played em with one teacher who is a Mozart fanatic and told me that one certain part should go like this and another like that and I learned what he wanted expressivly as well as technically , but i still am not a big fan of Mozart.

OK for you then; I still amn't a big fan of his either, but I never thought three months ago I would say what I just did about his concerti.

I have a theory that his piano concerti are better because he liked the piano better (thus spent more time, wrote more in his later years). In which case, pianists would naturally be bigger fans of Mozart. I am glad he wrote the violin concerti though, because I have the violin prima donna sydrome: I like it because I can play it in my fantasy/potential life as a concert violinist.

Do you like Beethoven?

Flyboy: I wish I could play the Concertante, but I don't have a violist handy. I've played in the orchestral accompaniement though, so I know what you mean. What's the Concertone?

I think it's fascinating that Auer didn't think the Bach concerti were musically interesting. Nowadays every intermediate player has a swing at the Am and the first movement of the double. It gives a perspective on Auer's time and habits.

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As much as I have great respect for Auer, I have a bit of suspicion that he was not the greatest intellect of his generation.

His main emphasis, I suspect, was the "sound." I have his editions of Bach solo sonatas and partitas, as well as Handel sonatas and if anyone follows his fingerings and bowing diligently(with plenty of vibrato), the result will resemble the style of Heifetz and Elman.

On the other hand, Carl Flesch, George Enescu and Adolf Busch seemed to have better understanding of Bach and Mozart. They certainly encouraged their pupils to learn them and they themselves were formidable advocate of those works.

I would not under-estimate the value of Mozart concerti. They are in every way comparable to any violin concerti and certainly will not be overshadowed by Mozart's own piano concerti either (Mozart wrote MORE numbers of mature concerti for piano, but that is another story). They are in some ways like a mirror. They show everything about oneself. No faking, no artificialities. Their purity and clarity make them perfect audition pieces for professional orchestras.

Artur Schnabel once quipped about music Mozart that Children are given Mozart because of QUANTITY of notes, but as they age, they find Mozart increasingly difficult because of the QUALITY in those notes. A fine comment from a musician who claimed that he did not discover the full greatness of Mozart's music until his early forties (Bruno Walter also made a similar comment as well).

So, if you don't fully appreciate Mozart's music, don't worry. Eventually you will. I am not quite there either....

Toscha

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quote:

Originally posted by Emma Lily:

Flyboy: I wish I could play the Concertante, but I don't have a violist handy. I've played in the orchestral accompaniement though, so I know what you mean. What's the Concertone?

Emma Lily:

Concertone for two violins and orchestra in C, K.190

I wouldn't necessarily rank the Concertone amongst Mozart's top works (for violin), but it at least deserves a hearing...

Here's a clip to first movement from recording (Perlman & Zuckerman) courtesy of cdnow.com

http://www.cdnow.com/cgi-bin/mserver/SID=1...name=/RP/CDN/CL ASS/muzealbum.html/itemid=301707

[This message has been edited by Flyboy (edited 11-23-2000).]

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Ysaye:

It may very well be. Some teachers do not teach the Mozart concerti till students go through plenty of concerti much more difficult than Mozart. Their argument is that one has to be technically acomplished enough that learning the notes does not pose any problem (thus be able to concentrate on musical matters). I do not know that Auer believe in this though.

In his memoir, Milstein recalled that Auer was not very interested in Bach. I have a suspicion that he was not too interested in Mozart either. This is not really unusual back in 19th century Russia. Mozart concerti were not performed that often until Joachim and Henri Marteau brought them back to the active repertoire.

Auer was a great teacher, but he did have shortcomings, just like any others.....

Toscha

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Yes, Auer did record two pieces when he was about 75. He recorded the first Hungarian Dance by Brahms and Melodie, op.42, no.3 by Tchaikovsky.

The Brahms is quite fiery and spirited. The man obviously still had plenty of technique as well as temperament.

On the other hand, the Tchaikovsky is disappointing. The tone is quite thin and colorless, with very little vibrato. Elman's recording from around the same period (1920) is far more satisfying to my ears.

Toscha

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