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Why I Love Bach A Minor Concerto 2nd. mvt

March 6, 2010 at 2:29 PM

The Bach A Minor concerto is a very special concerto to me. It's one of the best pieces I have ever played and it's also the first major concerto I worked on. I love all 3 mvt. but the 2nd one holds a special place in my heart and here's why:

I played the 2nd, mvt in the spring of 2008 after my teacher assigned me to it. I sort of liked playing buit I struggled with vibrato at the time and I also greatly preferred the 3rd mvt. at that time because it was faster and more exciting. But I went through it all the same. I was originally going to perform the 3rd. mvt in recital and was really excited but then I got terribly sick and couldn't practise for a week. And as I had been playing the 2nd. mvt. longer my teacher decided it'd be best for me to perform that mvt. Needless to say I was not very happy.

I first performed at my teacher's recital and frankly that performance didn't go alt that well. I was nervous and I didn't really like the piece so it was not one of my brigther days. Infact I kind of despised having to play it. But that was going to change.

Two weeks later I was set to perform it for the teachers at my music conservatory for evaluaiton. Unfortunaetly I had to perform it straight after an exam in school. The exam was math and I failed it epically and I knew it. So i arrived at my conservatory confused, angry, tearful and stressed. I whipped out the violin and proceeded to perform. I thought I performed terribly. My bow shook as if there was an earthquake and I missed an income and so many other things. I bawled my heart out afterwards and was in eveyr way in terrible spirit and determined that it was a mistake from the start that I played the 2nd. mvt.

But I was wrong.

My teacher called me several days later and told me that he thought I did a much better performance in front of the teaher than I did at his recital and he said I played it well and it felt as if the knew the piece better. Then I got the comment from the teachers:"Well prepared an a good performance". What i thought was a flop turned out to be a good performance. It was such a surprise!

Needless to say, after that I gained far more love for the piece than I had done before and when I got a CD with Anne Mutter playing it I played through the 2nd mvt. on the CD time and again and loved every second of it. It's now one of the best pieces i have ever played.

I did flop my math exam epically but I did not flop my violin performance and that instantly saw me through. So Bach turned put to be a true blessing for me.

And heree's my favourite recording of this wonderful piece

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on March 6, 2010 at 8:53 PM

Hi, what adventures you had... So happy that everything ended well!  I too have some piece that I performed that I like best (especially those whith good memories!)  But sometimes one has to fail royaly unfront of some people to get that "kick" realize ones mistakes and play like one has never played on the more important event lol  So this comfirms the "play it many times in public" before the event.   And really bravo to combine school with violin. I know how tough this is and how one feels after such an exam. It's really good that you could play so well after!

Good luck and thanks for remembering us of this Oistrakh video!!!!!!!!!!!!!


From Pauline Lerner
Posted on March 8, 2010 at 8:07 AM

I'm glad your story had a happy ending.  I've always loved Bach's Violin Concertos.  Thanks for giving us the link to the video of the performance by David Oistrakh.  I'm like Anne-Marie:  I love David Oistrakh

From Erica Thaler
Posted on March 9, 2010 at 12:37 AM

My daughter has just finished learning this concerto, and I love to hear her practice it.  Just beautiful, all the way around.  : )

From Nicholas Tavani
Posted on March 9, 2010 at 1:17 AM

Bach A minor has always been one of my very favorite violin concertos.


The sometimes incredibly wide discrepancy between the way you feel when you play something and the way it actually sounds has always amazed me. I suppose part of becoming a successful performer is developing the ability to listen outside of yourself.

From Ray Randall
Posted on March 9, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Thanks for posting the concerto. Oistrakh is econemy in motion.  No wasted movements, every movement has a purpose.

From Juergen L. Hemm
Posted on March 10, 2010 at 3:45 PM

Bach's a minor is my first musical memory. It was on a little 7 inch vinyl record my parents had - a sampler of the "Deutsch Buchgemeinschaft" (German Book Society, something like a "Book of the Quarter Club"). Unfortunately, the soloist gets to play only a few bars, then the music fades and another piece comes in.

Your interesting post shows that bad feelings (like anger, frustration, thoughts of revenge etc.), channeled appropriately, can really add spice to a performance and bring out the best in a performer.

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