July 2009

Surely it`s not that difficult?

July 28, 2009 01:30


thought I`d set myself a little youtube study and puzzle game today so I took the most overplayed,  corny,  deservedly popular,  wonderful,  silly piece of music ever and tried to find a recording I liked.   It is of course the Bruch concerto no.1  which,  if you read half the comments that mention it on this site is relatively easy and serves as a logical stepping stone to the real meaty concertos: `left hand not too tricky, good for the sound production old bean, yadda, yadda.`

My favorite performance being Milstein`s but having recently used Leila Josefowicz`s video to illustrate a point on another thread I decided to eschew the older players and start around the top dogs of my childhood and up until the present day.  Those of you who didn`t know Veracini recorded the Bruch are in for a surprise.....

Funny thing is,  the more recordings I listened to of basically the first two pages of the first movement the more I thought this couldn`t be an easy concerto after all. So many of these versions I found almost impossible to listen to after a while, both musically and technically. Surprise ,  the Bruch can`t be so easy after all.  

As far as interpretation goes I personally feel most players divide into two camps :  1) I`m going to focus on playing as loudly and dramatically as possible  and 2)  The more sensitive, `I need to pull this around above the orchestra framework because I want to sound different to everybody else` (which doesn`t seem quite the same as just being yourself for some reason.)    In the loud dramatic above all camp I found Marcovici and Zuckerman. Quickly bored with both though Zuckerman is always interesting to watch.  In the more inner child camp I listened to Joshua Bell,  Gil Shaham,  Janine Jansen and Franz Peter Zimmerman.  None of these artists truly convinced me musically and I lost count of the number of examples of slightly off intonation.  Listen to g minor long enough and you can get really aggravated by the sharp b flats and high F# as it changes pitches between g-spots (as it were).

It was only when I finally put Perlman on that I was prevented from throwing the computer out the window.  Somehow he seemed to have escaped the trap of hyperbolic rhetoric.  The orchestra plays. He makes a statement-  unhurried,   natural and thoughtful.   `This is an epic poem we are going to write together.  Let`s just let it unfold with whatever truths we share.` He actually looks like he is enjoying himself

When he needed the attack mode it occurs naturally and in an unforced manner. There is no wobbly vibrato all over the place,   the sound was huge but resonant rather than forced and the range of tone colors huge. Plus he plays in tune.

Good to be reminded not only that we need to go the extra mile  when  playing  well known great music but also that Perlman really was one of the greatest violinists of the 20c.  Just that tiny degree superior but enough to make all the difference at this level.

Now I`m off to listen to Hilary....





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I like this quote so much I bought the company.

July 9, 2009 21:22


nothing to do with violin playing originally,  but it`s great!

`Lance (my college coach) gave me some advice once about being nervous saying "just make your butterflies fly in formation." This is great advice after you figure out what it actually means. `



4 replies | Archive link

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