January 2008

Rethinking Mozart

January 11, 2008 23:22

In November of this year I wrote about a performance of Mozart's A Major Concerto that I heard on the radio, that performance being played by Arabella Steinbacher. In that post, I wrote "now wanting to rework Mozart 5, it is not my intention to copy Ms. Steinbacher's performance."

How is this reworking happening? For starters, the focus for the most part has been on the physical, as I have in recent months been adjusting my left hand - a thank you to Mr. Letcher, as his comments on shifting have been incredibly helpful - with Paganini #4 being the guide. Having to adjust one's placement from a linear placement to that of thirds and then to tenths is most definitely a workout, but the results - and the clarity - are worth the effort.

In the book An Actor Prepares, Constantin Stanislavski speaks of many concepts, two of which seem to apply to what we are all doing. The first: CUT BACK NINETY PERCENT! This is one of the most important concepts that is shared with the students in the acting class, cutting back ninety percent meaning to eliminate everything that is false, mechanical, and not thought through. This is followed by the concept of "Faith and a Sense of Truth", that being to have confidence in a learned and prepared set of physical or physiological sensations that one uses to prepare the work.

All that I can say is that it's working - and while it is difficult shaking a bit of the unconscious and mechanical, this will be a much different Mozart than when I played it in graduate school, and for the many auditions that I have taken since graduating in 1998.

Still, it takes a long time...and I find myself curious as to how one handle's the transition. Does one remove one's self from the stage to concentrate on the "fixing", or does one realize the responsibility ahead of them and keep one's self in the public while changing one's "life and outlook"?

Anxious for your thoughts,
Sam

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