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It`s the music.

February 5, 2007 at 11:46 PM

Greetings,
As far as a saintly person such as myself finds it possible, I do get riled by accusations that `classical musicians` (whatever that is- some rotting corpse of a Mozart look alike perhaps?) are conservative, elitist and retrogressive. Not only is this often not true, but where it is the case it is far larger forces such as economics limiting what we do and streamlining the publics psyche so that they can only accept pap- junk music to go with junk food.
Laurie’s comments about live music in her blog reminded just really reminded me that good music, anytime, any place touches people and makes a better world. Last week I played a recital with my friend the Czech composer Daniel Forro. It was a rather cold place, the fee was low and the people organizing it, whom I know fairly well were of the rather bossy type that are really aggravating when you want to focus on music. But we went out to play and there were thirty middle aged to old people in the room and I just thought `well, how often do these people get to have a really good time anymore?` Japan is a tough country to live in and being old is often not pleasant here. I was determined to play and chat to win them over like we were a bunch of good friends having fun together. Daniel can do this better than me because once he has a synthesizer in front of him he becomes Mr. Music. Must be a Czech thing….
So we played and I wise cracked and chatted about my nightmares at the dentist over this last few months till I thought we were going to have to have a quick `look in my mouth I’ve got more metal than you` competition.
When I do recitals with Daniel I always resist to the hilt request we get for light music because I know it means Humoresque, Leibesfreud and Londonderry Air. We program stuff that demands attention and is full of beauty by Mozart, Handel and then we chuck in great twentieth century music and people like it. They know they are being challenged a little but they come up afterwards and ask `what was that piece by this guy Martini I never heard of?` and so on. You can feel the buzz in the air.
So I left thinking `yes, this is what music is about. People are people. They want friendship, love, good music, talking and fun.`
We musicians are so lucky.
Cheers,
Buri

From William Yap
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 12:37 AM
As usual, I went to the nearby shops (mostly closed on Saturday) to practise before lesson last Saturday. When I do that, I was always prepared to be told off (since I’ve got no permit to “perform” in public places). I had a youngster thrown rocks at me once. But then, last Saturday, after Bach’s Sarabanda and 2 runs of Beethoven’s Romance in F, a lady came out of her shop and said “that was beautiful” with a big smile on her face. Yes, I feel lucky when that happens. When I get rocks thrown at me, well, that’s just as expected.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 2:45 AM
Greetings,
there are easier ways of getting stoned,
Cheers,
Buri
From Maura Gerety
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 4:26 AM
Excellent blog Buri! :) As regards your comment about the bossy recital organizers, remember this one, from "With Strings Attached"?: New York accent, chomping on a cigar, "Well, let me tell you, Mister Dzigedy--and I know what I'm talking about--your Krewtser sonata bores the pants off my audiences!" LOL-- to me that's the archetypal bossy agent quote.

And as regards "must be a Czech thing"....some of the best musicians I know are Czech and Polish, so you may be on to something...

From Laurie Niles
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 5:27 AM
People want good music, whether they know it or not. Organizers also tend to want to "go light" with children's concerts. Sure, children should hear the obvious pieces they've never heard, but they can also respond to a challenge, when it is presented well, with some thought and explanation. I also take exception to the idea that the children's concerts should be the ones we never rehearse for; they know a bad performance when they hear one, and children are the last people we need to turn off.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 5:47 AM
Greetings,
Laurie your point about children is well taken. In my other life as an English teacher I wouldn@t dare treat a children`s lesson badly. They know! andthey don`t like it!
I don@t have anything against a nice desert, it`s just that it has, to some extent become an excuse for lack of substance in Japan. Nor is there any reason I can think of not to try the whole gamut of deserts. The whole slew of Heifetz and Szigeti enocres are generally ignored, not to mention Kreisler`s more interesting works.
Cheers,
Buri
From Albert Justice
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 6:29 AM
Buri, Sorry to comment out of sequence--but I have to start following your blog more closely. Back in Jan., before your wrote the blog on too much technical exercise (maybe after), you wrote on bowing practice, and the elements from which other elements are derived--I got so much out of that--thank you!.

I was looking up son file, and ran across the entry. I'm changing mine around to include bow-pressure/speed notions along with sounding point notions and was seeing if I could find words of wisdom on this.

While I realize fully that the objective is the 1 minute stroke, I'm applying it differently at the same time with some shorter but still quite lengthy stroke, in an effort to develop my sounding point control better (it's fair but can improve, as always). I'm also using both the shorter strokes as well as traditional ones to explore and further the instinct in relation to speed and pressure.

I'm not doing ricochet yet, but will soon based on your article. I am practicing nightly:
colle
martele
detache
legato
spiccato
staccato
(Loure--in the mix)
(riccochet--coming soon).
But I was encouraged that based on conversations we had a long long time ago that things came togther in my program at least in the ball park without obsessing over the details of what you taught me back then.

I also do things like use colle to practice my bow returns (frog to tip--specifically on the return), and try to combine concepts when I can. Though I'm certain you aren't as pretty as I, you're one smart cookie!.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 7:03 AM
There may be easier ways to get stoned, but playing music must be the most fun way. You're right, Buri -- live music is a gift for both the performers and the audience. Both give and both receive.
From Albert Justice
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 7:26 AM
Music emotionally, is second only to love--people feel high then too.

I agree Pauline. Once when I was in church, a soloist (soprano) was so amazing, it left me grinning for days.

From Scott 68
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 2:26 PM
its the music that keeps up in Czech
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 10:37 PM
Hi Al,

>I was looking up son file, and ran across the entry. I'm changing mine around to include bow-pressure/speed notions along with sounding point notions and was seeing if I could find words of wisdom on this.

I think this depends on your working definition of son file. Flesch suggetsed it was bow strokes longer than about 12 seconds. I have no argument with this. However,my own use of the exercise is in bow stroke sof 30 seconds or more. Some teachers are anti this exericse some swear by it (Gingold was a strong proponent of the one minute bow stroke practice). Others probably don@t give a damn ;)
As you know, bowing is based around the interaction of SP, bow speed and that horrible word `oresusre` whihc it is better to avoid as much a spossible. The problem then facing us is which comes frist, which leads us in our selction , or do we do mudlde around with all three and hope for the best? Flesch was quite clea ron this point- the Sound Point - is the overriding factor which dictataes what you do with everything else. So in the case of son file I would simply place the bow as close to the bridge a sposisble. You don@t have to worry about changing speed because it is dicated by the metronome ticking away and visula subdivision of the bow. Nor do you have to worry about how much presusre to feed in explictly. If you are listening to the sound you will know straightaway that you have given it too much becuas eof the scrunch.

>While I realize fully that the objective is the 1 minute stroke,

MMMmmm. I think that is for masochists. I am quite happy with 40 seconds.

>I'm applying it differently at the same time with some shorter but still quite lengthy stroke, in an effort to develop my sounding point control better (it's fair but can improve, as always).

Al, there are many exercise son this i Basics. On the whole they tend to use WBs at slightly differnet tempos depending on the SP and similar but the son file is kept separate. I think this is wise. I kind of like these exercises but I am not completley convnced this utterly mechanical approahc to `sensitizing oneself to soundpoint use` is the be all an end all. I use another exercise whihc is a lot more fun.
Take any slow piece you like and isolte a decent chunk of music.Play it on SP five searching for the maximum vibration and expresison you can find. Do not moe from this SP. Now play it on SP four. You will immediatley notice that you nee dot chnage the bow speed, pressure and maybe even the tempo a litlte to get maximum expressivness. Now move to SP 3 and repeta the procedure. When you get to SP the tempo may need to be real slow to get the bets posisble sound. Apply this to whole pieces of music. Use it in your pracitc eeevry day. It is a relaly importnat approahc.


>I also do things like use colle to practice my bow returns (frog to tip--specifically on the return),

Colle pracitced in any part of the bow will improve your sound enormously.

>and try to combine concepts when I can. Though I'm certain you aren't as pretty as I, you're one smart cookie!.

I am the Bhudda. Which is , not coincidentally, similar in pronunciation to the Japanes e word `Buta` which means pig.....

Cheers,
Burp

From Albert Justice
Posted on February 7, 2007 at 1:45 AM
I like the slow measures on sounding points idea alot better too--thanks.

And I am simply, 'the great one'

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on February 7, 2007 at 6:32 AM
Daniel Forro has over a hundred interesting tunes on Soundclick.com that you can look up, and a picture or two.
From Patty Rutins
Posted on February 9, 2007 at 7:50 PM
English teacher, eh, Buri?

Do you teach typing on the side? ;)

More to the point, though, some of the "best" performances I've heard have been from street musicians. I remember waiting for the T one snowy morning in Boston, when everyone was late for work and tense, and then on the platform there was this wonderful steel drummer, I think it was, playing calypso, and everyone cheered right up. It made such a difference!

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