Printer-friendly version

Eeeeeeee Major

Written by
Published: January 12, 2015 at 8:32 AM [UTC]


One of my all time favorite slappy-happy-crappy movies is "While you were Sleeping." I sort of recalled the title after listening to Hilary Hahn playing the Brahms concerto on Youtube.

While I was dossing around for a year reliving Go Seigen's Go games, HH went from being a great violinist to a giantess among violinists. It's been a long time since I listened to a long work like the Brahms and hit replay without a moment's hesitation. I now bitterly regret not introducing myself (as the genius behind the Schoenburger) when I went to her Japan concerts. If we had shaken hands it would still be unwashed now.

Second pick of the week: Vadim Repin masterclass on Youtube.

In part one he is coaching an enormously talented teenager in the Intro and Rondo Cappucino. Aforementioned teenager is doing an incredible yet shapeless performance but with a few brilliantly chosen ideas and technical points he changes completely. It's like watching a kid grow artistically about six months in six minutes. That is the power of being in the presence of someone like Vadim.

Third pick is Lara St John playing the Bach e major prelude.

It's way too fast and rather inaccurate for my taste but she clearly understand the music well. What is interesting is some computer geek has been creating a program which couples the music with fascinating squiggly lines. Don`t ask me . Just go and have a look. It occurred to me that this has some application as a teaching tool too!

From the sublime to the ridiculous. I have decided to relearn the Bach E major partita for my next project. This means everything in Fischer's scale manual in e major everyday plus a Kreutzer in e major (number 8 rather than the shifting one.) As a kid I really hated that study and as a result never played it very well. Working on it over the last few years (Kreutzer is never finished) I have come to love it and call it the 'Laboratory Etude.' It's what I use to check out and work on the exercises in Basics and Simon's other books, especially 'Practice.' I have adopted the approach of focusing on only one element of playing (for most of the time) in a day so one day I may do intonation work. Another day may be only shifts and so on. Today I chose to use the 'Hooked bowing exercise.' This is one of the best exercises for coordination in separate note pieces where the bow often moves ahead of the left hand. One simple plays the first and second note in a slur using an ultra dotted rhythm. Then the second and third note slurred in a dotted rhythm and so on. Usually I work on about four bars getting right to the max end of the metronome. I did every single bar with a shift or difficult string crossing in this way in the Kreutzer and then did the same thing in the Bach E major Prelude.

I finished feeling well-coordinated, which is more than one can say for my dress sense.


Posted on January 12, 2015 at 6:13 PM
YOU SPELL CAPPUCCINO with two ps and two cs. just sayin
From Paul Deck
Posted on January 12, 2015 at 6:33 PM
Buri, my violin teacher told me that Heifetz played Kreutzer No. 8 as an encore at a concert in Russia, and the audience was roaring afterward (a lot of violin students there, no doubt). So it can't be so bad. It's interesting that you chose that, my daughter is playing K8 too, in advance of the E Major Preludio, I am not kidding, what a coincidence! The Preludio is a stretch, best to finish the Vivaldi Summer and the last movement of the Bach A Minor first, but that's the great thing about studies is that you prepare for what's coming.

Sorry, can't resist ... Eeeeeeee ... those are some wide feet.

From Laurie Niles
Posted on January 12, 2015 at 6:55 PM
Some times Buri is a bit capricious in his spelling.

Also here's how you spell "frappuccino." I'm waiting for the tune called "Introduction and Rondo Frappiccioso."

Posted on January 12, 2015 at 7:13 PM
Just kind of curious whether you have watched Batiashvili play Brahms on Youtube.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on January 12, 2015 at 8:45 PM
not yet. But I think she is a superb violinist so I will take a look
Posted on January 12, 2015 at 9:33 PM
Go Seigen games are quite advanced, better to enjoy something understandable - Games of Shusaku. Invincible compiled by John Power is still in print.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on January 12, 2015 at 10:18 PM
yes, my spelling is very erotic.
I SPELL capucheeno the way I wrote it as a tribute to the indigenous farmers and landowners pushed off their land at the point of a gun in order for finance capitalists to create export led economies leading to immeasurable suffering while we enjoy our early morning cup of java.
Paul, that's interesiting. The Strad published a version of no 8 some years ago written by some famous teacher their. It was so difficult I think I used it as New Years greeting card or something.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on January 13, 2015 at 2:45 AM
actually I have Power's 'Invincible' in both pape rand electronic format and do study it. But Seigen was an immense force who change xthe face of modern Go and is therefore indispensable study. I have a book of his lectures as well as his games to study.
Neither were written by Simon Fischer.
From Paul Deck
Posted on January 13, 2015 at 4:44 AM
Capricious in spelling, cornucopic in witticism?
From jean dubuisson
Posted on January 13, 2015 at 11:10 AM
many thanks Buri for these three gems (I particularly liked the animation of the prelude, note how the moving point also gets fatter when the music is louder). I've read people criticizing Hilary Hahn for not using enough bow. but actually it is the opposite; she gets so much sound out of so little bow (and in such an impeccable manner) that she doesn't have to use a lot of bow. also thanks for reminding us of that useful practice method. I love it that you have become active on this forum again.
Posted on January 13, 2015 at 2:40 PM
I agree with the Bach being way to fast. It's like someone trying to eat chocolate as fast as they can. they miss some of the subtle flavors. I prefer Milstein's version of it myself.
From Paul Deck
Posted on January 13, 2015 at 5:03 PM
The Bach reminds me of when we used to play our parents' LPs with the record player set on 78.

Couple of comments about Repin's masterclass. I love to watch youtube masterclasses. I agree the youngster plays well. What's amazing is how quickly he adapts to Repin's suggestions, just immediately. So much for the idea that one reaches a point where one can't benefit from a lesson. This highly accomplished violinist benefits from his lesson more than I do from mine! The tie needs to be taken back to Goodwill however. At one point we see Repin holding the music, which looks well dog-chewed also, kind of funny.

From Laurie Niles
Posted on January 13, 2015 at 6:13 PM
I'm impressed she can play it that fast!
From Gene Huang
Posted on January 13, 2015 at 8:49 PM
Buri -- Thank you for sharing these videos. They are very inspiring! And thanks also for letting us know you have erotic spelling. Made my day! :)
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on January 14, 2015 at 12:01 AM
Paul, that was the point for me. Repin didn't say too much but that kid just grew and grew as an artist in a matter of minutes. His whole outlook made a quantum shift before our eyes. That is real talent!
Jean (sorry if the capital is wrong). It's interesting you mention the bit about bow use re HH. I too am quite happy with the way she plays right now!
However, without being in any sort of critical frame of mind the point you mention did spring to mind. I do think there is another huge range of color that the great lady has not full accessed that -may- be the next way forward for this great artist. On the other hand, if it detracts from what we hear now, I don't want to know........
My naughty thought is that at some point she may have to take the traumatic step of playing another instrument and learning how that works. A top flight Stradivarius would be good. That would take three or four years to get into and who know what she might become. I think she has an awful lot more to offer the world from now on.
Idle thoughts,
Posted on January 14, 2015 at 12:26 PM
Oh my! My teacher started me on K8 months ago, and it is giving me nightmares. Such a interesting perspective that at some point in my distant future (if there turns out to be such a thing) I might actually come to like it!


From Peter Williamson
Posted on January 14, 2015 at 12:56 PM
Many thanks for posting these - particularly the Brahms. I'm lost for words.... Just a couple of observations. The finale seems to have acquired more 'muscle' in the rhythm since she recorded it. I think this is a welcome development. I also liked that she keeps the first movement moving, embracing the dramatic as well as the lyrical. Too many players take it far too slowly in my opinion - it becomes interminable....
The point abut her bow usage also occurred to me (as an observation, not a criticism!). I remember seeing Ida Handel play the Sibelius, and one of the first things I noticed was that she used every inch of the bow - particularly towards the point. I wondered how much the resulting bow speed contributed to her wonderful sound. But Ms Hahn still produces a fabulous sound and it doesn't seem to inhibit her at all. I agree that one would not wish for any development which would detract from her magnificent playing in any way.
And as an E major specialist I'm sure you appreciated her encore!

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Our Kokopelli
Please support
your donation
or sponsorship campaign. is made possible by...

Shar Music

Yamaha V3 Series Violin

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Metzler Violin Shop

Gliga Violins

Corilon Violins

Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance

Bobelock Cases


Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pro-Am Strings

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop