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Violin News & Gossip, Op 3., No. 11

February 7, 2007 at 4:54 PM

2/4/07 – The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran an article supporting the trend toward applauding between movements: "The so-called rules about applauding at classical music concerts appear to be relaxing. Even in the bastions of classical music -- New York's Carnegie Hall, London's BBC Proms at Albert Hall, the Metropolitan Opera and more -- you are likely to hear premature clapping. It appears the experience of an orchestra concert, opera or recital is becoming less restrictive -- and that deserves a round of applause." Conductor and violinist Pinchas Zukerman is cited in the article as one of the “policemen of propriety” who openly discourages clapping between movements, while Leonard Slatkin endorses a relaxing of the “rules” on this matter.

What do you think?


2/4/07 – The Cincinnati Enquirer ran a moving story about violinist Arthur Weinberg, who was severely beaten on Christmas Eve. Having experienced brain damage and other severe physical injuries, he is slowly recovering at a Kentucky nursing home:

“Arthur Weinberg thrust the new violin back into his mother's arms. ‘Where's mine?’ he asked.

It astounded Elisabeth Weinberg. She had bought her brain-injured son a beginner's violin at a local music shop because his far more valuable antique violin was too precious to leave at a nursing home. She had no idea the classically trained violinist could hear the difference between the two instruments since he was attacked.”

I’ve been shaking my head over this story since reading it. Having coped with a critically ill parent who suffered a stroke, I know how miraculous the brain’s recuperative powers can be, how many shades and colors of meaning and thought dance along those critical neurons, taken for granted until they’re crushed. I never fail to be amazed at how much damage the human body can withstand, or to be shocked by people’s potential for both great cruelty and great beauty—and how much a musician’s instrument can mean to him.

Godspeed to Mr. Weinberg.

Musician News

2/11/07 – Violinist Charles Castleman will perform a recital in the Faculty Artist Series at the Eastman School of Music.

2/6/07 – reports that violinist Daniel Hope of the venerable Beaux Arts Trio, has signed an exclusive recording contract with the Deutsche Grammophon label. “In 2002 Hope became the youngest musician ever to join the Beaux Arts Trio, with which he remains through the end of next season. …His recording of the Britten and Berg Violin Concertos won three major prizes in 2004. …Hope's first DG recording will be of Mendelssohn's G minor Concerto and Octet; its release will coincide with the publication of the violinist's first book, The Music of Time, which will examine the relationship between Hope and his ancestors and Felix Mendelssohn.”

2/3/07 – Edwin Dusinberre, first violinist of the Takacs Takács Quartet since 1993, played the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Boulder Philharmonic. The Denver Post profile noted that Dusinberre has not performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto since he was in school, and his time with the quartet in the intervening years has significantly altered his attitude to the work: "I think when I played it as a student I was rather embarrassingly obsessed with the idea of being a soloist and the solo part," he said. "Coming back to it now, I'm much more aware of the orchestral part, which is gorgeous and the interactions between the soloist and orchestra, which are also wonderful. Of course I'm biased, but it seems to me now a lot more like chamber music."

2/1/07 – When Christian Tetzlaff blew into town to solo with the San Francisco Symphony last week, the San Francisco Chronicle ran an interesting profile.

1/16/07 – The Parsippany Daily Record (NJ) reports that the Janaki String Trio’s Carnegie Hall debut seemed headed for disaster: “Five minutes before the start of what was arguably the most important concert of [violinist Serena McKinney's] young career, the chin rest on her violin broke. ‘About four-fifths of it broke off’, she said. ‘I had to hold the violin up through the whole concert. It was so uncomfortable. I don't know how I did it’. And the less said about cellist Arnold Choi's bloody nose the better.”

Orchestra News

2/4/07 – The East Brunswick Home News Tribune reported on the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming performance featuring a live band performing the music of 1970s-era rock group Led Zeppelin alongside them. "Since The Beatles at least, classical music has found fans and imitators in rock musicians -- Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, Frank Zappa, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney and many others freely associated themselves with aspects of classical music. On the other side, the grandeur and iconic nature of certain styles such as Pink Floyd's spooky existentialism, have found sympathy among many lovers of Beethoven and Stravinsky and have sparked other orchestral tributes. More recently, a tendency to explore the genres of rock, blues and hip-hop has taken hold among an elite group of classically trained composers and performers -- Tan Dun, Steve Mackey, Daniel Bernard Roumain and The Kronos Quartet are just a few of the more famous names among those who continue to find new connections between these seemingly disparate musical worlds."

2/1/07 - The Dallas Morning News reports that Dutch conductor Jaap van Zweden has been named music director-designate of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. "Although he has only conducted the DSO in one set of concerts, in February 2006, Mr. van Zweden was an instant hit with both musicians and audiences here." The article quotes concertmaster Emanuel Borok: "From the very first note he drew from the orchestra, I was jolted ... For the rest of the week, there was a sound coming from the orchestra, from the strings especially, that I was wanting to hear for many years." According to the paper, van Zweden began conducting only 13 years ago, as a sideline to a career as a well-known violinist. “But before taking up conducting he was the youngest-ever concertmaster of Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, one of Europe's most celebrated."

2/1/07 – According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a Fort Lauderdale concert by the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra "began with a sprightly Rossini overture and ended with the news that the orchestra would soon go out of business. The sad announcement came after the first encore, the Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 6. Conductor András Ligeti raised his hands to silence the applause and said that due to a loss of funding, the 100-year-old orchestra would be folding ... Bill Capone, managing director of Arts Management Group Inc. of New York, which is managing the orchestra's United States tour, said in an interview that the ensemble is not really folding. But it will shrink considerably because it is losing the sponsorship of the Hungarian telecommunications company Matav, which had accounted for half the orchestra's budget. 'The orchestra is not going out of business, but it will be smaller,' said Capone, who had been surprised to hear of the conductor's statement at the Broward Center."

Other Music News

The Ravinia Festival, summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, has announced that conductor James Conlon has extended his term as music director there for an additional four years, through the 2011 summer season. Conlon is scheduled to complete his multi-year Mahler symphony cycle with the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia in 2011, the centennial of the composer's death.

2/2/07 – Tufts University opened its new concert hall, according to the New England Conservatory newsletter, which has close ties with the university, including a dual-degree program for serious musicians who are also interested in liberal arts.

2/4/07 – In preparation for the 10th annual Sphinx Competition in Detroit, the Detroit Free Press profiled the Sphinx programs which, as the brainchild of violinist and MacArthur Genius Aaron Dworkin, hope to rectify the lack of minority musicians in classical music. “Some of the finest young minority string players in the nation, accompanied by the all-black and Latino professional Sphinx Symphony, will compete for more than $100,000 in prizes and scholarships to top music schools and opportunities to perform with leading American orchestras."

From Karin Lin
Posted on February 7, 2007 at 8:35 PM
Darn, I knew I should have gone to hear Tetzlaff. Ah well, he'll probably be back.

Very touching story about Arthur Weinberg...thanks for mentioning it.

From Emily Liz
Posted on February 7, 2007 at 11:59 PM
Clapping between movements is a difficult dilemma for me. Although I hate having pieces - especially something intense like Shostakovich or solo Bach - split up by applause, I also hate when conductors or soloists glare at the audience when they're just trying to show their appreciation. However I've found that clapping between movements can be avoided in most situations if the soloist or conductor strikes a dramatic pose for a few seconds after the music has ended. By that time, the orchestra musicians or the pianist is shuffling their music around, the audience feels uncomfortable applauding, and nobody needs to make sour faces at anybody else.
From Neil Cameron
Posted on February 8, 2007 at 1:46 AM
Darcy thank you for the info on Arthur Weinberg. Here's wishing him all the best for the future.


From Raphael Klayman
Posted on February 8, 2007 at 1:18 PM
Re applause - I think it all depends on the nature of the movement. Something like the 1st mvt. of the Tchaikovsky comes to a big, energetic, solid end - "Haza!" So much energy is delivered to the audience, that it seems unnatural not to appalaud. Whether audiences tend to applaud or not inbetween mvts. seems to depend on their concert-going experience, level of sophistication, how intimidated they might feel, etc. I've performed the Franck a number of times. Sometimes the audience would applaud after every mvt. - which is a pity after the 1st and 3rd, where I feel that a few moments of pregnant silence are most desireable. Other audiences wouldn't even applaud after the rousing 2nd mvt., where I would welcome it. Experience brought me to use similar stage-craft techniques to those that Emily has suggested.

Speaking of recitals, I really must stop posting here for some time, and prepare for my next one!

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