Mendelssohn violin concerto in E Minor: Thinking Aloud with Leia Zhu

November 28, 2017, 7:10 PM · In this episode, I talk about one of my favourite violin concertos, the Mendelssohn violin concerto Op.64 in E Minor. In particular, I was interested in exploring what Mendelssohn intended his music to be played.

Judging from most performance recordings I have listened to, it appears that most players did not follow the doctrine laid out by Mendelssohn himself. This leads to a fundamental question in classical music performance... should one sacrifice composer's intent for the sake of originality? Or should it be the other way round?

Page 188 "A Musical Life"


November 29, 2017 at 05:56 PM · I think we should try to be as faithful to the composer as possible, except cadenzas, which can be highly original, as long as you include snippets (or variations of snippets) from the concerto movement.

November 29, 2017 at 08:37 PM · The thing is, what a composer even wanted is often up for debate, especially if the composer has died long ago, and if their markings weren't particularly anal. Musicology will probably never know %100 percent what the composers wanted. Many teachers seem to fill the role of a pastor. They all think that they know better than the next what the "higher power" wanted to say to us "mortals", and preach their different "religions". I feel like a performer should use the music as a starting point to express what is personal to them.

November 29, 2017 at 09:36 PM · Good point, Lieschen. Personal expression is a good thing.

November 30, 2017 at 05:35 AM · It's also fun to delve into all the history, etc. I think that it can be really inspirational, when approached with the kind of natural enthusiasm and curiosity that Leia seems to have.

December 1, 2017 at 03:24 AM · What is so amazing here is the level of musical and intellectual development of Leia. Here is a girl who, I believe, is only just 11years old, but talking and playing at a level of one almost twice her age. A real prodigy indeed.

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