March 2009

The Angel's Mordents

March 24, 2009 01:18

My violin teacher says a lot of funny things, but today's comment was one of the best.

On the second movement of Tartini's classic: "I am impressed.  You know this piece pretty well.  But there is no devil in your playing.  You are not playing the Devil's Trill, you are playing the Angel's Mordents."

As a child, I developed the poor habit of being an extremely timid player; my definition of "loud" was what most people would call mezzo-forte at best, and I never, ever used the lower 1/3 of my bow.  I'm getting better at all that, but I'm still not anywhere near expressing the potential of my violin.  I'm scared to break it!  My teacher took my instrument and showed me what he wanted, but I held my breath the entire time, convinced it was going to shatter.  But afterwards I tried to imitate him, and whaddya know...it didn't break.  Maybe next time, I'll be able to conjure up a bit of the devil.

...I haven't been blogging or posting much, but good things are happening.  My teacher wanted me to participate in a festival for the music teachers' association last February, because "it is rare for someone your age to make progress." (English isn't his first language :) )  I decided to do something less technically challenging and more musically challenging, so I worked up a couple of Piazzolla tangos which were SO FUN!   I was nervous about the festival because I was one of the only adults there (and the others were barely adults, like 18 or 19 whereas I'm in my mid-thirties), and in fact the organizers thought my six-year-old daughter was the performer.  I was glad to have her there, even if it was somewhat embarrassing when they announced my name and she yelled, "That's my mommy!"  She's old enough to be a source of support now, and I really appreciated how, when I returned to my seat, she whispered, "That was great, Mommy!  Was it fun or was it scary?"  She has her first piano recital soon, and I think it does her good to see that adults get nervous too.  Though I wasn't fully satisfied with my performance (are we ever?), I did receive the highest possible rating, as well as an award for "artistic and musical excellence" and a recent Anne-Sophie Mutter CD as a prize.

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