August 2012

Classical Music Celebration - Reprise

August 31, 2012 20:17

I have finally recovered from Interlochen. Not only did I meet up with old friends, but met a few new ones as well.

There I was in the lobby of the hotel after checking in when a woman asked me "Are you Mendy Smith?". To my surprise, this question was being asked of me from a complete stranger. A person I had never had an e-mail or facebook communication with before. I nodded an affirmative and discovered to my delight that she had decided to attend Interlochen based on what I had blogged about the camp here on v-com.

The classical music world suddenly became much smaller place that afternoon.

My first session the next day was coached by the teacher I had when I lived in Oregon. Though I only see him once a year now, it was as if my lessons with him never ceased - including trying to read the music around his hand while he marked my page with fingerings and bowing suggestions and interpreting a one-word suggestion as a greater musical concept.

The classical music world became an even smaller place that morning.

Later that evening, I played a piece of music with fellow musicians I haven't seen since last summer. I had practiced this piece on my own, but never with others. For the first time, I finally heard the parts that were only in my mind being played along side of me. Schubert never sounded so wonderful to my ears.

The classical music world became an even smaller place that evening.

Later in the week, when I felt as if my fingers would fall off from overuse, I played yet another piece of music that that I only had practiced alone. When I finally got to play it with others for the first time, tears ran down my cheeks. After all this time, I finally played Beethoven's Op. 132.

The world became a much larger place that evening.

5 replies


Celebrate Classical Music

August 5, 2012 18:28

Each and every summer, I go to music (not band) camp. Each summer I meet up with folks, mostly my senior, and play chamber music, often times well into the late late late evening.

This year, I signed up to play many pieces of music, including the one below... Schubert's Quintet.

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When I was traveling regularly by car up north, I listened to the Schubert quartets and quintets often. Often enough that I learned all of the parts by ear.

This afternoon while practicing, I had the whole quintet playing along with me in my mind - an imaginary quintet. I could vividly hear the 1st violin melody and the harmonization with the celli and 2nd violin. I found myself looking to my left and right, giving and taking queues to musicians that were only in my mind. Was this how Mozart, Bach or Beethoven was thinking when composing their works?

This was incredibly helpful when practicing the movement in the video below, especially when considering that it is played at 200 bpm per quarter note - not bad until you hit the triplets.

In a week, I'll be playing this piece and many more with friends I only see once a year. And somehow, almost magically, it will seem like we have rehearsed together for months.

That is the beauty of classical music. No matter how far apart or infrequently you play with others, it all comes together at the end to make a beautiful thing.

3 replies


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