Recording 69 different orchestral solos, etudes and excerpts this week
September 10, 2012 at 7:43 PMIn 6 days I'll begin a week of recording up in the Napa, CA studio of Artistworks. They've put together a classical music campus where students can exchange videos with teachers of violin, flute, clarinet, horn, trumpet, acoustic guitar and piano. The focus for the orchestral instruments will be audition excerpts, so that's my job over the 7 days in the studio: get 69 different excerpts on video. I'll also be recording concerto movements, a little solo Bach and a selection of etudes. Finally, there will be lessons on the basics such as shifting, vibrato, general practice techniques, etc. Overall it will total a few hundred video lessons, and I've put a list of the selections at the end of this entry.
I'm very excited since this is exactly what I've wanted to do for so many years: get videos of these excerpts online! I put one (the Schumann scherzo) up myself, but it took so much effort shooting and editing that I decided I couldn't really do that for very many pieces. Plus the quality was not what I wanted. Next week, I won't have to worry about any of the technical aspects: Artistworks has 3 cameras, a teleprompter, who knows how many sound people... what a relief!
Preparing this material has been an interesting challenge, since it covers such a wide range of styles. I tried to include most excerpts that you see on professional audition lists these days, and usually that holds for non-professional lists as well. That means that just like in an audition, I'll be going from Bach to Bartok to Mozart to Brahms and back again. Only this time, fortunately, I'll get a "take 2" if I need it!
Then there are the etudes. The prospect of recording etudes is at once exhilarating and terrifying. I was always told to practice each Kreutzer as if I had to give a performance of it at the end of the week, and it's finally coming true! I enlisted the help of my teacher from age 10-18, Dan Mason, on the etudes actually, since for many of them I was too young to remember how he taught them. The Kreutzer set of 42, in particular, are much richer than I remembered. There's a reason generations of violinists have used that book to hone their technique: they're tough! The time I spent with Dan a couple of weeks ago was especially valuable as he was able to share some insights from his time in the Heifetz studio at USC. Heifetz, as you may know, used the Kreutzer, Dont and Schradieck books in his teaching, among others. He also practiced them himself, even in adulthood. Dan told me some great Heifetz stories which I'll share in the recordings.
OK, here's one: he delighted in devising devilish variations and making students attempt them on sight. Kreutzer No. 8 was a favorite of his in this regard. It's in 6/8, so each measure has 2 groups of 6 notes. One day, he made everyone try this bowing pattern: one separate, 4 slurred. Try it and see! Apparently there was one student who could do it immediately, which infuriated the master to no end! This, by the way, was the same student who played with a shoulder rest. Heifetz did not allow them in the studio, so the student would simply use it everywhere but in class!
I'll update you as the recording approaches. In the meantime, they've put a promo video on Youtube that includes everyone but me (since my content will have to be added in a couple of weeks):
I'll be in the studio September 16-22, and here's the list of what I'll be recording.
Cheers to you,
From Laurie NilesWow, that is an incredible amount to record!
Posted on September 11, 2012 at 5:28 AM
Hey, were you concertmaster at the Hollywood Bowl a few nights ago, playing the solos in Swan Lake? Very nice!
From elise stanleyI was going to write WOW! But I see Laurie beat me to it!
Posted on September 11, 2012 at 7:05 AM
Well, WOW! anyway. Good luck, look forward to see/hearing the outcome.
BTW who was the infamous Heifetz SR student?
From Nathan ColeI was concertmaster for the Tchaikovsky program. Did you stay for the fireworks? I always wonder how it looks from out there! They apparently told the USC Trojans marching band not to smile ever, because they looked like extras from Men in Black when they walked on stage. Thanks for the good wishes and hope to see you soon.
Posted on September 11, 2012 at 7:03 AM
From Christian VachonHi Nathan,
Posted on September 11, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Another WOW! That is an impressive list of material to record!
Please let us know when the finished product is available. Would be a great reference for many students!
Cheers and very best of luck!
From Laurie NilesI was there, I stayed for the fab fireworks, and what's more, my son was in the children's choir! How heartening, so many people, an audience of nearly 18,000, there for Tchaikovsky !
Posted on September 11, 2012 at 2:42 PM
From Nathan ColeHey, congratulations to your son! I know he was there for our Mahler 8 as well.
Posted on September 11, 2012 at 4:09 PM
The Heifetz student, by the way, was Franklyn D'Antonio. He went on to become a member of both the Chicago Symphony and LA Phil, so we have that in common at least. I can't claim his amazing Kreutzer improvisational abilities though!
From Ioana PerezIt is basically impossible to record all that music in JUST 6 days! amazing....
Posted on September 11, 2012 at 4:27 PM
and after recording it, they will sell it or how we can have access to that "info"?
Thanks in advance and good luck!
From Nathan ColeYes, my thought when they proposed this was the same: that's going to be impossible! But they showed me the piece lists of their other artists, and what they put together in a week, and I figured I had to find a way. I'll have 7 full days in the studio during which I'll give updates.
Posted on September 11, 2012 at 8:57 PM
The finished result will be part of the Artistworks classical campus, which is set to open in the next few weeks. However, when it opens my material won't yet be a part of it since they need time to process/edit/test. My material will join about a month later.
To answer the question about how you can see it, basically it's a monthly subscription, which is the same model they've used successfully for a couple of years with bluegrass/rock instruments. The subscription gives access to all the videos for your instrument plus personal video exchanges with the teacher. They have a page where you can enter your email and be notified when the campus is open:
From Ioana PerezMr. Cole, thanks a lot for your answer. Nice to get a reply from Nathan Cole itself!!!
Posted on September 12, 2012 at 12:10 AM
I've already submitted my email, as you suggested, so I`m looking forward for it. I really need info like that right now...
By the way, I just checked your site and enjoyed your fantastic review on "THE" Schumann Scherzo. It is really hepful in many aspects, for auditions in general, not just for this excerpt. So thanks for doing that! It's a pity there is no Don Juan and Mozart's 39th. You know! haha.
(English is not my mother tongue, so sorry for the mistakes.)
It's a pleasure to be in touch with you and thanks again!
From Emily GrossmanSixty-niyiyiyne!
Posted on September 13, 2012 at 7:40 PM
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