To be honest, if you want to win a big international violin competition, Max Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy" is not necessarily the piece of music you pick to play in the Finals.
Sure, it's a virtuosic piece, but it's so familiar, so Romantic. If you really want to wow the judges, you might pick the edgier Bartok Concerto No. 2, or the emotionally gripping Shostakovich Concerto No. 1, or the technically and musically challenging Walton Violin Concerto. In fact, of the 38 violinists who came to vie for the Gold Medal during the 17-day International Violin Competition of Indianapolis in September, only one of them chose to play the "Scottish Fantasy" in the Finals: Richard Lin.
Lin also happens to be the violinist who won the competition. He's the first to admit that he was not being strategic when he chose the "Scottish Fantasy" from the list of 21 works from which they could choose. He was being sentimental. Keep reading...Tweet
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In my spare time, such as before bed after orchestra rehearsal, I like to curl up on my bed and read a book. I read The Hobbit for the first time a few weeks back, and I just finished re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - and enjoyed watching the interview with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe in 2011 as they finished filming the final film that year. In the process, I discovered this video series about the Potter scores, and one thing he noticed was how quickly the series became, and how the music changed starkly from composer to composer. I had done my own look-back at the scores in 2013 with my SymphonicScore podcast, and have revisited the music here in this blog in the past. Now having spent every day for the past four years of my life watching a British YouTuber, it's been fun to see how much of their Britishness came across to me, especially whilst reading the book and seeing the interview.
Anyways, that long preamble was to set up a topic that I gleamed from this video series: how the music of the Harry Potter films could have been so much more than it was.
The legendary Jascha Heifetz famously told his students that it didn't really matter what kind of rosin one uses on the bow. At least that's the lore here in Southern California, where the great violinist lived for he latter part of his days and taught at the University of Southern California. He apparently had an old cake of Hill.
I can't figure out if he really meant it, or if it was his way of saying, "Stop obsessing over what kind of rosin I use; if you want to play like me, practice!"
Rosin can last for decades, if you don't break it. Once you drop it onto a hard floor, it can shatter like glass. It's best to just chuck it at this point. If you put the compromised cake back in your case, it will continue to produce tiny rosin crumbs that spread everywhere as it rattles around in the case. A number of people are allergic to rosin and require the hypoallergenic variety -- I'm glad this now exists.
What is your experience with rosin? Does it matter what kind of rosin you use? What is your favorite rosin these days? What qualities do you look for?Comments (15)
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