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June 2004

June 28, 2004 04:19

I got the final piece of my repetoir for this year today - Wieniawski's Legende Op 17. This is a great piece, a real show piece and I'm looking forward to playing it. I'll be performing this and the Telemann Fantasy 1 at the WAMTA competition later in the year, so I've got a fair bit of work to do on both of them, as well as my other piece, the Haydn Violin Concerto, which I'm performing in August (Joondalup Eisteddfod) and September (Concert Practice).

I've got two weeks off lessons now because my teacher is going away up north with his wife. It's not that bad really, seeing as he's given me 14 lessons (i think) this semester, and he's only getting paid by the uni to give me 10. Oh well, i guess it's all the better for me, considering all the other teachers are only giving their students 10 lessons a semester.

So... I've got basically 3 weeks till my next lesson, and i'll be working on perfecting the Haydn Concerto 1st movement, strengthening the first two movements of the Telemann and learning the third, and, when I get the music, learning parts of Legende

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June 20, 2004 05:02

Had my AUSTA String festival today. Played ok, I had some Memory lapses, but coped fairly well. My teacher now knows what I need to work on, so that will be cool.

Comments from the Adjudicator:
Posture: Exellent
Left Hand Tech: Good Shape
Bow Hold/Arm: Good Full Use of Bow
Tone: Pure Sound
Intonation: Generally Good - But some care needed with Double Stops
Phrasing: Natural Phrasing
Rhythm: Good Sense of Rhythm
Dynamics: Perhaps more Variation
Style: Good use of Upper Half of Bow
Interpretation: Good Style - But wanted more variation in textures
Stage Presence: Good Solid Presence
Memory: Well Done. Coped will with small slips.

Overall: Excellent (Out of Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding).

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June 16, 2004 05:45

Went for my exam on monday. Went reasonably well, a few mistakes but everyone gets them. The rehearsal afterwards was better.
We had a rehearsal in the main auditorium at uni to run through the pieces for our performances on SUnday. Myself and three other students of my teacher are performing in the AUSTA (Australian String Teachers Association) Festival on Sunday. It's a non-competitive festival allowing students to get experience and feedback in performing. I'll be performing the first Fantasy in Bb by Telemann, first and second movements.

I'm looking forward to it, because on Monday I was sounding good in the auditorium, and I've now memorised both movements. This will be the first time I'll have performed the second movement from memory.

As Always, I feel quietly confident. I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. It is good to feel confident, but you don't want to be cocky. Also Nerves are what make a live performance excellent. Hence I prefer to listen to live recordings of pieces rather than studio versions. You get the tiny mistakes, showing what a violin really sounds like (of course, these are less noticeable in the masters).

I'll be posting details up on my website (link below), and if there are any posters in Perth I'd love to meet you, as well as hear how you thought I played.

Till Next time

Ben Clapton

Ben Clapton, Violinist and Composer"

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June 1, 2004 00:49

Had a good lesson yesterday. I'm preparing for my technical exam on the 14th so we basically ran through all my technical work. I'm not really the biggest fan of technical work, but as Heifetz said "It's something you have to do, so you might as well do it and get it over with."

I got that quote from my newest CD, Heifetz with the Chicago Symphony with Fritz Reiner conducting the Brahms and Tchaikovsky violin concertos. It's actually a rather funny story on how I came up buying that cd.
I got a cd of the Beethoven Violin concerto out from my uni library along with the score, but when I put it in my cd player it wouldn't play because the library had to put a laminate covering to make sure that the metalic strips would stay on so the cd's couldn't be stolen. Unfortunately that surface was stuffed up and wasn't smooth so i couldn't play it in my player. I decided that I'd go and purchase my own copy of the CD. Because it was a Naxos recording, that meant a trip to Wesley Classics (Only store in perth that is 98% classical recordings (plus a bit of world music), and has the largest range of naxos cd's in perth). And of course you can't go to wesley classics and not have a look at the classical music cd's. I was looking in the second hand cd's section when I found a Living Stereo recording of Heifetz doing the Brahms and Tchaikovsky. Seeing as I've never actually heard the great man perform, I thought I should purchase myself a copy. So I went into the store wanting to purchase a $10 cd of Beethoven, and I walked out with a $12 cd of Brahms/Tchaik...

I did an hours practice last night, along with my lesson in the afternoon. 2 hours on scales. I had wanted to do more, had planned on doing more, but hadn't planned on my oldest friend (known her for more than 12 years) coming over.
I got up early this morning and managed to get an hours worth of practice in before i had to head off to uni. Every day I have a 9am class (except thursday which is an 8am class), and because I catch public transport it means leaving my house at 7:40. Therefore I think you'll understand how difficult it was to get up this morning at 5:30, have a shower, breakfast, make sure my bag is packed and everything like that and get an hours worth of violin practice in. I think you'll be even more amazed when I tell you that at 5:30 the temperature in Perth was a smidgen over 6 degrees. That might be a normal maximum for many european countries, but here in perth we're not used to that.
I also got an hours practice done at uni on my Telemann fantasia 1. Even though I'm not being assessed on it for this exam, I've got a competition the weekend after the exam so I have to make sure I know the piece. It's going well and I'm noticing the improvements that I'm making.
Then I had a rehearsal with another violinist at the Acadamy. We're preparing to do an assesment for Chamber Music and we had our first run through today after our lecturer decided that our first ensemble (clarinet quintet) wouldn't work. We're now doing a trio which is sounding very nice.

WEll as for the rest of today, I'm going to do another hour's worth of practice, do some work on my Haydn Violin Concerto (preparing that for another competition in August), then this evening I have a rehearsal for a Pantomime that I'm taking part in. Very easy work but still important.



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