May 2005

May 31, 2005 03:44

New Website is up (Ben Clapton, Violinist and Composer) - put the finishing touches on and uploaded it today.

I'm performing my Suk at Concert Practice on Thursday. I'm borrowing a MiniDisk recorder and mic to record it, so I can see how I went, and so I can finally put a recording up on my website. I'm looking forward to it, because I've performed this piece before and know that it's good. I really like the Suk. I'd like to be able to say that Suk is my speciality but I've only played one piece. Oh well, there's still time. I'd really like to play all four pieces for my recital, but I guess that'd take up almost half of my 45 minute recital... a bit much for just one composer.

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May 28, 2005 18:39

My student suprised me yesterday. He has an audition tomorrow for a spot in a music school, so I ran him through his pieces, and ran him through a mock audition process to get him used to it. His rhythm when I clapped it to him was excellent, he could clap it back to me. He had never been able to do that to me before with the simplest excercises that I gave him. He's not confident in singing, however when he trys he's near the note. Unfortunately it's at that time when his voice is changing, so he's even less confident. But I think he'll be great tomorrow and will be in with a chance.

I've got my new student coming today. I hope she remembers, I haven't heard from her since she first called. But I'm looking forward to it. My first "new" student. She's learnt before but hasn't played for some time.

Oh well, I think i should start putting my new composition into the computer, hear it for the first time as best I can.

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May 26, 2005 16:42

I got my new computer yesterday. Spent the evening putting all my programs on there, so that was a night of practice lost, but the computer is so neccessary in my life. I can now print out the parts of my string composition for my church! even better - I can hear it!

I've been putting all the cd's i own onto my computer - which will mean that I won't have to play the cd's so hopefully they won't get scratched etc. Protect your investment etc. I plan to get a new hard drive as soon as i can - to store everything else.

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May 21, 2005 23:49

Had my mid year concert with the philharmonic last night. Was great fun. There's always something interesting, and it's really interesting hearing different peoples verdicts on it.

My verdict:
WEnt really well, we got lost in the middle of the Piano Concerto by Rachmaninov, but other than that it was going well.

Dad's Verdict
Really good, but Hoedown by Copland was messy.

Friends verdict (a music teacher):
Really impressive effort at a tough program, but Triumphant March and Hymn from Aida by Verdi was sloppy.

Sister's Verdict:
Loved it, Brahm's Hungarian Dances No's 5 & 6 were brilliant, she could picture the gypsies.

All in all, I think a rather good concert, and to think that that wide range of people thought so many different things says to me that we pulled it off - a very good concert that we can be proud of.

Now to next semester, Rhapsodie in Blue, and Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet

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May 19, 2005 01:34

Ok, Star Wars Episode Three: Return of the Sith. (BTW, I'm no good at writing reviews, so i'm probably going to reveal too much of the story. If you don't want a lot of it spoiled, only read the first paragraph)

This movie has made the previous two worthwhile. They had some good moments, but overall the second one was a love story, and the first was about trade tarifs. The third, however, actually has a story line that explains a number of things - why vader wears the mask, why palpatine suddenly grew a lot older, the birth of Luke and Leia and why they were split up, etc etc.

The story starts with Anakin and Obi Wan on a mission to rescue Chancellor Palpatine after he had been kidnapped by the droid leader General Greivous - a strange droid who for some reason has a cough. Anakkin and Obi Wan encounter the sith lord Count Dooku, and engage in a lightsaber battle - "together this time." Obi Wan is trapped under some decking that Count Dooku was pulled down on him, and Anakin and Dooku fight on. Anakin overpowers him, and reluctantly (only on Chancellor Palpatines strong request) kills Count Dooku.

When they arive back on Coruscant, Amidala tells Anakin that she is pregnant. They keep it secret from everyone else. Anakin starts having dreams about Amidala dieing in childbirth, and consults Master Yoda, without naming names, about it. He starts searching for a way to save Amidala.

When Obi Wan eventually kills General Greivous, the war is over. The jedi are preparing to make sure Palpatine hands back his powers to the senate. However, just before leaving, Anakin reveals to Master Windu something that he has just learnt - that Palpatine is really Darth Sidious! The jedi go to arrest him, which results in a battle between four jedi masters, eventually Anakin finally turns to the dark side (I won't reveal the events leading up to this in too much detail).

The jedi are destroyed, a final battle between Yoda and Sidious, and between Obi Wan and Vader, then the jedi go into hiding. Luke and Leia are born, and are split up. Construction of the death star begins.

All in all, this is a really good movie, and I really reccommend you see it. It has been put together well, the film is well written and acted, and John Williams has put his characteristic music to it.

I rate Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith - 4 stars.

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May 18, 2005 04:45

Another wet day. Luckily I had a later start so I wasn't caught in traffic.

Got a couple of hours of practice this morning - scales and etudes, and then some Bach. It's starting to come along, but still a long way to go.

During my break in the middle of the day, I went to see my mum in hospital. She's doing well and was happy to see me. I probably won't be able to see her again before she comes out, so she'll be glad I made the effort.

I got back to uni and practiced my Suk. I'm really happy with how it's progressing. I worked on the middle section, just doing some musical ideas - playing with vibrato and dynamics etc. I was happy with it. I found someone outside and played it for them. They said that the middle section was better, that the musical ideas were flowing better, and that my bow changes were hardly audible. Excellent! That just means I need to do some work on the musical ideas in the first part (which is the same as the last part) and that should be excellent. I'm practicing it every day in a hope to get it ready for performance at Concert practice next week. Not that I'm not practicing my other pieces every day, it's just some days I don't get as much time to practice, so they kind of get rushed through :)

I should be at work right now, but when I got home, I was feeling rather unwell. I think I had too much seafood salad for lunch. I figured I should just stay home and keep well. Hopefully I should have enough money for the week.

I'll still go to Star Wars tonight - wouldn't miss that for the world!

Well, I think I'm up for a bit of a drink, some juice (no vodka this time ;) hehe, hey, ever think that if there was a punctuation sign that had a , and another one on top but upside down, how evil it would look? Just me? ok)

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May 17, 2005 06:53

Well I've had a rather good day, methinks. Better than yesterday by far!

Yesterday, Perth got battered by storms which made the roads clog up. It took me an Hour and a half to get to uni, a trip that normally only takes 30 minutes. I was half an hour late for my lesson, in which we only really got to go through some scales.

In the Afternoon/evening, I had a rehearsal for this production I volunteered to be in, a collaboration between the classical music department and the dancers. I couldn't do all the shows, so I got another violinist in. The composer asked me to do better a few weeks ago, and I tried, but yesterday I was having a bad day. I didn't play that well, so he asked me to not be involved any longer. I went and practiced before deciding to call my dad for a lift home, which he was willing to give me :>

Today however, was better. Much better. Freed of the constraints of the rehearsals for that piece (which I didn't really like anyway - see previous blogs), I managed to get some good practice done this evening. I have just finished practicing my Suk - the Appassionato from his Four Pieces. As I was practicing it, I started wondering what it would sound like with an orchestral accompaniement. Anyone who knows these pieces would know that they are written for violin and piano, and they are just beautiful pieces - very showy. The Appassionato is divided into three sections: a Fast, exciting passage; followed by a really expressive section with such a lovely, yet chromatic, melody; and then the fast passage is repeated again. It's so lovely, and I suspect that it would be amazing with a full symphony orchestra.

tomorrow I have a fairly full day. I have 3 classes, with a break in the middle. I'm hoping to head into the city to see my mum who is recovering from surgery. I'll hopefully get 3 hours of practice done - not as much as I'd like but the best I can do in such a full day. I have class finishing at 5, and work starting at 6. I am then going to go see the Midnight screening of Star Wars with a couple of mates... I'm going to be fairly tired in Aural on thursday...

May the force be with you!

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May 15, 2005 05:15

Isn't it just a great feeling when you go to a rehearsal and come out knowing that you've put in your all. That's what I gave on Saturday, our last rehearsal before the concert.

How do I know this? I managed to break my E string in the middle of Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 5 - the second piece in our program. I played the Rest of No. 5 and all of No. 6 up on the A string, before I was able to get an eing on and was able to join in somewhere in the middle of the Dvorak (Last Movement of Symphony No. 9).

Well, I need to figure out what pieces I'm going to play for my up coming performances:
Concert Practice this semester: Suk's Appasionato
Concert Practice next semester: Brahms' Sonata Op. 78
WAMTA Recital and Concerto Compertition: Recital Section: 1 or 2 Movements of Bach, and Suk Appasionato
Concertos Section: First Movement of Mozart Concerto in D
North of Perth Music Festival: Two Movements of Bach
South Suburban: Suk

Yes, that should be good preperation for my AMus exam and my end of the year exam.

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May 13, 2005 06:00

Yay! I have another student.
J rang me this evening in the middle of my youth group. Becuase I didn't know the number I answered, and got me a student. She isn't able to come for a couple of weeks, but hey, it's an extra half hour of lessons a week. Extra Money to save for my violin :>

My composition for my church is going well. I'm up to the fugue - the bit I've been looking forward to the most, yet also the bit I've been regretting the most because it's probably the most difficult thing I'll have done compositionally up til now. I can understand 2 and three part fugues, but will it be possible for me to write a 5 part fugue, and still have it sound ok? Seeing as I haven't heard any of what I've written so far except in my head (Since the computer died, I haven't taken to writing music on the computer, choosing to wait till I get my own computer with Sibelius). I really hope it sounds awesome, as I'm sure it will be. I've done a lot of work on this piece, not only just writing the music, but also planning out the composition, choosing the keys carefully and where it modulates to, journaling what I've worked on etc. Oh well, I think I might go do some more work on it.


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May 7, 2005 02:25

Just a quick entry - i'm so Excited!

I just got back from a rehearsal with "The Experiment" - the band from church. Called that for a reason...

But anyway, My dad came up to me and said that around 7pm, as cheuffer was coming to take me to the WASO concert tonight. This is excellent - as I had really wanted to go to the concert. The feature is excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, but for me the feature will be the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto - my favourite piece! It's being played by Viviane Hagner. I've messaged my teacher (who plays in waso) to see if I might be able to meet her and possibly get her to sign my score for me.

I can hear a pop song going in my head "I'm so excited" but it's drowned out more by the Mendelssohn :>

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May 4, 2005 01:55

Does anyone check their blog entries just to see if there's any comments? I caught myself doing that today, and was dissapointed that there weren't any. Not that I should be disappointed. I guess it's just that I know people are reading it if there are comments. Not that I comment on every blog that I read of course...

Didn't get much practice done today. I was planning on it, but realised that I have an aural assessment tomorrow and needed to complete my portfolio. I've just got a couple of analyses to complete, which I'll do after work.

We had a special Chamber Music workshop today. I couldn't see the point of it. We've got a "concert" on friday, and that time could've been better spent rehearsing, rather than have some people playing some minimalist piece and the rest sitting there being bored, and laughing at how the euphonium player could be so wrong.

It got me thinking though. Where did this come from? Why are we listening to this instead of some Mozart or Beethoven? Why can't I remember the melody of this piece, yet can remember the second subject of the first Violin Sonata by Brahms? Where did classical music become so wrong? And why?

I remember a sweedish conductor (i forget the name) laying the blame on Schoenburg. His tone rows are where it began. It started turning audiences away. They would hear the first note and go "ok." then they'd hear the second note and ask "Why?" Then they'd hear the third note and ask themselves "Why am I here?" and by the fourth note they would be leaving.

I'm not saying that Schoenberg was a bad composer. I personally think that the theory behind the tone rows are excellent, and he must have put a lot of work into perfecting it. I wonder how many tone rows he made before realising that at some point there was a reflection of a key signature? As I say, I respect the work he put into it.

However, the work he did alienated many audiences from the concert hall. Schoenberg's music should not be performed for the public, but should be available for conservatory students. It is important for them to study these things, and understand them, however is there really a point in writing music that takes a music degree at least to be able to understand it?

Of course, I could be wrong. I'm sure there are people out there that like that music. But it has gotten me interested in this question: Where did it all go wrong? What are the events that brought about Schoenberg's Tone rows. Why did composers suddenly start writing minimalist, or post minimalist pieces. Surely there must have been something behind it?

So I've resolved myself to start writing some essays about music which I shall post on my website. I don't know how often I'll post them. I'd like to do one a month, but that might be a bit ambitious. I'm going to start off in the baroque period and work my way up to the 20th century. I'll start researching tomorrow, after my assessment is completed.

Well, until next time

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May 3, 2005 06:39

We're in production week this week. Well, that's what it used to be called. Basically it was a week where people who had rehearsals could rehearse all day for their up-coming production and not have to worry about missing out on classes. Those that weren't involved had a week to catch up on work they hadn't quite completed.

Unfortunately (in some respects) they have changed that this year. We still get a week of no classes, but instead those not involved in rehearsals have other things to do. For me, we have chamber music rehearsals 3 days a week plus a concert on friday. I'm involved in a flute trio - Flute, Violin and Piano. Today the pianist had the music, and he didn't turn up, so S and I practiced some Telemann, of which we both had our parts. It was quite lovely, although we hadn't liked it at first, it has been rather easy to put together and we should be able to get it together, hopefully with piano, for friday.

After about an hour and a half of rehearsal, S went off to his other group, and I went and had some lunch. I found some other string players in the Caf who were in the middle of a b******* session about UWA. I enthusiastically joined in. We've resolved to try and get our own String class started at waapa so that we don't have to go there instead. THere are now enough of us at waapa to merit a string class, so hopefully we can get it started.

I got my bow re-haired over the weekend. it was horrid to play with my spare bow. I'm looking at getting a new bow sometime this year, so my regular bow will become my spare which won't be too bad. But it was nice to pick it up this afternoon and go and practice for a bit. Practiced my Suk, and technical work, and just went through my Bach and Mozart to make sure I at least touched them. Also worked on the Telemann.

I then did some work on my String Orchestra music. Got the viola out.
Yes, I did say viola. I'm playing the viola because I have played it before. When I say "played it before" really I kinda tried to play it and worked really hard to quit from reading in treble and stay in alto. my intonation wasn't all that good. However, this evening, my sight-reading was pretty good, most of the time. Which means this thing might actually work out.

I like the tone of the viola - it's so rich. I know it's way to small for the notes it reaches, but meh, I still think it sounds good. I'm even contemplating buying one one day (after I've bought my own violin that is). I figure it would be useful to have, just in case. You never know.

Well, I think that's just about it for today, I'm off to watch some TV.

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