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Ben Clapton

Recital Events

November 19, 2006 at 6:45 AM

Ok, for everyone that messaged on my last blog, thanks (and for everyone that read and didn't message, thanks. And for everyone that didn't read, well you missed out. Take the time to read the history).

The program for my recital was as follows:
Bach, J.S. - Siciliano and Presto from Solo Sonata for Violin Number 1 in G minor
Beethoven - Sonata for Piano and Violin Number 4 in a minor (Opus 23)
Sarasate - Romanza Andaluza from Spanish Dances Book 2

Ok, so let's go back to the blog before my last, which was 10 days before my recital. The last ten days were pretty good. I did some good practice, had some good rehearsals with my pianist, and also did some work for my mum's work, redesigning their website (It is up, some things need to be changed however - http://www.churcheswa.com.au). A couple of days before I started toning down the practice I was doing, to ensure that I was fresh.

So we get to the day of my recital. I wake up, and just have a fairly lazy morning. The internet isn't working, so I just watch a bit of TV. There's the Australian Open Golf on, so that's a nice thing to have on while I'm slowly getting ready - iron the shirt, have a shower, have lunch, polish the shoes etc. Just before I got dressed in my gear, I decided to spend a bit of time doing some of the feldenkrais excercises that I had learnt in my Choir Eneksis. Just a nice little thing to help with my posture.

I got to uni around 1pm (recital at 4) and just relaxed. I went to get my programs, I posted on my blog, I had a bit of a chat with people, and set up the Auditorium for my recital. Thankfully I was up first for the day, so I had as much time in the auditorium as I wanted.

I had a rehearsal with my pianist from around 3, and this was the first time that I had picked up the violin that day. Just a bit of a run through the Sarasate, then setting tempos in the Beethoven and I was fine. I ran through the Presto of the Bach just to ensure that I was fully warmed up. I then had some photos taken with my parents so that I wouldn't be distracted during the recital from flash photography.

My girlfriend was page turning for me, but she was running a bit late, turning up just as I'm about to head on stage for my Bach. A quick explaination for the stage management stuff she would need to do (just moving a stand on) and I was on.

My Bach... this probably ended up being the weakest part of my program. I played it from memory, and although there were mistakes, I was pleased with how I performed. I almost had a memory slip in the Siciliano, but did manage to save it. My mind was wandering ahead to the Presto during the sicilano, which lead to mistakes. But all in all, I was very pleased with it.

The Beethoven - my favourite piece of the program. Having performed this many times, I knew this would be a strong part of my program. Parts were taken a bit faster than we had in rehearsals, but all in all, it worked out better.

The Sarasate - the newest part of the program, my main problem was the second page - getting all those double stops in tune. But I managed to get them right, but I was too focussed on the second page that the first page wasn't being played in the style. A bit of playing around with it (and being told in my last lesson that the bar that I was having the most difficulty with - a scale in thirds in semiquavers - could be slowed down as much as need be to get the notes) meant that I was a lot more confident. When it came to the recital, my pianist said just as we were going out "Let's have fun" and I went out with the biggest smile on my face, and I had fun. It was the best performance that I had done. I've even got a couple of comments on my MySpace that the scale of sixths sounded fantastic.

So the recital was fantastic. Good news? You bet. However, little did I know there was better news to come.

My parents had arranged to have dinner out at a resteraunt with some friends - my old head of music (and good friends of my father), and the owner of the violin that I had been playing for the past seven years. She has been very generous to me - allowing me to play on a violin that I certainly wouldn't be able to afford, and allowing me to play it for such a long time. Well, we were early for the dinner, so we stopped off at a coffee shop. I got there late because my parents hadn't actually told me where we were going, and I went to the wrong place. We eventually got there, and met the Head of music, who lived close by so he had gone home after the recital then walked down. So we went into the coffee shop, and the following conversation took place (slightly paraphrased):
Dad: "Jangoo, this is Elaine, the mother of Ben's violin"
Elaine: "And Ben is the owner of his violin"
Ben: "What?!?!?!?"

She has given me her violin, a lovely German copy of a 1796 Josef Klotz made around 1900. Having had this violin for so long, I have learnt to love it, and it has grown so much with me, but it has always been her violin. I've always known that I would have to get a new violin, and up until that moment, it was certainly sooner than later. Now that pressure isn't there, and while I certainly will want to buy a better violin at some point, I will keep this violin because it is a fantastic violin in it's own right. So I will play this violin for some time, and slowly save up for a better violin, and when I need it, I will have a spare violin should it be neccessary.


So yes, I have been very happy - and have had a smile on my face that has not been wiped off since I was told.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on November 19, 2006 at 7:09 AM
Congratulations on your recital and your new violin, Ben. I believe I know how you feel because I had a similar experience. For years, my violin teacher lent me one of his violins, a beautiful instrument made in Germany around 1900 which cost far too much for my family to afford. One day I told my father, "I love this violin so much. I will be very sad when I have to give it back." He replied, "You won't have to give it back. It's yours now." He had been paying for it, a few dollars a week, every week for years. It is, in many ways, the best gift I ever received. I still have it, play it, and love it. Incidentally, Ansel Adams, a very dedicated pianist who almost became a professional musician instead of a professional photographer, had a similar experience with a piano that his family could not possibly afford. His father bought it for him anyway, paying a few dollars a week, every week for years. May you and your violin have a long and happy future together.
From parmeeta bhogal
Posted on November 19, 2006 at 12:08 PM
That is just great!!! congratulations, and you must have certainly earned it through your dedication.
From Neil Cameron
Posted on November 19, 2006 at 12:48 PM
Congratulations on both the recital and the "gift" Ben.

Neil

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