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Ben Clapton


September 15, 2006 at 12:05 PM

Couple of performances in the past couple of days.

Last night, I had my orchestra performance. We performed the Bach E Major Violin Concerto, Grieg's Holberg suite, and Veni Creator Spiritus by Australian Composer Ross Edwards. We were led by WASO Associate Concert Master Margaret Blades, with Michael Goldschlager leading the Cello section.

The concert was fantastic, by all reports. Of course there were mistakes, but none of the audicne that I talked to noticed, which is all that mattered.

In the first movement of the Bach, Margaret broke her E string. Congrats to everyone involved, with Michael holding onto the B as long as possible, harpsichordist Stewart Smith prepared to start playing the Violin line on the Harpsichord, while Associate Concert master Rebecca White swapped violins so quickly that none of the other arrangements were neccessary. Well Done to Rebecca for completing the rest of the concerto with no E string.

The Ross Edwards is an amazingly beautiful piece. Starting with the Plain song tune Veni Creator Spiritus (Latin: Come Creator Spirit), it consists of two movements, the first - a dreamscape type movement featuring beautiful tonal changes and no vibrato for the majority of the movement. Notes in their purest form. The second movement is destinctly more archaic in nature, sounding celtic to me. It has "unconventional" time signatures (5/8 and 7/8 is as bad as it gets) and splits the orchestra up into 4 violin parts, 2 viola parts, 2 celli parts and bass. If you ever get an opportunity to hear this work, I encourage you to do so.

I also did some "Performances" of my two movements of Bach G minor today. After practicing for an hour, I found a couple of people to listen to me do the movement by memory. Went through it pretty well, and got some comments back on it, some good ideas for me to work on as well. Then a friend came in and asked me to listen to her Bach (on cello) and then she'd listen to my Bach. So basically two full runs in about half an hour. I was tired after that.

I also got a chance to perform the Presto from the G minor in String class today. It went fairly well, and Michael gave me some technical ideas to look at to improve my performance. So that, with the couple of musical ideas I received in the morning, have got me enthusiastic.

My only complaint at my playing (made by myself) is that in the three run throughs I did today, all from memory, I had memory slips. That's not my complaint though - I knew i would have memory slips, I had wanted to get through it now so that I had experience when it comes to my recital. Perform now, so I know where to work on. My complaint is that my memory slipped in a different place each time. very annoying.

Oh well, it's all stuff for me to work on. More practice to come... I still need to do a lot of work on my Sarasate.

From William Yap
Posted on September 15, 2006 at 12:25 PM
I started to think about memorising music recently. I had my exam a week ago and about 3 months before the exam, I could play from memory for 3 of the pieces and 3/4 of the 4th piece. In the week before the exam, I started to have memory slips. Like you, the memory slips happened at different places at different times. In the end, I had to start learning to play with sheetmusic again, which screwed up my performance during the exam (not too seriously).

When I memorise a piece, I don't necessary memorise the notes, but I had the music played in my mind and the violin stimultaneously, and then the fingers and bow just takes over. When I start to think of the notes, I slip. I wonder what is the proper "technique" to play from memory. Any tips?

I've posted this message on the discussionboard to get some feedback.

From Karin Lin
Posted on September 15, 2006 at 3:53 PM
Sounds like a fun concert. I love the Holberg suite. Yes, kudos to everyone in the orchestra for handling the string break! I like your idea of "performances" among friends, etc.; that's a nice way to develop the stage mindset before going in front of an unfamiliar audience.
From Terez Mertes
Posted on September 15, 2006 at 4:17 PM
Ditto to Karin's comments on the Holberg Suite. I performed to it (as a ballet dancer), so it will always be special. Would love to hear it live.

Good luck on your memorization efforts!

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