John Lanceley

James Ehnes In concert

Published: Nov. 1, 2006 at 3:49 PM
Greetings folks, welcome to another wonderfully unselfish violin Blog. This week I had the fortune of aquiring free tickets to see James Ehnes playing the Mendelssohn, in of all places, Huddersfield. For the cultured among you this is in England, in the north east to be more precise. The orchestra was the 'Opera North', and Mr Ehnes was sandwiched in between a Strauss fanfare and Respighis Pines of Rome, and Debussys' Printemps. The Strauss fanfare practically blew my eardrums out, but fortunately not before I had heard James' superb performance of the violin concerto. From the very first note the gorgeous Stradivarious tone was there, and even though I was sat at the back I could hear every note clear as a bell. James seemed to be quite relieved when the first page and octaves were done, and flawless they were indeed. As for the rest of the concerto, I cant really remember it. Mr Ehnes flew through it with such dexterity that I was gob-smacked. Especially the cadenza and finish of the first movement, and parts of the third, I had never heard played so fast. Just one passage in the third movement sounded a little rushed, perhaps the orchestra wasnt playing quick enough! Musically it was a very engaging performance, but I still rate Gil Shaham as absolute tops for this piece. There is something about the poetry in his playing which is hard to forget. But indeed I was dazzled and entertained by a performance which sounded like Paganini in his practice room. Wow, anyway thats it for this installment, gee Id never make a writer would I haha

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Holiday snap

Published: Aug. 30, 2006 at 4:03 PM
Last modified: Aug. 30, 2006 at 4:04 PM

Well, im back in England and wondering why I have so much time on my hands, I dont start teaching again for a few weeks. I have tired myself out with practicing so I thought id share this moment from my recent holiday to Austalia - the guy here is doing a street entertainment type thing and he volounteered me and some other tall guy to hold two peices of rope to keep him steady.


I am holding the rope which is nearest the bottom left of the picture, and this pirate guy has been building up to this point in the show for about 25 distinctly boring minuites. I couldnt help thinking to myself, wow, I could really liven up this show by just letting this rope slip through my hand and seeing him fly. After all, I have delicate violin playing hands to take care of.

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Video of me playing....

Published: Jul. 25, 2006 at 3:40 PM
Well im halfway through my holiday in Australia, the time has gone so quick! Ive managed to get out and do lots of stuff, and still do plenty of practicing. Not having to do any work is so relaxing! Im really enjoying the Vieuxtemps concerto no2 that I found. My playing has shot through the roof because im so chilled out at the minuite. Also I have got acess to broadband which is why I've been so active on here lately. My Auntie took a video of me playing guitar which I thought was pretty cool, I registered on youtube and put it up. Have a look
next up will be some violin playing, I promise.

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Concert review, journo at work :)

Published: Jul. 12, 2006 at 4:30 PM
Last modified: Jul. 12, 2006 at 4:47 PM

Wow. Octaves are hard. I thought that my technique had survived my recent holiday attitude, but it seems that my octaves havent. Darn. Maybe if I dont practice anything at all all day, I should just go up and down the fingerboard in chromatic octaves to keep my hand frame in. Anyway enough whinging, I want to write a review on the concert I just attended.
Australian Chamber Orchestra with guest director Anthony Marwood. English violinist, who recently won a best instrumentalist university prize. They played Barbers string quartet in Bm (the one with the famous adagio), Medelssohn Dm concerto, and Beethovens C# minor quartet. The barber was really beautiful, very dynamic playing, flawless ensemble and great purity of sound and intonation. It was a fairly small group of players, but the sound was very focussed and resonant. The Dm concerto was particularly impressive, Mr Marwood's tone was pure, flowing and varied. The tempo was very brisk and daring, but there was not a hint of rushed fingers, and once again the ensemble was flawless. The work is a really cheeky piece, the solo figuration is distinctly classical but with a hint of flashiness to it. Mendelssohn wrote it when he was 13, which beggars belief. Very nice little concerto indeed (barely 20 mins)!
Onto the Beethoven, which is a piece I love so much. I have the Alban Berg Quartet's live recording of this, which is unbelievably good. So the ACO had a lot to live up to! Not surprisingly I found the playing to be a bit flat, there was hardly any changes of character from movement to movement, and I though that the tempis could have been a bit more diverse. I would have liked a bit more vibrato in the first movement, at times it sounded very bare and almost as if you had put the score into a computer. The last movement picked up a bit, although the brisk tempo did waver in places. Also I though that they could have been more daring in the sul ponticello section. But the playing had much more fire towards the end. The overall technique and ensemble in the concert was brilliant, just for me I think a bit more phrasing and details in the Beethoven would have topped it off. But overall it was very good.
Ok more octaves/ torture

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Happy happy holidays!

Published: Jul. 8, 2006 at 10:07 AM
Hi everyone, its a long time since I have been on this website due to the fact that my computer has been down. But I am now on holiday visiting relatives in the beautiful city of Perth, Australia, and they have broadband so here I am! It is winter here so it gets dark really early, its not even 6 oclock yet and its pitch black. Today I went to the beach with my uncle and saw lots of surfers, I think there was some kind of event on because it was really busy. The weather here is lovely, its about 22-24 with a nice breeze and hardly a cloud in the sky. If we get a day like that in england everyone rejoices but it seems to be like that every day here. Its great! Today I practiced my violin for the first time since monday, which is the most time that I have had off from playing probably since I started the instrument. It didnt feel much different really, but I suppose it will catch up with me if I dont do some more work soon. I only played Czardas, I need to do some work on Bach and Mozart soon though if im serious about putting a recital on. But id rather go down and swim in the sea! Haha. But with no teaching commitments for 9 weeks, hopefully I might be able to do both. Australia kicks ass!

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Orchestral playing has never been this much fun

Published: Apr. 2, 2006 at 11:38 PM
Wooo, a new look blog page! I prefer to read against a white background but apart from that its okay. Anyway. I had such an enjoyable orchestral concert last night! The acoustic in the church was great and we played really well. We played Vaughn Williams Syphony no 5, and some Rossini arranged by Britten, and a Rawsthorne overture which is quite a funny piece. Im amazed at how my sight reading is coming on with practice as well, having only played for 6 years. Also im excited about learning some new repertoire for a performing diploma (I already passed one but you can never have enough lol), Im going to play Mozart no 4, somo solo Bach (Siciliano and presto) and ZIGGERUNIEGERNUNERWIESERNUNANANU!!!
I can already play the Bach and Ziggy Stardust, the Mozart shouldnt be a problem but I will definately get some lessons to help with phrasing and stuff. Also I need to write a cadenza because the ones in my copy of the music arent up to much. Anyway wish me luck with that :-D

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Tiramisu ....

Published: Jan. 25, 2006 at 8:33 PM
Has anyone here been turned on to the delights of tiramisu pudding? Ohh it is soo delicious. MMmmmmmmmm

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Update on food poisoned violinist. ack

Published: Nov. 3, 2005 at 9:15 PM
So it seems that I have PMS! (poisoned male situation) Girls, I feels your pain!
I have been advised not to eat anything, because my stomach is trying to flush out a virus. I did have 1 meal today but it went straight through me (sorry for the detail!). But the pain is not so bad at the moment. I tried to get to my guitar teaching this morning but my stomach was just saying no, and I have been in bed all day.
Natasha, why do you get ill after your concerts? Carbonated water makes me wretch. How can anyone drink that stuff?
I just tried out that passage in the Kriesler, it is definately easier in 2nd position. Yay. Now if I was well enough to have a serious practice..... heres hoping for tomorrow.

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Violinist in pain

Published: Nov. 2, 2005 at 11:17 PM
Wow, I have just realised how painful getting a stomach bug can be. It hit me on monday night, a real searing, stabbing abdominal pain. It felt like being starving but 10 times worse. It is now wednesday night and the pain is exactly the same. It has come and gone in waves - I woke up this morning feeling fine, and then as soon as I moved - It felt like my stomach was about to fall out of my body! On top of that, today I had a bad headache. I think I might have an intolerance to sugar, because I only have to have a sip of coke or something and I get a splitting headache. Maybe im just feeling extra-sensitive today. My brain is totally shot, I cant think straight, or co-ordinate any muscles. Although, strangely my playing doesnt seem to have been affected. What does that say about my playing, haha! Nah, I think the violin-playing part of my brain has got away from my illness. I have been working on Praeludium and allegro lately, I am managing to get a good sound out of the second variation, with all the semi-quaver double stops. Man those are hard to hit in tune, the ones in first position with fingers 2,3,4. My teacher has recommended playing it in 2nd position but I would imagine that to be more difficult up to tempo. The rest of it seems pretty much ok. It just struck me what an excellent bow workout this piece is, you need a bow arm like rambo. Anyway, im off to bed, the pian is unbearable...

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Emil Chudnovskys UK visit

Published: Oct. 23, 2005 at 11:46 PM
Hey Emil, where is the venue for this Trio concert in North England?

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