June 2004

June 26, 2004 17:36

It's been nice to get away for a few days. No phone, computer, tv. *sigh*
I still practiced some while I was away, since I have these few concerts coming up this week. I'm really excited about performing the Lark Ascending on Monday. It's still not really super, great yet but it's passable for a student recital and by performing it I'm sure I'll figure out where my weaker spots are and be able to know which spots I need to work on the fluency in. I don't often just play through an entire work until a performance, so this is my trial run on the piece to figure out what works and what doesn't on stage. Like...just how loud does the flautando need to be to be audible in the building without taking away the mystery and subtleness of the opening...

Ah my bow! I love my bow! I just got it back from a re-hair and a little repair made to the pearl on the frog. It sounds heavenly! I can now play Paganini and Stravinsky without restraint, knowing I will not break all hair remaining on my bow. My bow badly needed a re-hair, because of lack of hair and the length of time since it's been re-haired last. It makes all the difference in the world!

Not a whole lot new. I was away, as I mentioned above, for a few days, which was a nice refresher. It felt good to get away from everything and just "relax". Went fishing, I caught a whole 3 fish over four days. I did a bit of biking, played a bunch of games, did some reading, sat and admired the view. Just had a good break!

Well I'm back now, and raring to go! :D

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June 20, 2004 08:59

My mouth has been pretty sore the past few days. I had some work done on my braces which has resulted in the same feeling as when I just got the braces put on. For this reason my practicing has been a fair amount less enjoyable and not in the quantities I'd usually practice. On the plus side, because I know it hurts a lot to practice I make good use of my time spent practicing. The only things I've really worked on though have been Ysaye and Lark Ascending then of course some technique and etudes.

The past few days I've spent a lot more time at the piano. I've really enjoyed it! I'm starting to get on a good roll with my practicing on it and working on technique and things.I have a feeling that roll will be changed as of tomorrow though. I'm going away for 5 days on the annual family fishing trip. I'm excited about going and looking forward to it, to be sure, but there is no piano around. I will be taking my violin along though. Only a couple days after getting back I'm performing Lark Ascending then I just got music for an orchestral program that rehearsals begin for only a couple days after that.

The Orch Dork thread has been kind of funny. I don't think I'm nessecarily and "Orch" dork but more of a "Classical and contemporary music in general" dork. Playing with the youth symphony the past few years has meant getting up at 5 or 5:30 most Saturday's to drive to 2 and a half hours to orchestra rehearsals which last all day long. I do have concerts and auditions or rehearsals nearly every weekend it seems. (I've done around 40 concerts since the end of January, of which I am very proud of myself :D)

Speaking of going away here earlier. I guess I should get some stuff together and do some wash so I have clothes to wear for the next 5 days I am away. My favorite part about this trip is the scenery! We are right on the lake, there are no phones and computers or tv. It's like being totally with-drawn from the world in a way. The paper only comes if someone happens to have "gone to town" that day and remembered to pick up an order sheet. It's a nice thing to be able to just go and do that for a few days and just enjoy the animals (bears, bald eagles, neat birds, gophers and squirrels are among some of the many animals that we see all week long). I'm excited about being gone for a few days.

And with that. See you all when I get back!

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June 16, 2004 11:07

just a quick note:

I tried the "Which violin concerto are you?" and I entered the same information twice. First time I was Prokofieff No.2 (yay!! I love that concerto) second time it told me I was Wieniawski 2. hmm.....

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June 14, 2004 11:55

How often do you have an entire 800 seat, acousticly friendly, concert hall (well...highschool auditorium, but it's the concert hall for that city and it's nicer then come concert halls I've been in!) all to yourself? That was the case for me yesterday! I was playing in a year end concert that the music school was putting on and I was supposed to be early to rehearse the fiddle stuff with the little kids. I arrived at 1pm (concert started at 2) and there was no one there yet. I was a few minutes early, but I was suspecting teachers would be there getting music stands or something, and I wanted to claim a spot for my case and make sure there was a room or place I could go and warm up after the fiddle stuff before I played the Vitali Ciaccona. I checked the backstage doors to see if they were open, and to my great suprise they opened with ease. I walked in, and other then the centre stage light being on there was no signs of anyone having been there or being around. I of course, had to walk out on stage and marvel at what it felt like to look out to the hall at the seats, and then I couldn't resist. I was alone, I was in a big hall with good acoustics and no one was appearing to care there I was standing there with a violin draped over my shoulder. I went off to the side of the stage and un-packed my violin and walked out onto the stage and tuned. The response was amazing! For sure nothing like the Orpheum in Vancouver would be, but for me, it was as if I had died and gone to heaven. A girl and her parents came in just as I was about to start playing some Bach, and they said "play us something". So with them off to the side of the stage I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and started into a piece I wrote for solo violin and just played, listened, tried to absorb the sound and the way everything bounced around in the hall. Unfortunatly people soon started to come in and I had to seize and go and help find music stands, but to have those few moments to just play on the stage, with only the lights on the stage on, just gazing out to the audience and hearing how everything reacted, I was a happy girl!

After running through the fiddles tunes with the little kids and quickly looking through some more music for a fiddle piece that I was going to sightread with the group, I left the stage and went and trashed my stuff with relatives who had arrived. After we played the fiddle tunes I grabbed my practice mute and waterbottle, went and washed my hands and went and began to warm up, came back and watched a couple people who wanted me to see them play and who I wanted to watch see, made sure that it was going to be alright that my Dad who would be playing the Vitali with me, to move the Steinway out on stage a bit more. (I feel that he's as much of an equal in that piece as I am, and he deserves to get to be out there and not off to the side where things feel detached) After listening for a bit to a bunch of suzuki kids I decided I should warm up some more to make sure my hands were in gear and were going to be well warmed up to play. I went backstage again and listened to the last suzuki group who were playing a gavotte and the Dvorak Humeresque. Then it was my turn! My Dad and I walked out on stage, got the piano in place, tuned and as I nodded that I was ready when he was what should come from one the dressing rooms backstage, but whistling. One of the teachers (someone who I don't get along with very well and it's a rather long story as to why, but basicly he doesn't like me and I don't like him) was whistling the Dvorak Humeresque. The audience could hear it, and they laughed and so my Dad walked off stage and told him that we was audible in the audience, and to please cut it out while we were playing. So with this Dvorak Humeresque stuck in my head (which I love, but not when I'm trying to play something like the Vitali by memory and in one of the neatest settings of a Steinway, and great hall, I didn't want to kill my piece because of some annoying little piece) we re-grouped, and started. The first page had a really un-natural vibrato to it, and in one spot harmony wise the Dvorak thing seemed to just jump out at me, I screwed up a fingering, resulting in a really horrible bar, but I continued with my mind set on concentrating on the task at hand. I kept playing and soon the Dvorak was finally out of my head and I was able to relax and just play. Once I was sure that Dvorak wasn't going to sneak out at me again I reminded myself to not concentrate so hard and just enjoy the sound of the wonderful 9ft grand piano and violin melding together. Other then that one really awful bar in the first page it went overall really well with a few minor intonation things, but overall it was a controlled, good performance, I felt. I nailed all those octave double stops and got the thirds with the leaps up to the octaves well in tune and controlled, and played them really confidently. I was pleased! The best part is my teacher was there to watch it from far side of the stage. Yay! A successful concert down. One to go.

I had to leave right after I played, at intermission (I was last on the first half of the program). It was onto a piano recital. I sure wish I had had a Steinway for the next recital....

At my piano recital I played a duet with my piano teacher, just a fun easy kind of jazzy, Latin song by Christopher Norton, then a couple pieces later I got to play the opening movement of the Beethoven Pastorale Sonata. That was a bit nerve wracking. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be, which I was thankful for. I was also thankful I had had the chance to try out the piano prior to the recital beginning. It has this really horrible, almost like playing into jumbo marshmallows, touch. Not the most ideal thing for that lovely ostinato in the Beethoven, or for some of those runs. Hmm....oh well! It went pretty good. I don't think I could have asked for a much better performance of the work and my teacher was pleased! A couple more pieces went by, and I was up again! Though this time playing violin. I played the Obertass Mazurka by Wieniawski. Just something, short, easy and fun. It went really well also.

In the morning before all of this I had to be into town relatively early, so I went to my Grandparents place and practice for about an hour and a half before all the concert stuff started, so by time I got home it had been a long, and tiring day. I still had to play yet. Tonight I'm playing a piece as a "guest artist" at a concert my sister is doing, and the composer of the piece is going to be in the audience. Being informed I was to play the piece not even a week ago, I definetly needed to practice it and practice it with my brother (who is playing the piano part to the piece. The piece was written for him and I to perform at a special fundraiser concert in February of this year) since the most we'll get to practice together today will be an hour before we play to just run through things to make sure the lighting and everything will work out alright.

So now that I've had a break to write this I think I should go and work on that piece a bit right now.

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June 11, 2004 09:46

Wednesday's violin lesson went really well overall. I could have played Lark Ascending better but I was pleased to have played it as well as I did. My teacher was quite pleased too!! She helped give me some things to work on to make it better which is good and there are still some things, rhythmically that I want to get more secure. That piece has so many rhythmic things that are incrediably easy to mess up. The Lark Ascending is so beautiful though, I really love it, and the challenge is a good one to have it ready to perform by the 28th. Let's just hope it won't be the "Lark Descending" as opposed to the "Lark Ascending".

I've been working through the Beethoven Sonata, opening movement (Op28 the Pastorale on piano) a lot in the past week. I'm performing it on Sunday and it's a long, hard piece. It's so great though! The parallel sections are incrediably hard to do well and to keep that inner voice quiet while bringing out the outer ones. I'm really excited and a bit nervous about performing it too. It'll be a good experience. I'm not the most familiar with performing on piano so it's always a bit nerve wracking. I had my piano lesson yesterday and we spent most of it on the Beethoven. My teacher gave me some more little things I can improve on, but overall these next 2 days are going to be getting everything down as solid as I possibly can for Sunday.

On CBC radio 2 on Wednesday they had an hour of the morning spent with Peter Oundjian. It was interesting to hear. One of the recordings and great violinists that Oundjian talked about was Oistrakh's Shostakovich 1 recording. They ended up airing the last movement of the Brahms violin concerto played by Oistrakh. I was at first really striken with just how slow it was, but it really was your typical, very solid, very big sounding, just plain amazing, Oistrakh. I'd like to hear the full concerto sometime!

Speaking of recordings, my Ysaye solo sonatas played by Kaler ar in!! I have to go and pick them up yet, but hopefully sometime this weekend if I'm in town or next week I can do that.

For this weekend's several recitals and performances my repertoire requirement has been upped again. I'm going to get an easy Wieniawski Mazurka I played a couple years ago up to snuff again to play at my piano recital. Luckily it's not a hard piece, and I don't think I have to perform it by memory, so I'll just work on it a bit both today and tomorrow and it should be fine for Sunday.

Last night, after my piano lesson, I had a rehearsal with all the little "Fiddlekids" who are playing on one of the Sunday recitals I'm involved with. It went pretty good! It should be fun to go and play with them. They are all so cute and it's so fun to see a small kids eyes widen when they realise that they are standing on a really big stage with a really big theatre and then there's and audience. After all the rehearsals were done, some of the kids stayed to run through their solo piece that they would be playing. It was a relatively small room, but there was a horribly out of tune piano and a small platform to stand on, so if you are younger, like the few kids were, you were able to at least get a bit of an idea as to what playing on a stage would be like. I helped my teacher cart some stands back up into her studio room and asked if I could run through my solo when all the kids were done. She hadn't heard me play the Ciaccona in a couple of months and I really wanted her to hear it before Sunday. So I got up there, one child who's probably about 8, and her mother stuck around while I played and by that time my Dad had come and so he sat and listened as well. I got up on the little platform and began to play. My first chord was quite atrocious so I stopped and took a breath and started with a good chord. It went alright I had a couple of little things, but I didn't bump strings hardly at all, my intonation was for the most part secure and I think I pulled off a convincing performance. My teacher talked to me for a bit afterwards and seemed really pleased with what I had done with the piece since she had last heard it and said to "just have fun with it. Enjoy the musicality and pyrotechnic's of the piece on Sunday." So I am happy and more comfortable and confident knowing she knows where I am at with the piece. She's said before that I make a lot of the technical fireworks in that piece look really easy and effortless and that people seem to just feel comfortable around me when I play.

So on that note. I should go and practice one of these great pieces I am going to be performing!

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June 6, 2004 16:26

I'm still waiting to find out how I did on my music history exam. Sometimes the waiting is worse then the preparing and anticipating the exam. It's been 4 weeks since I wrote it, so another 2-4 weeks before I will know. I decided I take a look at some of the history four stuff and start some notes for that exam. I can now tell you what syllabic, nuematic, melismatic, and nuemes are and mean. History 4 appears to be a heavier course load and it covers a lot of years I think going back as far, if not farther then 800 all the way up to the Baroque era. Anyone familar with the chant Haec Dies?

The symphony season brochure has just come out. I'm also still waiting to find out if I was accepted or not from my audition, but I will know soon enough I guess. It's a rather eclectic program ranging from Handel's Messiah and Mozart Divertimenti to music of Part and Murphy. There are a few pieces I'm really excited about either playing in or getting to hear performed.Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini (my sister and a friend did that as a two piano duet once...I hated turning pages for that piece), Kelly-Marie Murphy's concerto for cello entitled "This is the Color od My Dreams", Hovahness' Celstial gate, Part's Fratres and so much more. There's a really good sized dose of both Mozart and Beethoven it appears, so hopefully our subscriptions and ticket sales will be up this year from the past few years.

This coming weekend I'm performing the first movement of the Beethoven Pastorale Sonata on piano along with a piano duet at a year end recital and I'm going to be performing the Vitali Ciaccona on violin a couple of times as well as a piece written for my brother and I christened as "WTG" (pronounced wit-age; long story as to the name) but is really called "Rhapsody for violin and piano" by E. Schneider. We've only performed the work once, the premeire, and it's such a great piece! Challenging rhytm wise and just an overall really fun piece to play. I've played some of Mr. Schneider's music before both on violin and piano and it's always very difficult but it's always really satisfying to play. I can hardly wait to play it again, but it's nice to have this next week to get it back under my fingers.

June 28th is when I must be able to get through Lark Ascending. I can play it with the music, but I do need to be able to play it and keep together with the pianist. It's been more or less completely on hold the past while while I've been doing dance concerts and the audition, but this weekend it has had some major work on it. It's going to be a real challenge to have it ready for performance for the 28th, but I think it will be good for me. It's a shame it's not played and performed more often. It's such a great piece and it really helps you find that inner metronome.

This draws a close to another entry!

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