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Kelsey Z.

still insane

September 3, 2006 at 4:01 AM

Another day has come to a close (almost) and another day I have yet again spent close to an hour on scales and over 20 minutes on those dreaded vibrato exercises. I still have in my mind to practice some Bach yet tonight to put me at an even keel in terms of my sanity and it's regards to the violin but for now I'm sipping some tension tamer tea to help myself relax though the smell is making me mildly nauseas. It's supposed to have some sort of redeeming health benefit though....

Last night, or was it the night before (?) I decided that after a long absence from my unaccompanied Bach recordings that I would dig them out again and see if I was hit with any new perceptions now that I've been working on the G minor sonata on and off for just under a years time. I pulled out my Ehnes, St. John, Gruimaiux and Ricci. I don't have Ricci playing the G minor but I was curious to hear his sound and approach again. First up was Ehnes. Ehnes was my 2nd largest exposure to unaccompanied Bach and my 2nd recording that I got when I was 12. I had Ricci's sound strong in my mind when I first heard the Ehnes recording on the radio at that age. My Dad, shortly after I began playing violin, brought me home a recording of Ricci which I can remember sitting on the couch listening to with my eyes closed for hours on end, just absorbing to music so Ehnes had some big shoes to fill. I really liked Ehnes' much cleaner, less rubato filled approach and there was a clarity in his playing that I hadn't heard in the Ricci but something about the Ricci recording still stuck with me for a long time. The Ehnes recording gradually grew on me though and I named it my new favorite. The other night when I put the recording of the G minor on I felt somehow a bit lost in the first mvt. It didn't quite embody the vision and sense of motion that I had developed for the piece. There were a lot of things I really liked about it but I determined that for now, I am not such a big fan of the legato filled, romantic approach. I needed there to be more moments where the listener could breath and some of the moments that I have come to love done with more intensity and a sense of building tension, Ehnes does in a more relaxed, slowing down fashion. The Fugue had more of that drive and internal motion that I longed for in the Adagio but again I felt like I was being strangled a bit when it came to having a chance to breath in between sections. Next up I listened to Lara St. John. There are a lot of things I like about her Adagio as well but I find it a bit stop and start and again it doesn't quite fit my vision, although phrasing wise it is closer to my ideas than Ehnes'. The Fugue has a HUGE amount of motion throughout and the statement of the theme that repeats itself throughout is much closer to my statement of the theme. It's got this drive and intensity to it but she stills lets the listener breath even with her incrediably quick playing. I don't know how anyone can make that piece sound so smooth and effortless, it's crazy! *envy sinks in* Next up was Gruimaux's Fugue. This is by far the closest to how I play it. It's a little less "moving" than St. John's but it still has that sense of motion throughout while giving the listen to breath. The statement of the theme is what I'm doing and the execution of the chords comes off how I've been taught and come to love (if only I could do them consistently!). It was interesting after such a long absence from hearing that piece to listen again to recordings and hear my new perceptions of them and compare them with how I have decided (for now!) that I want them to go.

Now that I've gone on forever about Bach, perhaps I will go and wake myself up (this tea, just inhaling it makes me sleepy) and practice for a bit more.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on September 3, 2006 at 6:12 AM
It's interesting to go back to old recordings and see how your reaction to them changes over time. The way you play it will be strictly your own version. Hilary Hahn said that everyone who plays any piece of music adds something of their own to it, but she felt that this is especially true for Bach's music.

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