August 2004

August 21, 2004 19:10

While my violin is off for repairs, my teacher lent me a nice, sturdy 1932 fiddle to practice on in the meantime. Nice sweet tone, great response, fantastic feel - everything's great, except no matter what I try, it slips out of tune within five seconds of my adjusting it. I've been frantically tuning it and then playing two measures of the Bach Double as fast as I can. Despite the fact that after those two measures, the E string slips into a C and the A string becomes an F, I still get the glory of playing for these fleeting moments.


I want my violin back!!! It's like having a child stay overnight at their grandparents' for the first time - although I know the violin is in good hands, I'm still worried, anyway. And I'm even more worried about how the instrument will sound with a readjusted soundpost, with autumn auditions coming up and all. "It's probably going to take a long time for the same tone to come back," my teacher warned - oh, I know, and it's all my fault, too.

To get my mind off my musical troubles, I read the new book "Sleeping With Schubert" today - don't worry; it's much less risque than it sounds. It circles around the concept of a woman becoming inhabitated by the spirit of Schubert, who wants to complete his Unfinished Symphony through her. Very interesting stuff. Although I found some portions of the book a tad unbelievable (would those attending a classical concert really throw their underwear onstage?), it was a nice escape for the afternoon.

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August 18, 2004 19:21

Had an awful violinistic day today. I was changing my strings, somehow the bridge shifted and fell off, and then, as I was freaking out and transporting the fiddle to a safer environment, I heard a sickening rolling sound INSIDE the violin. I stopped mid-breath, scared to move or twitch or even breathe again, but I tipped it back just a little bit more... And yes, it was the soundpost... It had slipped, too... And oh, my stupidity amazes me. Oh silly silly silly self!

What makes the whole incident even more embarrassing is that I hope to be a violin repair-person someday. Ha, fine luthier I'll make, breaking bridges and disconnecting soundposts. I can see the thrilled faces of my adoring customers already. :P Experiences like these make me wonder if my potential career is jinxed.

But at least I'm learning.

Anyhow, my baby is out of commission and my wallet is out of money - and I can't hardly think of a sadder state of violinistic affairs. Weep, sob, wail.

On the plus side, though, I did get the fingerboard cleaned...


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August 16, 2004 19:28

Last night I had difficulties getting to sleep. I kept fingering the Bach Double concerto in my head, feeling the notes and the phrases on my fingertips. Ba da da da da Da da da da da DUH duh DUH... And so on. Finally at about one o' clock, I realized how silly I was being, but I couldn't help it - I just had to finger the Bach Double. It was like breathing, or blinking my eyes, or having my heart beat - it just came, for Pete's sake, and I couldn't do anything to stop it. Finally I went through a guided-imagary tour, settling my thoughts on opening my violin case, setting the violin in the velvet, pulling the velcro strap over the fingerboard, floofing out the blanket, latching the case closed, zipping up the music pocket. Surprisingly enough, this worked. I was asleep by two.

What a strange existence us musicians lead.

I indulged at my local music store today - bought Oistrakh's Brahms concerto and third sonata (his accompanist, Vladimir Yampolsky, is the father of Victor who I met in Door County), Heifetz's Walton and Elgar concertos, and a Gramophone magazine. With the Gramophone magazine came an absolutely delightful sampler CD. Quite a bargain, really, for the $8.50 price, and such a lot of fun to read!

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August 6, 2004 20:46

Coming back to after a four-day absence to attend a concert in Door County, Wisconsin, I am struck once again at the variety presented on this website. That's why I love - there are so many different people from so many different backgrounds, and so many different experiences to read about. To read four days' worth of posts is a fascinating endeavor - all you guys are so fascinating!!!

The Door County concert was the best I've ever been to - the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra, Victor Yampolsky conducting, and James Ehnes soloing in the Dvorak violin concerto. Thanks to various freak coincidences, I managed to meet both conductor and soloist; Mr. Yampolsky even invited me to come play for him next time I visit Door County in the summertime (!). I enthusiastically agreed. One does not, after all, get a chance to play for an Oistrakh student every day. "I'm not very strict," he smiled...what a charismatic sweetheart. He also asked me to the after-party, which was an incredible experience for a small-town girl like myself. It was one of the most wonderfully surreal experiences I've ever had; I enjoyed it very much. I am planning to attend many more after-parties in the future...and maybe even apply for an internship position at the Peninsula Music Festival in the coming years. Who knows? Someday I might even play in the orchestra...

All in all, it has been a good week. Every once and a while, I undergo a miraculously inspiring musical event - whether it be a concert, a listener's comment, or a promise from my teacher - and those moments always encourage me onward, letting me know the musical path is the right one. This concert, though, was one of the most inspiring moments of all. I do believe I'm going to play until my fingers fall off! :)

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