October 2006

Vengerov on Saturday!

October 13, 2006 07:17

I'm going to see Vengerov at Carnegie Hall on Saturday. Here's the program:

Maxim Vengerov, Violin
Alisa Weilerstein, Cello
Lilya Zilberstein, Piano

TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Trio in A Minor, Op. 50

I'm very much looking forward to it. In my experience, he's always been an absolutely amazing performer.

Seems I haven't updated in a while.

My lessons are going well, although never as well as I'd like. My teacher says I'm almost ready to start playing chamber music with others at my level. I find the notion, frankly, ludicrous, but it is something I definitely want to do -- when I'm a little more secure.

On the violin tech front, he showed me a wolf super flexible rest. I only tried it for a second, but I'm intrigued. I like the way it molded itself to my shoulder without making me feel like I was being put in traction.

My daughter's progress continues apace. We spent last spring and summer hunting for a new violin and bow -- her first full-size instrument -- and it was great fun, and very educational, even with the necessary budget restrictions. She settled on an instrument by Shan Jiang (Feng's brother) which didn't make me feel like I was "settling" at all, despite its relatively modest price. It started off sounding great but sounds even better now, especially with the new bow. She tried many bows, focusing on contemporary American makers, and one by Ole Kanestrom proved to be the best overall match to her instrument. I'd read about it before, but that whole business of matching an individual bow to an individual instrument to an individual player is spot on. Some bows didn't sound so hot with her instrument, a lot sounded pretty good, some pulled a big sound/some didn't, some bounced better than others, but the one she chose just did more...revealed more colors.

Another thing I noticed was how she has really had to get to know the instrument, a process that continues; it can do more than her 3/4 (For one thing, her teacher says, that unlike her 3/4 instrument, she can now play in the "high-priced real estate" right next to the bridge), and she's discovering it gradually more every day. At the start, she didn't fully sound like herself, but over the next weeks, she came back to herself, to the way she sounds -- but more so than before.

Since I like to piddle around, I've been trying some different strings. It came with Dominants and a Larsen E. I switched to Evahs, and after some initial fascination with the increase in power, I felt I began to notice something missing, particularly on the A string, like a bottom chunk of the tone had gone missing. That's not a technical description, but it is how it seems to my ears. Plus my daughter complained that she didn't feel "in" the string. So we're back to dominants for now, with a gold label e.

I recycled her evahs and put them on my fiddle, where they seem to be more at home.

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