April 2006

Bent out of shape, schooled out, but ridiculously happy nonetheless!

April 29, 2006 10:27

Hello one and all!

I got my scores back from that competition. I did very well! Out of a maximum score of 150 (I think), I got 145, 143, amd 145. They all had really positive comments, too. One judge wrote "Great future ahead" and another one wrote "Very mature sound; keep playing PLEASE!" :-)
So, that made my day. I have to find a new accompanist for the concert this coming Sunday, so I can play at their concert. Then, they fork a form over to me, telling me I've won $500, $750, etc.
I wonder which place I got...

I've also been asked to play backround music for the Ave Maria University graduation party. I haven't been officially "engaged" yet, but it
s looking as if it's a go; I emailed them and told them I'd be able to do the gig, but they haven't gotten back to me yet.

Mom's been taking me to a chiropractor to iron my violin-warped body too. Dr. Suzanne's been working my back and shoulders (and gave me a lot of pec. work) but one of her main concerns is my face and head. Two years ago, I was sledding, and to cut a long story short, some idiot didn't watch where he was going and ended up planting his huge winter boot square on my nose. Lots of blood, etc. Anyways, it apparently screwed up my skull and face bones (my nose is a wreck), and therefore the muscles that attach to my head are skewed. So the chiropractor's working my head to get everything else in place. My left arm nerves are also a little messed up from all that. Fun fun fun.

In the way of school, I am going to finish my Latin courses this week (PRAISE GOD!) and hopefully Theology as well. After that, just a few more essays, History finals, and Biology lab work. The lab work's not bad. I pretty much just have to spend 18 hours doing activities from my lab book. I have four more dissecting specimens I'll do, and probably some genetics work. I spent two hours working on a "Dioxeribonucliec Acid Nucleotide Base-Pairing Model" the other day. It's...um...yeah.

I guess that'a about it. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

P.S. At the doctors, I read an Oprah magazine just for you, Sydney.

3 replies | Archive link

April 25, 2006 12:03

Today, I just decided I would finish my literature course for the year. All I had left was my major Lit. Test. Except the Seton Literature Test is the most hellish thing you will ever come across. It consists of 6 interpretive essays, 5 explanitory paragraphs, and five "short answers" (i.e. 5-7 sentence). It took me 5 and a half hours to complete. And now my brain feels as if it's been through a food processor.

On other news........

Naples Music Club competition was on Saturday. I came out feeling like a bum. I screwed the arps, had bad bow contact, and just felt really un-into-it, if you know what I mean. My accompanist said I did great though, and she also said she talked to the judges and they were extremely impressed. I didn't think much of this until my lesson on Monday. Mr. Neal asked me how I did. He let me beat myself up (again) for five minutes before he said "Well...I heard you were *amazing*." I guess one of the judges on the panel contacted him and thought I was unbelievable. So, that's really good. :-)

Sunday was pretty crazy. After the normal church activities in the morning, I went to an orchestra rehearsal. The rehearsal was pretty nutty; we had tons of stage problems and ended up not rehearsing all of the pieces. I also couldn't see the conductor and my music at once for numerous reasons including lights in my face and cramped space. Nevertheless, I got to tune the orchestra for the first time ever. Sounds stupid, but I've wanted to do that since I was really little, and, until January, I figured it was something I'd never get to do.
After that, Sam and his Dad swung by and took my to see a one-night-only production of Tosca, which was very enjoyable.

So, that seems to be the bulk of everything. I'm going crazy trying to finish school. Gag me. I think I'll toddle off and do some math now.


3 replies | Archive link

Having trouble deciding on recordings...Bram, this looks like it would be in your department

April 18, 2006 12:38

I am having a dilemma. The other day, on the radio, I heard this piano concerto that I *have* to have: the Moscheles Piano Concerto No. 3 in G minor (Ignaz Moscheles). However, there seems to be very few recordings of it. I was wondering if any of you had the Howard Shelley Recording and if you were happy with it. The name Howard Shelley rings a bell, but I don't remember if he's the dripping, romantic style pianist I like or not. I'm a total romantic. I'm also curious to know what the recording quality is.

Secondly, I'm looking for a good recording of Strauss' Violin Concerto (D min.). I fell in love with it once I heard it, but have been undecided in buying one. I saw one that Sarah Chang has, but I'm not familiar with Chang, unforunately. Again, the more romantic styled, the better.

If you guys know of any recordings of these two pieces that you've liked, PLEASE let me know which recording it was and why you liked it. Otherwise, I'm going to go blow some money on a Sarah Chang and Howard Shelley.


Thanks a bunch.


7 replies | Archive link

Clearing a Few Things Up

April 12, 2006 05:44

I seem to be deceiving quite a few people on here, so I figured I should post some general facts about my life on here.

1. I am not a genius. I am freakin' insane, but certainly not a genius.

2. I am a sophomore in a rigorous college prep correspondance school. Everyone in it works hard. You have one of two choices 1) you get everything done on time with a B+ average or 2)you take a full year to do your work and keep a high A average. I take the first choice, to maintain what sanity I have left.

3. Seven courses: English (advanced grammar, writing book analyses essays, poetic analysis, and creative writing), World Literature (advanced reading of European texts, more book essays), European History (from the Neolithic revolution to WWII), Latin II (my second year of the language my father claims is "not dead but eternal"), Biology (self-explanatory), Moral Theology (I'm Catholic), Algebra II (a.k.a. hell).
I get a credit a year for music too.

I hope that's cleared all these misconceptions up. Yes, I work hard, but I'm no genius. Just an ordinary Joe (or rather Jane) like everyone else.


9 replies | Archive link

Good Gig

April 11, 2006 12:05

Hello one and all!

Luckily, I am now feeling a tad better. Unfortunately, I did not recover in time for my gig. I felt that I played very badly at first (this may have had to do with the fact that I was 1. nervous 2. in pain, and 3. not warmed up due to a shortage of warm up rooms), but finished quite well. The people managing the dinner party were the most wonderful people I have ever worked for. I was greeted at the door by the host and his assistant. Before I had even walked through the door, they pushed my pay into my hands. They made me play for twice as long as agreed upon, but I was later compensated when I noticed the hefty sum I was paid (so much I almost walked back to return half of it). I was notified a month in advance, they were freindly and helpful and appreciative...
Don't you just love well-run gigs?

On other news, I calculated my remaining school-time and came to a depressing discovery- I won't be finishing until the second week of June, even though I started mid-August and only took four weeks off total during the school year. I'm hoping to consolidate that somewhat, otherwise I'll have little time to rest before summer camp.

And now, if any of you need to see something scary, go look at Sydney's last blog....


11 replies | Archive link

Cold, sick, and enduring Flautists of Idiocy

April 10, 2006 09:23

Man, I have to most god-awful stomach aches today. I feel like there's a knife going from the bottom of my stomach into my rib cage. It's really hard to breathe too...and I've had this since I woke up. This ain't the first time either, which leads me to wonder if I should maybe see a doctor. Hopefully it's nothing worse than a case of acute indigestion.

(Un)fortunately, I have a gig tonight. One of the usuals- half an hour, they pick the amoun of money I get. Okay by me; I usually end up getting good exposure and more money than I would charge anyways. As usual, I'll go through those loverly Handel sonatas (minus the Largos, as they don't impress the public), some solo Bach cello suite excerpts, and watch the 12 guests mill around during cocktail hour and eat their foi gras during dinner. Or whatever. Should be great fun (and it'll give me a chance to try out one of my three new white blouses).

Mr. Neal's been twice as picky since we talked about music school. Know that he knows for sure what I want to do, he seems to have set his heart on being the nastiest little slave driver he can be. Which is a very good thing, and I really like that. But man! He can be tough to please!

After I finished my lesson with him yesterday, we had orchestra rehearsal, which in a word, sucked. Flautists are the epitome of stupid, evil, and blonde (no offense to any blonds out there...Syd...). They were so anal that the conductor, ina fury, took them aside during break. Obnoxious twits. Linda, if you truly wanted to be evil, you'd be a flautist.

*shivers* It's so cold in here! I'm in the university library and I'm literally blowing on my hands to keep warm...and I live in FLORIDA for pete's sake! What is this??? I demand a refund! :-)

Your freezing, ill violinist,

6 replies | Archive link

The Strad down the Street

April 6, 2006 15:44

It was a perfect day for finding an old violin. I had spent several hours going through old boxes of books. We moved two years ago, almost three, and our living room is still filled with boxes and boxes of old books that we haven't found a good bookshelf for yet. You wouldn't believe the stuff we have in those musty old boxes. From Linear Algebra to "Speak Swahili", from Ronald Knox to Sherlock Holmes and B.C. Comic books, we have it in one of the thirty dust-filled boxes behind the couch.
After two hours of studying Tale of Two Cities at the Ortiz's house, Mrs. Ortiz finally came home to relieve me of my soundly-sleeping charge.
"I'm surprised he slept that whole time! Thank you so much, Natasha!"
"Oh, no problem, Mrs. Ortiz. Anytime."
She and her three year old daughter had just returned from her daughter's violin lesson.
"Show Natasha your hands!"
The shy little girl held out her palms. Drawn on her left hand was a violin and on her right hand, a bow.
Gosh, I remember the "box days".
"I was thinking of canning the violin teacher and just having you teach her, Natasha."
"Oh, well, I've never taught anyone private lessons." I said as I walked out the door.
I ran back over several minutes later. She needed new strings for her full size violin and couldn't tell if she needed ball or loop. Five minutes told me she was a ball person.
"While you're here, could you look at this violin..." she walked out to the car "...it's in the family...it looks really old..."
I smiled. The last 'family heirloom' I had tried out turned out to be nothing but a piece of junk.
Mrs. Ortiz went on "It's got a crack and the bridge is gone." She pulled out an old case, nearly falling apart, and struggled to unlatch the ancient buckles. "Our violin teacher said 'You ever sell want to sell that violin, come talk to me.'"
Inside, was a totally dead violin.
3/4 size, maybe a small 4/4. Two piece back, nice varnish. Strings, bridge, everything gone. It reminded me something of my old Guarneri copy. I glanced quickly over the label.
"Oh, look at that, it's a copy of a Strad" I said, smiling. "It's like your other full size" I nodded towards the bright red violin on the dining room table. Something made me look back.
It didn't say "copy of" anywhere on the label. Just "Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 1722". And that beautiful insigna "AS" with a cross. Handmade paper.
I blinked "It doesn't say it's a copy..." I said.
"It can't be a Strad. Those sell for millions. It can't be. But...maybe." I stopped to explain what a Strad was. "It's really REALLY unlikely this is the real thing...but I'll look around, see what i can find."

So here I am. It matches all the descriptions of a 1722 Strad. Do any of you know how I could tell for sure? The label matches perfectly. However, it's smallish size, along with the fact that it's a two piece (surely Strads are one pieces?) and none of the "Strad-ish" purfling on the sides. I'm not convinced. And yet...her teacher offered to buy it without even playing it. Odd, no?

So, if any of you have any help as to identifying a Strad, drop me a comment or email me. Thanks a bunch,


5 replies | Archive link

April 5, 2006- Natasha types up another update of her life

April 5, 2006 14:02

It's "one of those days".
I'm bored. I don't just want to waste my time doing crud. Some moments are worse than others but...

That song I'm learning on the piano goes quickly! I'm still on the VERY SLOW stage. But improving.

OH, and for those of you who didn't read my posts on my other blog, I got accepted into EMF this year! I won't be going, but I'm really happy, because they only accept 54 violinists from around the country, from both colleges and highschools. And I not only got in, I got $1000 scholarship too! It really makes me feel better, knowing I'm good enough to get in to things like that.

I am officially going to Brevard now, however. I got the official acceptance letter, and I'm sending my reservation form/fee in tomorrow.


I think that's it. Catch ya later...

6 replies | Archive link


April 3, 2006 14:06

Last year, I printed out sheet music to my all time favorite vocal song, My Immortal (Evanescence). That's the only song of theirs that I really like, and man do I like it! Anyways, it's for piano (which I dabble with in my spare time) but I couldn't read Bass cleff well enough last year to play.
So a year, five songs, and two music theory chapters later (I've had this book for three years and, yes, I've only made it through two chapters...I did some online theory classes last summer though...to supplement), I can finally read my way s l o w l y through it. VERY slowly, but I can read it. Ahhh, progress! Dontcha love it!

My teacher's having me rest a tad from the Kabalevsky. He's worried I'll get "burned out" before I have to perform it. So, I'm not supposed to obsess over it, and just play it through once a day, work on rough spots, etc. I also get to do the Third Mov. a bit, which is cool.

Schoolwise, it's the same old same old day in day out. Wake up, do school, practice, study, study, study, sleep. Repeat. Da capo. Del segno. Whatev. You get the pic.

Ms. Otranto was *very* very happy with my concertmistress solos yesterday. In fact, she said I sounded very professional, and went on and on about it. I turned very red, but I was happy. I also played the Kabalevsky for her, just to get tempo markings for when I play in May. She said I sound great, and I'm the least of her worries. Yeah!

We got my new solo dress back from the cleaners and bought a set of shoes to go with it. I'm about six feet with the sandals, but I need the height for the train of the dress. AMAZON WOMAN LIVES! Haha. I also got two new white blouses. Blouses are a pain in the butt to buy! And musicians need them a lot! Someone should start a dress shop that sells solo attire (i.e. formal dresses, tuxes, etc.) and the white and black things we're all required to have. It would make life easier.

So, that's about it. I need to finish some work now, so have a nice day everyone!


10 replies | Archive link

Just for Sydney

April 1, 2006 13:49

Sydney demanded I review my most recent concert, so, here goes. Oh the things I do for you, Syd. ;-)

Tuesday night, I was privileged to recieve free tickets to a concert at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale through Maistro William Noll. The concert was originally supposed to show the talents of two young prodigees: 19 year old Valeriy Sokolov on violin and 14 year old Sijing Ye on piano. Unfortunately, Sokolov was unable to come; a Russian, he was unable to obtain a visa in time. Instead, college student Dmitri Pogorelov agreed to come in and play the Mendelssohn in place of Sokolov. Although Pogorelov is a seasoned performer, his performance of the Mendelssohn was not of the highest quality. Technically, he seemed unstable; his G string seemed false, his E string was whistling a lot, and his tone, although good, could be better. The first and second movements were better, but the third movement rushed profusely. He almost lost control he was going so quickly. Dmitri didn't seem to really "put his heart into" his playing either. He seemed disconnected and lacked the strength to play such a powerful concerto. Contracted only a week before the performance, I would say he was downright nervous.
Dmitri was completely shown up by Chinese Sijing-Ye. She performed the lovely Chopin Concerto No. 1 on the piano. It was one of the best performances of the Chopin I have ever heard; technically, Sijing was absolutely sensational. Musically, her playing was remarkably mature, despite the fact that she looked like she was eight. I was pleasantly surprised when she played the concerto with a cute, playful touch. It seemed almost as if she was playing with the conductor.
All in all, it was a highly enjoyable evening. Both performers performed encores and the audience gave both standing ovations. I can guarentee that both (espcially Sijing-Ye) will have successfull futures.

3 replies | Archive link

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