After my last controversial, intellectual, and philosophical post (I still hold my views) I have decided on somethiing a little less mind bending.
Like how disgusting the weather is here. I really don't mind rain at all, but when I have a head cold, the last thing I want to do is trudge through puddles holding a violin.
Yesterday was pretty crazy. I started out with church, came home for lunch, then drove (yes, *I* drove...mwahahaha) to orchestra rehearsal for two and a half hours, then spent an hour in quartet rehearsal, then drove (actually *I* didn't drive) down the street and played at an appreciation dinner for the local music club, since I won a scholarship from them last year. It all went very well, except that one part where I looked up and noticed a tree frog climbing down one of the windows...one of those big warty albino ones...and that threw my concentration a bit...but all went well, so no complaints.
I have to prepare for Chemistry now...I've been doing pretty well in the class and I want to keep that up!
...a quest to determine what makes good music good and bad music bad. I want some input. I have convinced myself that, contrary to the beliefs of many, good music is not determined by popular opinion. Bach will remain better than the Beatles no matter what happens. But why? Why is that?
Music, like all art forms, is an expression of beauty. Sure, it can be eerie, angry, flippant, anguished, even harsh...but always beautiful. So I guess my question is more "What is true beauty?"
Complexity seems to play some role. No one can say that a rock song with two different chord progressions and a bridge is better than Beethoven's Fifth. But then, does a more complex piece make a piece better? Is Liebesleid (I know I spelt that wrong...) worse music than Dvorak's violin concerto just because it's simpler. Whatever happened to simple beauty?
Then there's emotional content. I think this is a key role. Some sixth sense (no, not the one you see dead people with...) can pick up emotional depth in any piece of music. Or any type of art. Even something like a painting of flowers conveys some sort of feeling. Right now, I'm sitting by a hall at school where nothing but paintings of flowers hang on the side. Some are elegant and tranquil, some are bright and spunky, some are dark and almost sinister. The skill of the artist or composer in evoking his feeling in others seems to be a vital role in making good art good. Even if we don't establish an emotional connexion with the art (i.e. even if we don't like it) we still appreciate it.
Beauty. It's what we spend out lives creating. Or trying to create. But what is it really. And will we ever know?
Why is it that I always seem to write more in the days preluding a Chemistry exam?
Well, in any case, I *do* have a Chemistry exam tomorrow which I am half dreading and half looking forward too. I feel quite prepared, although I've said that before with dire consequences.
Oddly enough, I was interviewed recently by the local newspaper who, apparently, got information on me off this website. I can only assume they google-searched my name and found my bio page, unless they somehow hacked into my xanga account. So that was surprising.
Appreciation dinner #1 went quite well, despite the fact that I had no time to warm up at all. In fact, as they were announcing my name, I was running to unpack my violin. But it sounded quite good and I got to meet part of the musical circle up in Fort Meyers. Being so involved in Naples, I don't get many opportunities to associate with the musicians and administration of the SWFL Symphony, so this was quite nice.
Appreciation dinner #2 for the Naples Music Club is rapidly approaching, but I'm very confident I can pull that off. I have to have the lovely Symphonie Espagnol recorded and shipped off to numerous summer camps by March 1st, which makes me a little nervous, but my teacher assures me I am far ahead of schedule. This year, I'm going to try to get into CIM's Encore, since I'll be trying out there for college and I'd like to meet some of the faculty, check out the campus, etc. My boyfriend recently auditioned there and liked it a lot, so I suspect I'll like it too. Just as a safety-net, I've also auditioned for Brevard again. Concerto competition falls yet again on the week before my birthday...something else I have to have the Lalo polished up for. Nothing like working under pressure!
I was privileged to attend the most recent concert at the Phil, namely, Jennifer Frautschi's performance of the Khatchaturian violin concerto. I really enjoyed myself! The opening piece was the overture to Donna Diana by Raznecek (I'm sure I spelt that wrong), which I had never heard before and actually enjoyed very much. The Khatchaturian was, in a word, amazing. First of all, I've never heard someone take it that fast. It was about twice as fast as my recording (with Oistrakh) but Ms. Frautschi did an excellent job. One complaint I would have was that her violin didn't seem to project very well. I feel horrid saying that, because she plays the ex-Cadiz Strad, but I had pretty good seats in the middle, and I couldn't hear some of her low and high notes at all. The following Prokofiev symphony no. 6 was not my cup of tea, but I attribute that more to a fault in my appreciation of modern music than to the orcehstra's performance. Nonetheless, it was an evening well spent and it was certainly worth the five dollars I paid for my ticket!
Much to Mr. Neal's delight, Mr Gao, the associate concertmaster of the Phil and the first violin sectional coach (not to mention the instructor of many of the violins in the youth orchestra) has pulled together a quartet with the section leaders of our orchestra. Being concertmistress, he selected me to play first violin. We had our first rehearsal Sunday. It was great fun! Mr. Gao selected some really fun music to play and we're already starting to "mesh" as a good chamber ensemble should. We already have three concerts booked, so I'd say we're off to a darn good start!
Mr. Neal's starting to plan where I need to go to try out teachers for college. Luckily, my academic scores are high enough that I shan't have any problems getting into a college there...in fact, since I took the PSAT, I've been getting about 10 emails per day from various colleges with those great subject headers like "Natasha, you have a choice to make..." and "Brown wants you to take a survey..." and "Natasha, you have strong academic abilities..." So funny. I made the 96% percentile, so I'm hoping I get a commended scholar thing from the National Merit people, but I won't know until next year. But anyways, Mr. Neal's started throwing places out at me: Indiana, CIM, Oberlin, Carnegie-Mellon, Peabody (oddly enough), U of Michigan...places places places. Now I just have to scrape together the money to get airline tickets.
Now about that Chemistry exam...I really should review that stuff and read ahead for class...which starts in half an hour...so...tata.
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