August 2009

My new piece is Liebesleid (Kreisler)

August 10, 2009 19:46

As I said sometime ago, I was looking for a new piece to play. I didn't want another baroque piece, because I'm now polishing the Vivaldi A Minor concerto and like some variety. I think the concerto is overall good, I just need to get more consistent in the first two movements and make the fast arpeggios in the third movement cleaner (yes, the Suzuki version...).

I was wondering in the last post if I could play Thais Meditation, but then for some reason I decided to play Kreisler Liebesleid. It's completely different from the Vivaldi, which is good!

After I started practicing I was surprised that it is not very hard, and that I could play comfortably all the notes (even in the sixth position). That was nice! It's not hard rhythmically and I can practice all the first six positions. Besides, I can focus on my interpretation and vibrato. I plan to play the Liebesfreud after, and I know it's a bit harder, mainly because of the double stops. I am, however, already practicing some double stops etudes to get prepared.

I'm looking forward to start having classes again. I'm trying to prepare a minimum repertoire to play for my new teacher for him/her to see what I can do and what to work on.

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Random thoughts - from positions to festivals, Kayser, and perhaps Thais Meditation?

August 5, 2009 12:06

I still don't have a teacher. Unfortunately I really can't afford one right now, but I intend to start having classes next month or in October. It's not that bad not to have a teacher right now, though, as I (think I) have a solid foundation from when I was younger. At least I think I won't injure myself.

I now moved on to fourth position etudes, which is surprisingly going very well. I don't find it hard to play in tune (at least I think, haha). I still do one exercise a day for second and third positions, because I'm afraid I'll forget which notes are where in the fingerboard if I don't. Anyway, I think I have now (or regained) a reasonable command of the first three positions. I can easily sight read in any of these positions (of course, there's room to improve my shifting).

And then I remembered something funny, at least for me. When I was younger and played for just about an year, I went to a festival to play along with other kids who were also playing Suzuki pieces (not necessarily in the Suzuki regimen). I was in the fourth book back then. For some reason, my teacher decided to let me play many pieces without doing technical etudes, so I was playing some things in third position without ever having done an etude in third position (restez). That changed dramatically when I switched teachers, in the next year.

Anyway, in the festival I remember we opened our books on the Bach Double Concerto, first movement, second violin. I hadn't learn that piece yet, but I still wanted to play along. Then the teacher asked me (and two friends of mine) if we had already played that piece, and I said "no, but no problem, if we find any problem we will just dub". Yes, I said dub but I meant fake, haha. He just laughed and the group (about ten kids) started playing (or struggling to play).

We didn't go much further on the piece, though, I think it was too hard for everyone (the more advanced students were in another group).

I particularly remember how frightened I was about the second position passages in the music. I hadn't learnt second position yet, so it seemed to me impossible to play correctly in second position back then. It's interesting how second position is hard for me, much more than third, fourth and fifth. I don't know, it's just awkward. I think I'm getting into it now, anyway.

Back to the present, I decided to start doing Kayser. The first exercises are not hard, I find them even simple, I could just sight read many of them. It gets interesting afterwards, though. I am just a bit puzzled. I don't have the score here with me now, but I know that some exercises are intended to be played staccato, spiccato, sautillé and so on. Then, I went to youtube to see if I could find people playing those exercises. And surprise, they do play, but almost never staccato, spicatto, sautillé. Almost all of them just play it detaché. I mean, okay, you can try another bowing, but I'm sure most of those exercises are much harder if played with the suggested bowing.

I will play with the suggested bowing anyway, even if it takes much longer to go through all exercises. At least before I start taking classes again.

My edition of the Kayser etudes also includes a prelude before each Kayser etude with simple double stops etudes, which I find particularly useful, and am also doing it.

By the way, I am almost finished with the Vivaldi A Minor concerto - at least, for starters. I will keep on playing it to make it sound better and always fresh. I am not sure about what to play next. I don't want to follow the Suzuki book piece by piece, and I think I could use some other pieces before playing the (entire) Bach Double Concerto. But in Suzuki books the next piece is the Vivaldi G Minor concerto, and I'm not sure I want to stick with Vivaldi forever. I mean, I like it, but I could use some variety. I'm wondering if I could try Thais Meditation - of course, after I have a reasonable command of the fifth position.

I'll think more about it.

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