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jennifer steinfeldt  warren

Giving a little TLC to one's instruments.

January 17, 2007 at 7:23 AM

I am so pleased and excited tonight about both my violin and viola. They are reacting well to the minor (or major) adjustments and changes.

I recorded the inner movements of Bach Cello Suite no. 1 tonight just to hear the viola, using the Coda bow, post bridge sanding and fitting (drastic amount of bridge removed, I think), a suitable set of strings for the instrument, finally, new rosin, and a good healthy dose of greediness and hunger to play all night long. I didn't record the violin because I'm focusing on orchestra music and my solo piece, which isn't at any stage worthy of sharing with anyone. :)

The Bach Suite no. 1 was never formally studied. I used it as my introduction to the viola for the few months with the new instrument. But the movements fell comfortably into my evening tonight.

Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Negative or positive. In terms of "before and after", a "before" is on here in a past blog somewhere. Bach Suite no.3, prelude.

ANYWAY. The viola practice session for tonight vs. last week is like night and day. Hot and cold. Frustrated wailing and knashing of teeth Jennifer vs. mile-a-minute happy Jennifer (pulling out all sorts of etudes and pieces and exercises to try out).

The total bliss was this: after two hours of playing Bach (including the chaconne and other violin Bach), arpeggios, etudes...NO PAIN!! No total hand/wrist/arm/back exhaustion!!!

Note to self. Procrastination in the area of instrument adjusting, fitting, repairing, and upkeep is cause of more agony than is readily apparant or obvious. Spending a little money is a very worthy investment in health, happiness, career advancement, and self esteem. :)

The strings were so high above the fingerboard and the so tight...My poor bows were the scapegoat for so long. Easy mistake to make, given the aural cues sweeping ears and brain.

Whew. My violin is making me very happy as well. Switching to the silver Obligato D and G, and gold E.... and to a soft rosin (Thomastic), along with invisible and unknown variables...my violin is sounding and playing in a way that makes me want to play more and more. It could be v.comm's suggestions on left hand positioning and thumb placement...

K. Posting the audio. And then going to sleep so I don't edit it away into the abyss after thinking about it. :)

Sals,
Jennifer Warren

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on January 17, 2007 at 3:30 PM
Jennifer--

Wow! Cool! Thanks for posting the audio. The only other interpretations of these movements I have heard are one from Sergei Istomin (on cello) and Patricia McCarty on viola. All are great, but so different from each other.

I "recorded" myself on Tuesday too, playing the Courante, the movement I'm hoping to perform in March, using the movie feature of my digital camera, but I don't have any real recording equipment.

One thing I really like about your interpretation is that it's "round." You make the long(er) notes sing. My rendition was, I decided, too "square." I took it at a faster tempo than you did, and I didn't use enough vibrato. For performance, I may or may not stick with the faster tempo (it's pretty close to McCarty's) but I also liked hearing it a touch more relaxed the way you played it, and maybe I need to put in some serious practice time at that tempo, regardless, to help round it out and get rid of any hint of "plowing through the notes" (you didn't sound like that at all, but I do).

Another question, where and how did you come up with the ornamentations (trills, grace notes, etc.)? McCarty uses some too, which I like and was just thinking of adopting. For example, just before the final chord she plays a little series of grace notes, above, below, before landing on the last note. She also adds trills on long notes, and I noticed you did as well (but in different places). My edition (Schirmer, the cheapest I could find on the internet) doesn't have any of these and I'd definitely like to incorporate them into performance. Do you have a different edition of the piece, or did you just feel comfortable making them up?

From Emily Liz
Posted on January 17, 2007 at 4:00 PM
That is really awesome!!! Congratulations! (And I'm not just "saying that", either.) Good job.
From jennifer steinfeldt warren
Posted on January 17, 2007 at 7:50 PM
Thank you...and thank you!

Karen, I looked at my versions. The one I played off of last night was photocopied from a friend, so I'm not sure of the edition. I think Peters...on the first page is says "transcribed and edited by Simon Rowland-Jones. The other version I have is the Ricordi, transcribed by Bruno Giuranna. It has some trills, but not as many. The (Peters?) has more trills than I played. Honestly, I kind of played some and not others, according to how it felt when I got there. I am usually more organized than that, but I was just playing through for fun, so...

On a lot of Bach's Sarabands I like to do a mordent before the last note, if they are octaves especially.

Wish I could be more specific!I may have made one or two up, I'll have to go back and listen to it with the part in front of me.

Thanks for your comments!
Sincerely,
Jennifer

p.s. I found a rendition of the Bach Suites on viola that is absolutely gorgeous. I have been listening to it over and over for days. It is on Naxos Library. The violist is Rivka Golani. That might have influenced tempi a bit. She's amazing.

From John Chew
Posted on January 18, 2007 at 12:00 AM
I really enjoyed listening to this! Thank you for posting it!
From Albert Justice
Posted on January 19, 2007 at 11:24 AM
Jennifer, I enjoyed your playing.... I'm sort of new to violin, and listening to your mp3 somehow, let me understand some dynamics I'm working through.

But also, your playing itself is nice---clean.....

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