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Mendy Smith

Bruch - The Final Chapter

May 8, 2007 at 5:46 AM

Things are so crazy at work these days, I'm having a difficult time carving out a half-hour each day during the week to practice. In 2 weeks the orchestra will be on summer break after our final season concert, which will give me several more hours a week to practice pieces for personal pleasure. By July, the Oracle implementation will be over which will give me back a few more hours of practice time. Right now "laundry day" (Sunday) is my most productive practice time.

After almost a few months of studying the Bruch Romanze, I am on the final page. When I first started this piece at the recommendation of other violists lurking on this site, I thought - this is easy! Then came the realization "Hey, this whole section is supposed to be played on the D string! That's like 5th to 7th position!" Later, I was gently told that I'm supposed to be playing almost the entire piece with a vibrato going. What once seemed so simple at the start became a technical challenge.

I am now on the 4th and final page, having managed the higher positions on a 16" behemoth, and at producing a decent sounding vibrato on anything a quarter note or longer on the previous 3 pages (learning to produce a vibrato started on this piece!). The first two lines on the fourth page are giving me some troubles. "Why Oh Why" notate a C# and B-natural as a D-flat and C-flat? The key signature for that section only has a B-flat! This is almost as seeing a B# for the first time ever, that at inital appearances seems to be one-half of a note than the lowest note you can play on the viola, until you realize that it indeed IS the open Cing!!!! ::::sigh::::

In a month or so, Bruch will go into "maintenance mode" (aka - self study & practice) and Hoffmeister's Viola Concerto in D-Major will get some intense study. I've tried this piece on my own a few times and it seems simple enough - for now. I am assuming after the first few weeks (or less) studying this piece with my teacher I will discover similar challenges as I'm finding in Bruch.

From Albert Justice
Posted on May 9, 2007 at 2:16 AM
Well, the Oracle shouldn't have as many surprises! ;)....

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