Printer-friendly version
Mendy Smith

Brandenburg Bash 1.1.11

January 3, 2011 at 2:27 AM

In a clubhouse near downtown Houston, nearly 30 musicians gather on New Years Day to play through not one, but all six of the Brandenburg concertos.  For me, it was my first.  For a select few, a tradition spanning decades.

The violists were naturally attracted to one corner of the room to set our cases and warm up and high-five each other (what we normally do when there are more than two of us in any given space at the same time).  The cellists made camp next to us, while the violinists setup in the main hall, their cases lining one wall.  The odd wind players setup where they sat.

We started with #4, then #2 (solo played by violinist Susan Jeter - hats off to a great performance!).  And at long last, #6.  We violists went to get our personal copies of #6 as the violinists cleared the stage and arranged ourselves in a semi-circle facing the cellists.  It was the only concerto played sans conductor.  After picking a tempo, the 1sts gave the opening notes and off we went.  What an experience!  6 violas, 6 cellos, a bass and harpsichord in lower register bliss.

After a break, we played #3, #5 (solo violin played by may stand partner on my violin) and then #1.  One of the violists concocted a "Violin piccolo" for #1 from a full sized violin (he plays a 18" viola!) using viola and guitar strings.  He dubbed it a Bb violin.  

I could not think of a better way of starting off the new year.


From Susan Jeter
Posted on January 3, 2011 at 3:14 AM

Thanks Mendy! I had a blast!

I enjoyed listening to #6 while noshing...


This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine