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 v.com 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.
Thanks Mendy! I had a blast!
I enjoyed listening to #6 while noshing...
This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine