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Mendy Smith

Celebrate Classical Music

August 6, 2012 at 1:28 AM

Each and every summer, I go to music (not band) camp. Each summer I meet up with folks, mostly my senior, and play chamber music, often times well into the late late late evening.

This year, I signed up to play many pieces of music, including the one below... Schubert's Quintet.


When I was traveling regularly by car up north, I listened to the Schubert quartets and quintets often. Often enough that I learned all of the parts by ear.

This afternoon while practicing, I had the whole quintet playing along with me in my mind - an imaginary quintet. I could vividly hear the 1st violin melody and the harmonization with the celli and 2nd violin. I found myself looking to my left and right, giving and taking queues to musicians that were only in my mind. Was this how Mozart, Bach or Beethoven was thinking when composing their works?

This was incredibly helpful when practicing the movement in the video below, especially when considering that it is played at 200 bpm per quarter note - not bad until you hit the triplets.

In a week, I'll be playing this piece and many more with friends I only see once a year. And somehow, almost magically, it will seem like we have rehearsed together for months.

That is the beauty of classical music. No matter how far apart or infrequently you play with others, it all comes together at the end to make a beautiful thing.

From Laurie Niles
Posted on August 6, 2012 at 6:07 PM
One of the most gratifying experiences in life, for me, is to finally play a piece that I already have in my heart from much listening. I've learned a lot of music simply from playing it, without knowing it beforehand, but to have a whole symphony or quartet already in your head, then to play it at last -- what joy! And the music has a new dimension every time you recreate it as a live experience, depending ont he various other musicians who make this music come alive together with you.
From Sam Rubin
Posted on August 6, 2012 at 7:53 PM
I've read your blogs for a long time but just made an account, just wanted to say I really love your writing and it always brightens my day to hear from another Violists. -Sam
From Tom Holzman
Posted on August 7, 2012 at 1:43 PM
Mendy - sounds like you had a very good experience. I am not sure whether you would have fit in as well at band camp, although they could have used your talents and expertise. Besides, after what we heard about band camp in the movie, American Pie, . . . .

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