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Karen Allendoerfer


August 14, 2007 at 11:37 AM

Last night, after a week of bad practicing, desultory practicing, and not practicing the violin, I started to form a theory of violin as kryptonite. For me, that is.

My viola experience has been almost all positive, from the way my instrument sounds to the fun performing at the farmer's market. With the viola, I'm focused and I make progress. It's stress relief to play it. The sound is soothing under my ear and makes me happy. On the viola, I have long strings of unbroken practice: 21 days, 35 days, 18 days straight. With the violin, it's 1 day, then it's 1 day again a few days later.

I have some stressful stuff going on at work and with my parents, and I take my violin out to practice, and music is not therapeutic. Not stress relief at all. I'm not a happy camper. The sound of the violin is getting on my last nerve--eeeeek, eeeeek, eeeeek, screech, screech, screech. I was feeling really good about my violin sound a couple of weeks ago, ordered some strings and a new chin rest that I liked, but I seem to have lost that momentum again.

And now my good friend the viola is annoyed that I left him in the case for all that time while he had to listen to me murder the Four Seasons and Puccini. Screech, screech, screech. He wants to play Puccini himself.

I'm going to let him.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on August 14, 2007 at 2:00 PM
Karen, how interesting! Oh, dear, I think the writing is on the wall. Your true love calls.

Can we still make viola jokes around you? : )

From Anne Horvath
Posted on August 14, 2007 at 2:19 PM
Terez is right...the C String is calling you...

On the flip side, everybody has lousy practice weeks, or shameful practice weeks, or no practice weeks, so maybe that is it.

From Yixi Zhang
Posted on August 14, 2007 at 2:45 PM
I see a triangle – Karen, uh oh. ;-)
From Albert Justice
Posted on August 14, 2007 at 4:35 PM
Sounds like time to zen out and take control to me. I'll do good to play a little violin, but you make viola sound compelling.

Get off Karen's back you ole funk-monkey devil. Back! BACK!!!!

Now, you may take back your focus and enthusiasm for both.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on August 14, 2007 at 7:28 PM
I advise you not to give up forever on playing your violin. Just put it aside until it calls you irresistibly to come back. Meanwhile, keep playing your viola and loving it.
From Bill Busen
Posted on August 15, 2007 at 12:57 AM
I bet the Puccini your viola wants to play is Suor Angelica. The violas really carry that opera.
From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on August 15, 2007 at 10:14 AM
No, I'm not going to give up playing the violin, I'm just going to put it away for now like Pauline says. I still have hopes of playing the Bach double in church in the fall. Fellow v.commie Jennifer Warren arranged it for violin and viola and sent me the part, and my professional violist friend wants to play the viola part. That's fine with me, maybe I'll have my violin bow rehaired by then.

But as far as lessons, orchestra, etc., I think I only have time for one instrument. The real kryptonite is trying to spread oneself too thin.

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on August 15, 2007 at 11:25 AM
Bill, do you mean that Angelica's sister is named Anna Viola? Or is there actually a good viola part in that opera? I was just researching it, and hadn't known it's part of a trio of Puccini operas. I've played violin in the pit orchestra for university productions of the other two (Il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi), but they didn't perform Suor Angelica as part of the set.
From Bill Busen
Posted on August 15, 2007 at 11:04 PM
Yes, the viola part often has the melody in the most intense and emotional parts of the opera. It's very surprising that your group did Trittico without Angelica - all three productions I've seen over several decades omit Il Tabarro only.

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