That Sarah Chang sure can play

March 8, 2007 at 06:05 PM · We just had our first rehearsal tonight of the Sibelius with her... wow.

One thing people may not realize is that, at a rehearsal, the usual procedure is to play through a movement, then go back and work on spots; then play through the next movement and work on spots; then play through the NEXT movement and work on spots. The soloist often has to play passages over and over again so the orchestra can get their act together. (Or sometimes it's so the conductor can figure out what the soloist is doing...)

Basically tonight she played the entire Sibelius TWICE, except for the 1st mvt. cadenza, and kicked butt all the way through. Very impressive.

Replies (89)

March 8, 2007 at 06:34 PM · She could probably play Sibelius in her sleep.

March 8, 2007 at 06:40 PM · I love her recording of Sibelius, and would love to see her play it live!

March 8, 2007 at 08:39 PM · Well Sarah is quite good violinist but not one of the best out there..and personally I have to mention that from female violinists I far prefer Anne Sophie Mutter ...

I have nt listen too much of Chang although watching the video of Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy I didnt like her last movement and I didnt like her Introduction and Tarantelle too..I liked though her Vitalli's Chaconne (always after Heifetz and Oistakh ones ..)

Mihalis

March 8, 2007 at 09:00 PM · ...she did play Sibelius not a long time ago in Montreal...she had a hard time both nights and the reviews were not good...I only attended a few of her concerts ( Paganini when she was 14) and my impression was not favorable, even during those days...Maybe she was not at the top of her shape...I dont know...

March 8, 2007 at 09:28 PM · yea I saw her Sibelius last year with the MSO. You can tell she plays it easily, but it wasn't my cup of tea. She's very nice though, and she says she doesn't practice.

March 8, 2007 at 09:31 PM · Thanks for an insider's perspective. I've been to open rehearsals with star violinists but it's the closed ones where the interesting things happen...although in this case, it appears that the interesting thing was that NOTHING happened!

March 8, 2007 at 10:36 PM · Anne Sophie Mutter was better in her young days. She played in a straight forward manner. Now she is "adding" all sorts of agogic mannerisms in her playing - awful!

As for Sarah Chang, 1 of her most wonderful CD tracks is Gershwin-Heifetz It Ain't Neccesarily So - beats most players anytime, including the 50-year old Perlman on EMI too. Check that out! Why? She's just so into the "swing" of that piece and her rubato just seems so natural.

March 9, 2007 at 12:38 AM · i saw her play the sibelous last year, it was amazing, i would love to see her play again

March 9, 2007 at 12:42 AM · Ha. I misread what you wrote. n/m.

March 9, 2007 at 03:21 AM · Interesting Mihail, I always thought the opposite of the two. I can't stand mutter's excessive use of rubbato and i prefer almost every recording of sarah's to anne.

Anyway, please tell us how the concert goes...most violinists perform much better and with more..electricity for a lack of a better word when an audience is in tow.

March 9, 2007 at 03:27 AM · Yea she is amazing to watch. Such great tone and sound she produces! It seems like she never plays badly ever..

March 9, 2007 at 03:38 AM · I honestly do not know how anyone can put down any of the players mentioned! Man, the people mentioned here are some of the best players to ever play!

As for Sara Chang, I heard her play four times this year from back stage; one of my best friends was subbing with the phil. for the week. She was amazing every night. I really think she is one of the best to ever play. But of course I would not argue anyone who prefers someone like Mutter better. When players play this well it’s a matter of which you like best, not who is best.

For me she is in the class of Perlman; I love her tone, she is a very aggressive player, and I love the way she phrases things. One of my favorites!

March 9, 2007 at 03:42 AM · Patrick, I agree with you to a certain extent. In her earlier years Mutter was very orthodox in her approach, and played like she was very well schooled. Anyone by the way know who Mutter studied with? As far as her new (senza vibrato for an entire phrase) style, I'm not quite sure about it.

March 9, 2007 at 04:05 AM · Greetings,

she studied with a German lady called I think Ady Stucke. I`ll check it out for you. That lady was a student of Flesch. ASM went to he r on the recommendation of Henryk Szeryng a lot of teachers were reportedly afraid of taking on the level of prodigious talent she displayed as a young girl. I`m not sure I quite belive this though.. I wonder if they were just afraid of Karajan?

Cheers,

Buri

Mihail, I am a `quite good violinst.` Sarah Chang is genuine talent whatever reservations one might have about what she does with it, if any.;)

March 9, 2007 at 04:20 AM · I doubt that's true... there's been many highly gifted prodigies and the great teachers have no hesitated in taking them.

March 9, 2007 at 07:15 AM · exactly nate! I loved mutter's beethoven with karajan as well as her bruch and Mendelssohn, but I heard more recent performances of those concerti, and i just couldn't stand how much 'artistic freedom' she exercised...don't get me wrong, Mutter has great tone and technique...i just don't like her interpretations (especially her beethoven and mozart stuff...the classical era).

The thing was Sarah is that she is a very aggressive player...she has all the technique in the world and just phrases simplistically, which a lot of people find very "unromantic" and "wild" playing. I on the other hand love how she interprets music and is just so exciting to listen to and watch.

Imo, I think sarah has become less aggressive over the years. Ever since she turned around 20-21, i noticed that her playing has become more "horizontal" instead of "vertical" (in terms of attack).

March 9, 2007 at 01:35 PM · Guys I didnt mean that Chang isnt good ...

of course she is .... But in that movement of Carmen Fantasy video she was actually "scratching" the violin (of course i can not play better, just its my view)

BUT MUTTER is awesome for me ...people say she uses to much vibrato..well its her style..and she focuses VERY MUCH while playing if u see her videos ...I have to say that Zigeunerweisen by Mutter was awesome..I have listened it by many violinists especially by my favourite Perlman BUT when MUTTER plays it i am melting... (although she has not the perfect left hand pizzicatos) ...

and by the way please dont say that CHang is compared to Perlman !! Perlman is a phenomenon (a God for me)..he plays sooo effortless and makes the sound so seducing ... his vibrato his glissandos everything ....

Mihalis

March 9, 2007 at 02:43 PM · I agree with you Mihail: ...not of the same class as Mutter and Perlman. Mutter is an outstanding and phenomenal violinist ( whatever you like her interpretations or not) She takes risks!!! and does not sound like anyone else. and long passages senza vibrato are absolutely beautiful, and you need to be in total control of the instrument to be able to achieve it the way she does...Nothing is disturbing with Sarah, that is her main problem...the same applies to Midori.Musically speaking, they never "exploded"...everything is well calculated and predictable...Kremer, who has a very sophisticated musical intelligence, but not the natural talent of Chang and Midori, will be considered with Mutter among the greatest violinist of all times, because both (Kremer and Mutter) took risks and focused on music and originality in interpretation.Midori and Chang are secured artists and they play "safe"...

March 9, 2007 at 03:38 PM · I don't think Sarah Chang plays "safe..." but that's just me. Just because her playing doesn't disturb me doesn't mean she's boring. I don't really want to be highly disturbed!

March 9, 2007 at 03:15 PM · Anne-Sophie Mutter started playing the violin at age 5. Erna Honigberger, a pupil of Carl Flesch, was her first teacher. She was half Jewish and had come to the village in the Black Forest, where Mutter grew up, from Berlin because of the war. Erna Honigberger died, when Mutter had studied with her for four years. At that time, ASM was without teacher for nine months. Then she played for Henryk Szeryng and asked him to recommend a teacher. He suggested Aida Stucki, a close friend of him and another pupil of Carl Flesch, who lived in Switzerland which was one hour by train for ASM. There she went for many years. She had no other permanent violin teacher. By the way, Mutter never attended a public school. Instead, she received private lessons with examinations twice a year. I wonder how this may have influenced her socialization and whether this may explain some of the arrogance, a few people hear in her playing (especially rhythmically) and in her words and behavior. However, I do not want to insult ASM fans. Without doubt she is a great violinist. The rest may be personal taste.

March 9, 2007 at 04:08 PM · ...safe does not mean in a technical way...but that she is quite conventional, both as a musician and as a violinist...We are truly far away from the ideal of a "dominant and convincing figure" such as Ginette Neveu, for instance...The surrounding "aura " is simply not there.

March 9, 2007 at 04:27 PM · That is subjective.

March 9, 2007 at 04:37 PM · Patrick said "Imo, I think sarah has become less aggressive over the years. Ever since she turned around 20-21, i noticed that her playing has become more "horizontal" instead of "vertical" (in terms of attack)."

That's a good point you brought up. By "horizontal" I believe you mean starting attacks more from the string?

March 9, 2007 at 04:38 PM · I agree with Marc in that Mutter has special sound...when u listen to her u know its MUTTER ..the same happens with Perlman, Heifetz, Rabin, Menuhin etc

When Chang plays however, personally I do not recognise her unless someone tells me ...its just a good violin like many others too...

Mihalis

March 9, 2007 at 04:50 PM · Amy:not at all...Neveu is an historic and legendary figure...and her Sibelius ,recorded in one session during a very busy tour of UK in 1946 is still considered, after 50 years, as a model of interpretation , and a reference...At the end of his life, Menuhin published a wonderful book about the violin, and featured ( with pictures and texts) the greatests violinists of the century...you should read what he says about Neveu.

March 9, 2007 at 05:19 PM · http://www.googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=Sarah+Chang+violin&word2=Roby+Lakatos+violin

March 9, 2007 at 05:23 PM · Bit of a rant here...

Does EVERY discussion on V.com have to turn into an argument about whether Violinist A is better than Violinist B? I'm all for sharing opinions about differences in style, technique, etc., but it seems like we just hear the same kinds of things over and over, and frankly, it gets kind of boring. We all have different opinions, and we always will.

These violinists under discussion are way better than almost all of us, or else WE'D be out there touring the world as performers instead of sitting around at our computers having pointless arguments that don't go anywhere. How about simply choosing to be inspired and leave it at that?

(Note: I'm not advocating censorship, and I hope this doesn't make me a target for a "free speech" flame war. Bruce wanted to share a great experience working with one of the great masters of the violin, and it would be wonderful if such a positive thread could STAY that way!)

March 9, 2007 at 05:22 PM ·

March 9, 2007 at 05:26 PM · :)

March 9, 2007 at 05:38 PM · Well ranted, Karin!

March 9, 2007 at 05:52 PM · Ok, now that that's over, who's better; Sarah Chang or Anne Sophie Mutter?

March 9, 2007 at 06:07 PM · Marc, "Amy:not at all...Neveu is an historic and legendary figure...and her Sibelius ,recorded in one session during a very busy tour of UK in 1946 is still considered, after 50 years, as a model of interpretation , and a reference..."

Actually Marc, I would have to agree with Amy. You probably read a book written by someone that Ginette Neveu's Sibelius recording is a model of interpretation (which it is not I might add - there is no such thing!). You're probably citing that writer's opinion as a fact, and regurgitating it here just as you did when you cited some untruthful things about Heifetz a month ago that I assume you read somewhere.

March 9, 2007 at 06:27 PM · There we go.

March 9, 2007 at 06:52 PM · Yeah Marc was talking about Neveu in another thread... personally I think the idea of definitive recordings is depressing...

March 9, 2007 at 07:12 PM · I did not read a book saying things about Neveu or Heifetz...first time I heard the Sibelius by Neveu, I was 12 years old ( now 48). I do not need to read here and there to make an opinion for myself...The difference between you and me is that I was not raised and educated with the "cult" of any violinist or school and I never believed Steven Staryk or any other teacher that Heifetz was the "goal" to achieve... I think this is being narrow-minded... I knew who were Kreisler, Szigeti,Francescatti, Gigli, Horowitz,and so many others at a very young age...My grand-father heard Huberman, Kreisler and Heifetz in their prime while travelling to the States in between 1918 and 1930...So, there was a lot of discussion about music in the house, not mentionning all the famous musicians ( pianists and violinists) that were visiting on a regular basis our family and that I had the opportunity to heard live...

I read dirty things being said here about many violinists, but strangely, when it concerns certain ones, being trained in New_york to be more precise, it is taboo!!!

You are wrong about Neveu and her Sibelius...Like Heifetz, she pioniered the work ,imposed it in concert halls at times it was considered a second rate concerto , following Maud Powell who first played it in America...and her rendition is still one of the best today.And I would add,that nothing indeed is definitive.

Marc

March 9, 2007 at 08:48 PM · To Mihail and Marc, you voiced your opinion, and here's mine: I find that Sarah Chang's interpretation of the Sibelius is one of the best out there. I also agree that Neveu is one of the greatest to best violinists to have ever lived, but I also see that with Chang as well...for different reasons.

Lots of people think that Chang shouldn't be considered among the likes of perlman or mutter, but lots of people also believe that she deserves to be considered along those lines.

And all of those opinions are subjective...which in reality, is an important aspect in the violin world. Marc, Mihail, there are obviously tons of music lovers in the world who agree with your ideas, but just as obvious is the fact that Sarah still contiues to captivate and sell-out crowds (which she's been able to do for almost 20 years...and she's going to turn 27 this year!) to masses of people.

For me personally, Sarah comes as the total package. Not only is she an excellent player, but she is a wonderful ambassador of the violin. In every interview, meet and greet, signing, etc, she is always so gracious and fun to be around which the public and media also love.

(Oh, and Marc, I can name a dozen of different reviews about Mutter and Pearlman that were not as good as you would think...everyone has off days even if you're perlamn or chang.)

March 9, 2007 at 08:48 PM · She sure can play. End

March 9, 2007 at 08:50 PM · Yes, and that was the point of this thread. =)

Hey Bruce, did the concert happen yet? Please update us on how it went!

March 9, 2007 at 09:08 PM · i do not know mutter well enough to say anything. but to compare chang and perlman at this time, when chang is still evolving and perlman pretty much in form, may be premature (note, i did not say immature).

i think both artists have tremendous charisma on stage (and possibly off stage, too; i certainly buy that with perlman), a package more born with than learnt. a little unfair to other equally talented artists, but that is the name of the game. more often than not, it is not how you play but how others receive you.

i enjoy very much reading the posters' critique of any well known artists which is educational to me. unfortunately, with most of you, i have no idea how you play, which is too bad.

March 9, 2007 at 09:10 PM · ...yes ,time will be the judge.

March 9, 2007 at 09:15 PM · along with people like you, marc, who has been around enough to provide both cross sectional and longitudinal perspectives, which to me is more convincing.

March 9, 2007 at 09:23 PM · Have a nice weekend Al, I am heading to Montreal to hear James Ehnes playing the Mendelsohn ( he is performing next tuesday...)

Marc

March 9, 2007 at 09:27 PM · have a good trip and thanks for the insights.

March 9, 2007 at 09:34 PM · At their level, arguing about who plays better or interprets better is pointless. As mentioned above both qualities are very subjective. If you've had an "emotional" day whoever plays with emotion willlight your fire. If you have had enough emotional experiences for awhile than the clinical interpretation will get you excited. I don't believe there ever has been or will be one violinist, or any musician, who is truly the absolute best. Everyone is different and at their level of playing they're all dang good. Leave it at that and just enjoy the music.

March 9, 2007 at 09:44 PM · but for the boys, they can't do that, it is a hormonal thing!

March 9, 2007 at 10:07 PM · Hmph. I'm a mom to two toddlers...being ignored is par for the course. Ah, well, thanks for the support anyway, Eric and Ray. :)

March 9, 2007 at 10:36 PM · I agree with Karen. The whole 'my fiddler is better than yours' arguments devolve very quickly into pointless arguments.

March 9, 2007 at 11:02 PM · "Hmph. I'm a mom to two toddlers...being ignored is par for the course"

karin, i disagree, with all the respect for a mom to 2 toddlers, knowing what my wife had gone through, taking care of everything in sight at home AND doing a great job helping people at work.

until your post, with a reasonable observation and request, the direction of the discussion is indeed...mine is better, no mine is better. as a mother to 2 toddlers, you probably have seen enough of that:) the fact that it has since changed is a reflection that your request makes a lot of sense and people have listened.

my comment... that the boys just can't help it,,,is my observation that some males, with possibly a bigger ego and smaller head, tend to engage in this type of discussion format, with myself being a prime example of that. that is why i use the term,,,, boys.

having said that, i think it is ok by me that others share their feelings toward others' music, with the understanding that feelings can be positive, negative or neutral. i do find it funny when artists get ranked because in any ranking there is only one number one and no one likes to play second fiddle.

my personal feeling on this is that i wish the artists give each other more support and less criticism because it provides a bigger playground for everyone. the negative spins limits growth and the classical industry cannot afford to shrink more.

ps, par for the course for 99% of the people out there is actually a great thing, lol.

cheers.

March 9, 2007 at 11:05 PM · Bartok's comment ("Competition is for horses, not artists.") seems particularly apt here. Would anyone with, say, 2 or more children get into a discussion of which child is "the best"? I don't think so.

Every human being is one-of-a-kind. So is every artist. This isn't "Violin Idol."

Cordially, Sandy

:) Smile; life's too short not to.

March 9, 2007 at 11:16 PM · sandy, imagine next year they open the Indy competition with that line and declare everyone a winner,,,eh, i mean, a horse:)

March 9, 2007 at 11:16 PM · I'm all for that! (Wouldn't that screw them up?)

:)

March 9, 2007 at 11:24 PM · every participant gets 30k, everyone gets a strad to play for couple years. sandy, see you there:)

problem is: the money part can be arranged, but where do we find all those strads!

March 10, 2007 at 01:01 AM · From Dion Wright

Posted on March 9, 2007 at 3:36 PM (MST)

I agree with Karen. The whole 'my fiddler is better than yours' arguments devolve very quickly into pointless arguments.

Just to be disagreeable, I'd have to say I don't agree with this Dion. I think it's more accurate to say that they start off as pointless arguments. :)

Neil

March 10, 2007 at 04:22 PM · Patrick (& whoever else cares):

Concert was last night. At first I thought she sounded nervous at the beginning, but then I decided it was nervous energy (not the same thing). She kicked butt yet again. There were moments when I was busy or I couldn't hear her from where I was sitting (clarinet, bassoon and timpani are all directly behind me... those of you who sit in the back of the 1sts or 2nds know what it's like having the percussion driving a spike into the back of your head... this is probably pleasanter, but the same basic idea: you can see the soloist, but can't hear them), but overall it sounded like it was all there.

A couple comments:

1) she broke a LOT of bow hairs in the rehearsals. Only one in the concert though, toward the end of the 3rd mvt. :-P Pardon my ignorance, but why do some people break them and others don't? Some of the soloists with the biggest sounds don't break bow hairs all the time. I'm guessing it's not a question of bow pressure but more a question of how that pressure is applied? From where I sat, it looked like she played sort of on the edge of the hair (bow tilted away from her, so the wood is tilted toward the scroll) -- how does that affect things? I've noticed a lot of people do that, too. Well anyway--

2) Again, this is something I've noticed with a lot of soloists on every instrument, especially if it's a piece they have been playing for ever: it seems like they just speed right through the cadenzas. This piece, the Mendelssohn, and the Tchaikovsky come to mind: they all have 1st mvt. cadenzas that are full of opportunities for dramatic pauses (not that you have to take forever), and complicated double-stoppy/contrapuntal passages that the soloist will whip off so fast that it's hard to even hear what was going on, even if you know the piece. (Same thing tends to happen in the Grieg, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov piano concerti, and probably others.) On the one hand you have to admire how they're able to toss off such difficult music, but OTOH I find myself wishing that they would linger longer over them, for musical reasons.

You can hear this concert on the web at www.kpbx.org on Monday night (March 12) at 7pm Pacific time. I heard that we were not allowed to record the Sibelius (sometimes soloists won't let the performance be broadcast), so I don't know if it will be on. You could still tune in to hear the cell phone ringing between movements of the Rautavaara "Cantus Arcticus" though. (whole other thread there, don't get me started...)

March 10, 2007 at 05:04 PM · According to the KPBX upcoming Program Listings the Sibelius VC is off, unfortunately.

FMF

March 10, 2007 at 05:43 PM · Neil, you're right! I was just trying to be polite about it.

ha, picture me being polite at this late stage in the game, after all the people i've offended on v.com...but i digress.

misterbrucie, the problem of breaking bow hairs happens when players angle their bow on the string. Players who play more to the flat of the hair and aim their bows perpendicular to the string don't have that problem nearly as much as players who angle their bows and hit the strings with one side of the bow or another.

March 10, 2007 at 06:21 PM · I saw Sara play the Sibelius with the Reno Philharmonic last Sunday 3/4. If she didn't play aggressively, I don't know what aggressive is! Not only did she attack the violin but she stomped her feet and whipped her bow in the air so violently that I thought for sure she would break the tip on the stage floor!

Once I got use to her "style", I was mesmerized by her technique and passionate playing. She seemed to just become a part of the concerto wearing it like a cloak which she would wrap around her and yet at times fling it out.

I worked on the Sibelius this year and had listened quite a lot to Midori's and Mutter's recordings. How can one say who is "best"?, just that they are different. Midori so technically perfect, Sophie so gloriously passionate and Sara, so intense and angst ridden. Thank God for such gloriously different genius interpretations of music for us to contemplate! I only wish I had 1/10 of their talent and dedication to devote to my playing.

With humble regards,

C-

March 10, 2007 at 07:40 PM · From: Skowronski: Classical Recordings

To: Mister Brucie/BRUCE BODDEN

Dear Mr. Bodden: We just couldn't allow this opportunity to pass re (i.e.,) STEAM ROLLING CADENZAS!

Please refer to Mr. Skowronski's 'observations' (in this instance) re 'terribly insensitive cadenza renderings' as exposed in a Master Class article in the March 2007 issue of STRINGS magazine. The cadenza commented upon is from Mendelssohn's E Minor violin concerto. The storyline is presented ONLINE so it is easily accessible with NO price tag attached.

We submit a pull-out quote from the STRINGS article: "It's a classy concerto," says Skowronski, "or it should be. Unfortunately, it is often a victim of speed and lack of refinement."

Summarily, we fervently thank you for offering a 'flute player's' most valid opinions as to some of the really poor fiddling habits that we all witness from more than just a few of our highly esteemed colleagues.

Sincerely,

Skowronski: Classical Recordings

March 10, 2007 at 08:45 PM · If there is ONE thing i can NOT stand, it's violinists who do not hold rests for their full value. The rests are just as important as the notes!

grrr.

I'm ready to run outside and flip a car over!

grrr!

Ok, it's not that serious. But you know what i mean...

March 10, 2007 at 09:04 PM · Eh, if it sounds good without rests who gives a damn?

I mean, honestly, music is music. If it's enjoyable, or evokes an emotion, it doesn't matter if the player isn't playing it exactly as it's written.

If you're used to it being played X way, then when a piece is played Y way, of course you think it's odd. But someone who's used to Y way thinks that X way is odd. Which of you are right?

I can assure you that long-dead composers don't care if players play their pieces exactly as written. Dust doesn't have a very complex thought process.

March 10, 2007 at 11:42 PM · So now we have a “rest or no rest-thread”… Not bad at all! Maybe the music, in ideal conditions, should be considered (at least by the interpreter) some sort of “nearby-living being” and given time to breath…? Now I’ve found a new funny joke, trying to imagine the Tzigane’s cadenza or Bartok’s solo sonata w/out rests “because it sounds good…” Any other sugestions, maitre Allègre? I also can’t understand how discussions about diferent recordings are considerated being “a priori” pointless. IMHO the knowledge, intelligence and (why not…?) passion the participants can put in a discussion is, at the end, more important than the subject. And to finish, even if the comparation Chang/Neveu is very (live performance vs. recording ) complex, somebody got the perfect solution in the beginning of this thread: Chang “could probably play Sibelius in her sleep.” And I can’t imagine somebody playing with such abandonment, passion and intensity as Neveu in the Sibelius recording (BTW not my favorite…but I love it also!) being not at least 200% awake!

March 10, 2007 at 11:58 PM · Marc

I love what you've been saying about Neveu. Such an AMAZING stunning player. The instant I heard her recording of the Strauss sonata (2nd mvt specifically) I could feel that "aura" of which you speak. The "aura" that is missing in so many of today's young artists.

And you're right, Powell certainly championed the Sibleius and forged a path that enabled Neveu to have a place with that concerto on the concert stages of America. I wish there was a recording of Powell playing it, she too had extremely charismatic playing, distinguishable even through the poor quality of the few recordings of her that exist.

Preston

March 11, 2007 at 12:11 AM · She recorded Strauss??

March 11, 2007 at 12:31 AM · Yes, Neveu did. I'm not sure how available the recording is. But the Gilmore Music Library at Yale has it. It's enough to make you weak in the knees.

*later*

here: http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=1229954&cart=499392999

March 11, 2007 at 02:11 AM · " Now I’ve found a new funny joke, trying to imagine the Tzigane’s cadenza or Bartok’s solo sonata w/out rests “because it sounds good…”

If it sounds good, then what's the problem?

I'd like a recording of both ways, just to get a nice variety.

March 12, 2007 at 06:10 PM · Preston: thank you so much for your comments. I have the recording of the Strauss sonata as played by Neveu, and recorded in 1938 in Berlin...and the beginning of the second movement describes very well indeed the "aura" I was speaking about, which is something mystical and a rare gift...I can think of Kathleen Ferrier, the famous contralto, who had that kind of aura...

Neveu was only 19 when she recorded the Strauss...the recording is available on EMI along with, Chausson Poème, Ravel's Tzigane, Debussy sonata and Ravel Habanera, all of them being unique interpretations...It is easily available on Amazon ect...

Maud Powell was among the greatest artists and she opened the doors to all woman violinists...When you compare her recordings to those of Ysaïe, Sarasate and Joachim, they sound as good, and I would say, even better...In her days ,she was at the top...but forgotten after the event of Kreisler, and later Heifetz. Naxos reissued her complete recordings, and she deserves to be rediscovered. She also championned not only the Sibelius ( the first version) ,but also works written by Coleridge-Taylor, an African -American. Powell was a truly great star of the violin...

Marc

March 13, 2007 at 03:11 AM · Not only that, but Powell was the first American violinist to tour this country and champion American symphonic activity at a time when America was considered to be a cultural backwater. By the time of Powell's retirement, America was considered to have considerable orchestras, which was not the case at the time Powell started concertizing!

Iwould give a very dear body part to hear Ginette Neveu's Strauss. I love her playing. I can only imagine what she would have done for the Elgar...

I am currently listening to Sarah Chang's Franck/Ravel/Saint Saens sonatas with Lars Vogt. Her tone is glorious on the Franck but i especially like her Ravel. I hope that someday she'll record the Poulenc and Respighi!

March 13, 2007 at 02:04 PM · Dion: The Elgar and the Tschaïkovski were scheduled with Karajan to be recorded on her return from America in 1949, but, sadly...

March 13, 2007 at 11:29 PM · :c(

rest in peace mlle. neveu.

March 13, 2007 at 11:45 PM · Sarah has played Sibelius too many times....since she was Juilliard pre-college.

Sarah started violin at 4 with Mr. Bae who was my former teacher in Korea after I told her father that he would be great for her to start the violin...and Mr. Bae told me Sarah learn to play violin so fast that she finished the level of a normal kid's 3 years work in 6 months.

March 14, 2007 at 12:03 AM · Eun, did you used to teach at EKU? Were you able to do anything interesting there?

March 14, 2007 at 12:06 AM · Dear Jim W. Miller....

How did you know?^^

I left the position 4 years ago...and now I live in Los Angeles....teaching and playing...^^

March 14, 2007 at 12:06 AM · Googled your name and saw all these EKU recital references. I usually find out stuff a day or two late, but not five years :)

March 14, 2007 at 12:02 AM · Dr.Bai,

Did you hear her play at that young age, and if so, how would you describe the maturity of her musicianship over the years? In other words, would you say she grew into her current artistry, or would you say she was one of those lucky souls who 'always had it from day one?'

March 14, 2007 at 12:07 AM · I gave recital with 2 concertos of Shostakovich...violin and viola(cello concerto No.1 transcribed, it was the world premiere.!)^^

March 14, 2007 at 12:09 AM · Sarah was an unique case....but she is having very difficult time thesedays...because of her vibrato problem...she had it for 5-6 years.

March 14, 2007 at 12:11 AM · What kinda problem?

March 14, 2007 at 12:11 AM · Sarah was very talented in many ways in technique and musicianship...but she need to fight against her own problem by herself...which can be so hard...

March 14, 2007 at 12:15 AM · Sarah just released the Shostakovich violin concerto No.1...and if you listen...you can find she is struggling with her vibrato...which is so sad.

March 14, 2007 at 12:32 AM · do you think that's a foundational problem, or is the vibrato issue due to her reaching the 'crisis' age?

March 14, 2007 at 02:19 AM · Sarah Chang doesn't have any problems like us mortals have problems. Personally, I don't care for her playing, but I am 1000% convinced that she uses both her left and right hands in precisely the way she wants to. You just have to appreciate that her command of the violin is just awesome, for the lack of a better word. She likes a very indulgent, bold sound, and she does it on purpose. Besides glitches here and there, Sarah Chang is more or less like those Chuck Norris jokes... she doesn't wear a watch, she decides what time it is.

March 14, 2007 at 03:01 AM · I could not agree with Pieter more, with one major difference; I like her playing a lot; I like the boldness and the indulgent bold sound! But this sound is not for everyone. As I said before, when players are this good there is just who you happen to prefer. For me it is her and another really bold player, Perlman. I also love Aaron Rosand.

And I too am 100% sure that she does not have the problems that the rest of us mortals have! She does have 100% control of the instrument and she can do as she wants, whenever she wants, on the violin. She is that good.

If someone finds her vibrato to be too much, than that is because your taste is not the same as hers, not because she cannot do what she wants with the instrument.

Again personally I like her robust style and I hope she NEVER tames it, but that is just me. But let’s not start thinking that she has vibrato problems. Hell, the woman can play whatever she wants whenever she wants. If we could only play a fraction of what she can play we would be more than happy.

Again, when players get this good it is not about who is best, it is about whom you prefer.

Ray

March 14, 2007 at 03:02 AM · Pieter, I love it! "Sarah Chang is more or less like those Chuck Norris jokes... she doesn't wear a watch, she decides what time it is."

Man, I will have to rip you off on that one, many times! LOL

Love it!

March 14, 2007 at 11:57 PM · Just digressing slightly to go back to what was said a few days ago, it’s interesting that the Sibelius was one of the big concertos most quickly espoused by women soloists. Powell was mentioned, and then there were the early recordings by Bustabo, Ignatius, Neveu and Wicks, each fascinating in its own way. Ignatius was a lesser player but her conception is very rhapsodic and unique. Neveu has many wonderful moments but the performance as a whole (including the interaction with the orchestra) isn’t quite cohesive – although no doubt in my mind she, like Wicks, belongs in the uppermost league. Wicks has it all in this piece. There’s hardly such a thing as a definitive recording, especially of a masterpiece like this, but among those who know it there seems to be pretty much a consensus it’s an absolute must-have. It was released by Biddulph Recordings recently, the CD also includes as remarkable a collection of short pieces as there is, to my mind.

Actually both Neveu and Wicks played the Strauss, and magically, (unfortunately Wicks’s isn’t commercially available); I recently heard an old recording by Berl Senofsky, fantastic and completely different – like late Strauss. But I digress too much.

Best, Nathaniel

March 15, 2007 at 12:57 AM · You're leaving out a very important female figure when discussing Sibelius, and that's Ida Haendal. She received a personal letter from the composer thanking her for her interpretation of his work. That's pretty high praise.

March 15, 2007 at 01:03 AM · One word: Dylanajenson.

March 15, 2007 at 01:28 AM · Yes, Jenson is one of the best, and her recording of this concerto is as good as it gets.

ImHO

March 15, 2007 at 05:35 AM · Chang's vibrato has been suffering?

Geez, what I wouldn't give to have my vibrato suffer too, then.

March 15, 2007 at 08:35 AM · Yes, Haendel was also an important and early Sibelius exponent - I didn't mention her because her recording is from much later. Sibelius extended similar congratulations and invitations to his home to Wicks and Bustabo, (in the latter case I think he had a painting of her put up in his house), and maybe others too, so maybe he was also fond of the allure of young lady interpreters...I've not heard of him extending similar congratulations to, say, Heifetz, Oistrakh or Sitkovetsky. It's interesting that he expressed his pleasure with such totally different performances, it goes to show that all this fuss that's sometimes made about whether such and such semi-quaver has a dot or a line often has little to do with what the composer's message really is. One listens, for example, to Enesco or Bartok playing their own pieces, and they ignore themselves frequently...

Peronally I've never been convinced by Haendel's Sibelius: it has great passages, but also dips in inspiration, and the slow movement just doesn't work for me. Everytime I come back to it, it just feels, as I recall, static. I agree Dylana Jenson is excellent. N.

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