Spurred by the blog on Mischa Elman's aniversary, I listened to some of his recordings and it struck me that perfect as his intonation is, his playing was music first and technique second. You can hear his soul from his music - a sensation I rarely if ever get from current masters or indeed few other players.
A few I get the connection but don't really take to the outcome (Kreisler for example; I used to connect with Ferras but seem to have out grown him) while others I only connect with rarely - Heifetz would certainly be in that catagory, but mostly I find that he is technique-dominant and I have to struggle to find the man. BTW its not that I hanker back necessarily to pre-Heifetz playing (though it seems there was more soul there) since I also connect with the understated and honest Grumiaux.
So I was wondering why this level of communication is rare - and so much so now. Is it possible that our emphasis on technique has actually strangled violinistic expression? Are we more concerned about avoiding errors than making beautiful and connecting sounds? And I don't buy the argument that better technique will just make you capable of a broader range of better playing. Perhaps a good analogy is an opera singer singing popular music - something is just amiss.
Maybe there should be two schools of violin training - one technique dominant (which is what we currently have) and the other (and maybe more than one other) musicality dominant where the techincal training is matched to what you really have to say (if that makes sense)? I'm not proposing teaching bad technique of course but a school where the main emphasis is the preservation of the individuals expression.
Or maybe I'm just babbling!
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