Heifetz's Barriolage in the Bruch Concerto
In my recent post I have been told over and over again not to imitate Heifetz and everything associated with that. However, I wish to know how he does his Bruch Concerto barriolage, which sounds different. Does he put more pressure on the bow and give it lesser action playing them more like double stop chords? I am just genuinely curious about what he does to produce his unique effect in the passage.
I'm assuming you're talking about the page before the cadenza? Heifetz told my teacher Erick Friedman to do it as chords with a full symphony orchestra because it is so heavily orchestrated there and difficult to hear as written.
You don't have to play completely opposite to Heifetz just to prove a point...
Nate- Thank you for your response. Yes, it is indeed that passage. Are the bowings for the notes (collectively played and broken) the same? Also, the first movement happens to be my region and state audition piece and since you stated that the section was done in chords because of the heavy orchestration, I'm wondering in which way you would suggest the section to be played in for an audition (for factors other than choice and preference).
Hi Erik, no problem! I’m looking at my old part from college. Mr. Friedman had me go into double stops 2 measures or so before the fortissimo. You don’t have to play the whole section in chords. You can use the same exact bowing as printed. For the last measure of that section, before the trill, Mr. Heifetz went back into triplets; 3 notes to the bow and negated the tie over. For the trill he did it in 4 bows (one beat to the bow).
This is an orchestra audition? I'd be inclined to play it as written. Regional/state judges are... not necessarily the best.
Thank you so much for your helpful and detailed responses Nate. I'm sure what you have told me will help me a lot.
Lydia- Yeah, you're right. Those judges determine points strictly based on basic categories and do not care about complexities in playing. thanks for reminding me.
Erik, just go with the Heifetz bowings and you’ll be fine. ;)
Alright, I’ll do it. Seems more fun than the original!
"...difficult to hear as written."
Hey Jeewon Kim,
It's one thing to explain how it was done, quite another to encourage someone else's student to do something, which is far from conventional, on an audition.
Hello Nate, which version of Heifetz are you referring to?
On the one hand, it's really great to hear from Nate how someone like Heifetz would tackle the problem at hand -- and make it work. I wish we had more threads like that. And Nate's account is going to be correct because he studied with Friedman, very likely Heifetz's best student (well, Fodor was pretty awesome too). Great players "cheat" all the time. Violin playing is a puzzle, and there's more than one solution to its many problems. I've turned pages for many a fine accompanist who had no qualms about simplifying the score or doing other clever tricks which made it work better and sound better with the soloist. Of course more so with reductions than with sonatas, because many reductions, frankly, are B.S. But I also agree with Jeewon that if you're auditioning, e.g., with piano accompaniment, then strict adherence to the score seems prudent.
Hi Tim, I was referring to Heifetz’s later recording with the New Symphony of London, which I understand was a all-star pickup group consisting of top London principal players from the LSO, LPO, RPO etc. assembled by Sir Malcolm Sargent. Heifetz also recorded it with the London Symphony Orchestra 10-15 years earlier.
Really Nate, bloviate?
It's interesting that Perlman changes to arpeggiation in a later live performance with Tokyo. (Also interesting that Friedman does play the octave trill in the finale--you don't *have* to follow everything your teacher did for the sake of it. Anyone have Friedman's Bruch/Lalo live recording?)
I made this post because I was curious about the ways the passage could be played. I learned and performed this piece over half a year ago before it was announced as an audition piece. Thus, I was not asking for a way to learn it and my post was solely made because I was interested in the different effects that could be achieved in this passage. This double stop bowing is only a desired effect. I personally think that the Heifetz bowing is more powerful. Others can have disagreements about the artistic style of the Heifetz bowing, but they cannot say that it is cheating, for its designated purpose is for musicality and not for the ease of playing. Again, I was only wondering about how this effect was achieved, and never intended to learn it for the sake of the auditions.
I myself personally find Nate's advice very helpful.
Erik, perhaps you'll be among the first in your generation to reverse the trend. It certainly has to swing the other way at some point. There seems to be a cycle of roughly 50 to 100 years between some form of classicism and romanticism, the classical having to do with form and order, the universal over the individual, and romanticism celebrating the individual and expressions of individuality and identity; there are probably all sorts of parallels between late 19C nationalism and today's rise in populism, for example (history tells us how that trend played out.) Musical trends seem to trail behind other arenas (socio-political, literature, visual arts) by several decades. I hope someone more knowledgeable can tell us more.
‘But given today's artistic climate, the opinions of those who judge you, if I were a student now, I would try to stay true to the intentions of the composer.’
I'm really glad that the word "bloviate" has appeared in this thread because I haven't used that word in a while and I really like it. It has a certain onomatopoetic quality. I probably like the word "bloviate" almost as much as I like bloviating!
Nate, now you're just being silly. Bruch is dead. But he did leave a lot of his intentions for his music behind, encoded in his notation. For the present passage under discussion he told me not to play double stops by writing broken chords.
Can I just mention how much I miss good old-fashioned forum drama? Brightens my day.
Erik Williams, I'm thoroughly enjoying it too. Earlier I had a cappuccino, and now I'm home getting ready for my supper and I'm having a shandy, all the while enjoying a slow-motion ping-pong match of extremely erudite bloviating!
Indeed it is quite an argument. I just wish we respect what is good in each others' views even if we don't agree to some aspects. Thank you Nate and Jeewon for your views on this topic. No need to be offensive to each other. I believe that there is both space for playing in different ways (as long as it isn't outrageous) and playing what the composer wished for.
Yo you all, Bruch just texted me and he said, after noticing all the chaos and anger he has unleashed by that part of his concerto, that he's working on an updated version. The violin solo score for the mentioned passage here is now full silenced. Now a saxo will take over the violin and solo along the orchestra during this passage. Thank you.
Haha. First Movement of the Concerto, Heifetz and the New Symphony of London with Malcom Sargent conducting. I'm pretty sure there are more recordings out there where he does this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWy8iibtd98 passage starts at 4:36 and ends 4:54
Haha Thanks for bringing humour to this discussion Tim. :) As I noted above, I didn’t enter this discussion with the intent to have a debate over authenticity.
Nate, sometimes I wonder at your grasp of the English language.
When a composer does not write double stops somewhere, you don't need to know them personally in order to be sure whether or not they actually intended double stops there. They did not, I think that is plain and simple, after all the composer knows how to write double stops. Another matter is whether the composer would very much mind if an interpreter did change the passage to double stops. I agree that you can only know that by asking them. I think these two notions: original intention of composer (which is often rather clear, certainly in this case we are discussing), versus composer's attitude towards slight rewritings (which could still be explained as interpration), are being confused in this discussion. A composer may like someone's interpretation or he may not. Then there is the third issue, whether *the public* likes someone's interpretation. At that point we are indeed more talking about cultural trends etc, as well as about individual taste. So I suppose Jeewon and Nate are both right but the discussion is not very interesting and I don't like the aggressive tone.
jean, I apologize for my part in setting the tone in this thread. You're always civil and diplomatic, a force for balance on this site, and I appreciate that. I suppose I'm too easily goaded by what I perceive to be a willful ignorance and