Starting Over

March 20, 2021, 8:01 PM · Learning the Mozart G Major. Can't get past the 1st movement cadenza. In fact, there's one measure that's made me all but give up completely. Anyone else ever experience this? Any tips on how to push through? Snuff my perfectionism? Enjoy playing again?

Replies (9)

March 20, 2021, 8:28 PM · The Mozart G Major was the last piece that I worked on seriously as a high school student. I wasn't ready for it, mainly because my intonation wasn't good enough and my double stops were terrible, which meant I had no chance at the Franko cadenza (and the other cadenzas like Flesch are even harder).

When I restarted the violin, 25 years later, naturally I thought I would trot out the Mozart and pick up where I left off. I practiced for a week. My new teacher heard me play about a page and a half. He showed me a few things, but then he looked at me and said, "Paul, do you have any Suzuki books?" It was clear I needed to take a couple of big steps back before I'd be ready for anything like Mozart. I was humbled but I had come to trust this teacher because he was my daughter's teacher for a year or two already, and she was making much better progress than I had at her age.

So I played Seitz and Vivaldi and Haydn and Handel and Accolay, I and enjoyed every bit of that, even though some of it was not very musical, because I felt like my violin skill was finally being put onto a proper technical foundation.

Having said that, if it's the Franko cadenza that you're playing, I think I know which measure you're talking about. Just edit the part (i.e., cheat) so that you can play it and don't apologize. Life is too short. But at the same time, you might take some inventory of your technical skills and ask your teacher to give you studies or even other repertoire that will help you build the foundation you need to tackle that kind of thing in the future.

March 20, 2021, 8:50 PM · Greetings?
Milstein used to tell people to turn your weaknesses into strengths. It sounds. a little weird but is psychologically wonderful advice. Something along the lines of for example, cant play this sections as fast as the rest and sound good. it slower and enjoy making the most beautiful soun on the planet.
It’s a cadenza! Do whatever you want!
At the same time, break problems down into the smallest component parts and master them before reintegrating. If it takes two years who cares? Each little ‘pocket of technique’ (as Simon Fischer often says) that you add to your repertoire becomes money in the bank (as Zuckerman often says)
Cheers (as I often say)
March 20, 2021, 8:52 PM · Forget the cadenza. Work on the concerto itself; on the music that is actually composed by Mozart. I have never worked on the cadenza in any concerto I practiced.

The feeling you describe of running into a wall happens to many people I believe. In my case I give up on the piece in question and set it aside for the time being. I take up something else for a while. Let Mozart 3 rest for a while; it happens quite often that the obstacle can be cleared in a second attempt.

This I think is a good way to avoid getting discouraged.

March 21, 2021, 5:35 PM · Skip the cadenza until you actually have a solo concert, contest or audition. Then look for a cadenza that you like, that you can play, and is more stylistically consistent with Mozart. You are allowed to compose your own, or if very brave, improvised. For a clue as to what Mozart might have done with a violin concerto cadenza, take a look at the Violin/Viola Sinfonie Concertante.
March 22, 2021, 7:01 PM · thank you, everyone! This is great advice all around!
March 22, 2021, 7:54 PM · Greetings,
as joel says. At college my teacher wouldn’t let us play any cadenza we hadn’t written ourselves...
(There are good ones for Mozart by Joachim especially bowed and fingered by Oistrakh. )Personally I would be glad never to hear the Franco again...
March 23, 2021, 2:13 PM · I only know the Joachim cadenza for Mozart No. 5. I didn't know he wrote one for Mozart No. 3, but I don't know why I would be surprised. The one for Mozart 5 is not especially hard except it has some crazy stuff at the end that I just ignore. That's my approach -- take one of the published ones and modify it to my needs. That way the basic structure and themes are there but not the misery.
March 23, 2021, 2:51 PM · Sorry Paul I wasn't clear, I don't think you're going round like a cadenza for number three either.
March 27, 2021, 2:03 AM ·
This is the Ysaye cadenza for Mozart three. I think he plays it beautifully.

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