Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summit Day 2

So day 2 was also an adventure - a less stressful one!

I got there a bit early to get some practicing in & got in about an hour ... I need to buy a 9v battery so I don't need to use my laptop (though if I leave that home, then I need to write out my practice log ... ). Then I had to pickup Irina & this time her son Pasha came along (he was doing the slide show for her concert. I then also managed to get him to do the sound effects too, which effectively minimized my part, putting me back on the lights (which was enough work in itself!). Anyway, by the time we all got over there & working on stuff, we had probably about an hour to an hour and a half before Vladamir Viardo's masterclass started. So we did what we could, but had to come back later (both to rehearse the circus piece with sound effects & to get the projector working properly - a matter of getting the display settings right on Vista & hacking around with those plus realizing that we could shift the image on the screen via a little shift knob on the podium). Initially we couldn't get the projector to work, but that was because some genius had unplugged it (and left all the other connectors plugged in - so I didn't realize it was unplugged).

So after that frantic technical rehearsal, I stayed to watch the first student for Viardo's masterclass ... what an amazing teacher! I really wish I had thought to bring paper to write on, b/c those would have been great masterclass notes. I largely agreed with his philosophies & viewpoints. He commented that the girl was very involved with her playing & that that was rare & that she needed to hold onto it. He also told her to try to use arm weight instead of pushing (it's amazing how many principles of instrumental playing are the same regardless of instrument). Then he started talking philosophy of music - Questions like why do we play? Whether the written piece is finished or not (he considers it to not be finished & I agree). He also talked about the Mozartians or Chopinists or w/e (the people who insist they knew the right way to play these composers). He dropped the infamous "if there's any chance you can not play piano, please don't" line. Wish I could remember more specifically what else he talked about ... I do remember him stressing that one had to go through the score & find the melody and learn the melody first (he compared this to speaking - you have to know what you're going to say). He also then brought up improvising within the melody & asking if it's a monologue or dialogue. Similar to Steven Isserlis, he talked about needing to be a detective & decoding the music (it's a message throughout the centuries).

After that, I had to leave to practice & went over to Pius to work on Brahms & Beethoven (both of which need some serious work!). At this point, I made up my mind that I wanted to drop the Beethoven Op. 72 in the second 2 weeks (I had been given the option by Flora Kuan, my chamber coach, because I was already doing 2 other pieces). Despite the fact that I had performed the Beethoven previously, there's much work (musical and technical to be done). After that, I had rehearsal for that piece w/ Jenny Wu & David Gale. It was great to play with David. He graduated MSM, is 22 & is studying with Aaron Rosand. He sight-read that piece better than I played it (embarassing, but also a good push). I realized the main difference between where I was and where he was is that I sometimes hit the notes, where as he always hits the notes (there are some other pretty substantial differences, but that's the biggest). My bowing is also in need of a lot more attention (mostly in the area of planning & bow distribution) & I realized that I really have to focus on releasing my weight a lot more.

I almost forgot one of the most important stories. I met this incredibly cool girl from Texas (I think her name might have been Anna?). She's been playing for 3 yearsa & this is her first year doing the festival (like me when I started). She just finished 2 year college & is gonna get an undergrad degree in music. She's a pianist if I remember correctly, but I'm fuzzy on that. Anyway, I talked w/ her & she was cool. I can't wait to start meeting more folks, because that's one of the most fun things about doing this festival.

Now for Day 3 ...

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