Chamber music

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As always, I’m looking forward to starting some new chamber music soon.
I ordered a copy of the Piston duo for viola and cello to play with
Amirosh and a copy of Mozart duos K423 and K424 for violin and viola to
play with Jason. I just found out last night that Jason just came back
from his long gig in Florida, but he’s going to Colorado in a few days
to play a couple concerts. So hopefully by the time he gets back I’ll
have the Mozart duos. Also, I am itching really badly to start a
new Beethoven quartet.

Benefit Recital

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Last night I played in a benefit recital for Valentina Mengjesi, an Albanian woman who lives around here and who has breast cancer but not much money to pay for the medical expenses. I have never met her, but she is a friend of some friends of mine, Amela Koci (who is a very close friend) and Tonda Sykes.

The concert went well. It consisted of the Corelli Christmas Concerto, Beethoven Op. 18/6 string quartet in B-flat, Vaughan Williams Rhosymedre, Mozart Horn Quintet K.407, and Saent-Saens Romance in F. Brian Brown played horn, Arthur Busby and Amela Koci played violins, Paul Palmer and I played viola, and Amirosh Issa was the cellist. At the end Amela’s husband Gjergji joined Brian for a horn duo, but I forgot the name of the composer.

Raconteurs CDs

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So, as I last reported I had ordered some live CDs of the Raconteurs from some of their live shows in the UK but the package was open and empty when it arrived. So I talked to the company, Concert Live, about it and they were kind enough to send me a replacement set. I just received that today, and I’m very happy.

Music and stuff

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I got a DVD a couple weeks ago of Alexander Markov performing the Paganini 24 caprices for solo violin. I saw this years ago on a bootleg VHS when I was at Peabody, and I blogged about it on Advogato. Apparently there were a number of people who wanted to see it, because I had four or five different people email me since that time asking me how to get the video. Some offered to pay me to make them a copy of the bootleg of the video, but it wasn’t mine.

I watched the whole thing, and it’s the same one that I saw back then. It’s sort of cheesily done, and it looks like the director/editor got some video editing software and wanted to try all the goofy effects out. It’s like when you open GIMP for the first time and you think it’s a good idea to try to use all the pre-built effects or something. So, the DVD is pretty funny to watch because it’s so bad. But Markov’s playing is very good, and it’s nice to see (when you can actually see.. there’s a whole section where they thought it would be a good idea to just shoot his shadow) and hear.

I got my Aluminium CD in the mail. It’s sort of an orchestral arrangement (supposedly avant garde, not not really in my opinion) of White Stripes music, which sounds sort of dumb but ended up working pretty well. At least, better than any other orchestral version of rock music I’ve ever heard. I think they tend to have more tunes than the bands that I have previously heard orchestral arrangements of.

I also ordered a set of CDs of live concerts of The Raconteurs from their UK shows, and I was really looking forward to getting those. Well, it turns out that the package was really poorly sealed or something because it opened up during transit and all the CDs spilled out of it and an empty package was delivered to me. I’m really sort of pissed about that. I contacted the company that sent it, hoping they’ll send me
another set. I feel like it is sort of their fault for not packaging it very well. I’m not really sure how else to deal with this right now, but I noticed that the shipment was insured.. although not for as much as I paid for it, so that is a little worrying.

Quartet

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So, we ended up not reading Faure or Schumann or Mahler today. Instead we did the second movement of the Dvorak quartet that I don’t love that much. We’re going to meet on Saturday to read through the new music instead. I can’t wait! I’m very excited about it.

Peanuts

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I got this from Lesley today. Maybe this is why I’m not married yet. :)

New music

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Finally our new quartet music came in the other day, so on Thursday my group is going to read through something new and fun. We ordered both piano quartets by Faure, and the Mahler piano quartet. Maybe something else too, but I forgot. It will be a welcome change for me, because we’ve been working on Dvorak Op.23 and I’m not really all that excited by that piece.

I also just ordered the Bruch Eight Pieces, Op.83 for viola, clarinet, and piano. I am performing that in a recital next month for a doctoral student’s recital I think. It should be a lot of fun, I think. I played the Bruch Double Concerto for viola and clarinet when I was in school, and I liked it a lot. It’s a very nice piece that is still not very well known for some reason.

Mozart Concerto

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I went to Dallas Symphony last night to hear their concertmaster,
Emanuel Borok, play the third Mozart violin concerto. They also did
Rachmaninov’s second symphony and Mannheim Rocket by Corigliano.
It was overall a really great concert, but I went there especially for
the Mozart and I was not disappointed. Borok really played well, I
thought, and the orchestra sounded very good. I had heard that he also
has written his own cadenzas for all the Mozart concerti, so I was
looking forward to hearing that. The the first two cadenzas were
nothing out of the ordinary I think.. especially the first one I thought
was very sensible and traditional. In the last movement, however, the
cadenzas were completely surprising! It didn’t sound really
Mozartian, I’m not really sure what it was.. I guess just very Borok, I
don’t know. It’s hard to describe here. But I definitely enjoyed it.
He just totally threw me for a loop for that last movement, because
especially after the previous ones I did not see that coming.

I had never heard the Corigliano before. It was okay, but nothing to
write much about. And so, I guess I won’t. The best part was before it
started some lady behind me asked if this was that Christmas music
thing, by which she meant Mannheim Steamroller. heh :)

Quartet reading

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Amirosh and I went over to Dr. Hunt’s house this weekend to read some piano quartets with the new violin professor, Dr. Walvoord. It was really fun, and it looks like we’re going to prepare something for a concert sometime. Dr. Walvoord seemed really cool, and is a really good violinist so it was a lot of fun. Amirosh and I are supposed to also play the Brahms clarinet trio with Dr. Solomons, so we figured we could put them on the same program.

I also came across a couple really cool duos for viola and cello, by Piston and Lutoslawski, that I would like to read through with Amirosh sometime.

Sinfonia Concertante

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So I went to tonight’s (Saturday’s) Fort Worth Symphony concert because it included the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with violist Roberto Diaz. It was very good, and I was happy I went. This was actually my first time to hear a live performance of that piece with orchestra (the only other time I think I have ever heard it live was when a couple Peabody students played it).

So the violinist in this concert was someone named James Ehnes, who I had never heard of before. I thought he was pretty good but his interpretation was pretty stiff. He played all the
notes and everything, but it lacked a lot of musicality I thought.

Roberto, on the other hand, was very expressive. His rhythm was not rigid, and he was very lively and energetic. My only complaint about the performance in general was that I felt like the first two movements were far too fast, and Roberto seemed to be pushing it somewhat. I’m not sure if that is entirely true, but of the two soloists I felt that he was sort of the one in control. I also thought the last movement seemed ever so slightly too fast, but it’s marked presto so I guess you can go as fast as you want. I wouldn’t say it felt out of control or anything, it just felt hurried.

Still, this was a very nice performance and I am certainly glad that I went to it. I think today was the only day that they were playing this program, otherwise I probably would have gone to hear them tomorrow as well.

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