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.

Viola "del Crocifisso"

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I was listening to Luigi Alberto Bianchi’s recording of the Paganini viola sonata a few days ago, and decided to Google his viola, the 1595 Brothers Amati “del Crocifisso”. It was stolen in 1980 and as far as I knew never recovered, but I was surprised to find an article from April that claimed the instrument was recovered in Milan, about 26 years after it was lost.

Kasia’s bow

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So, Special K has ordered her bow from Thomachot now and she wanted to have it made very much like mine. So she asked him if he can make it the same weight as mine, but I guess he doesn’t have all the measurements of my bow on record so she asked if I could send her the
weight of the bow. I pulled out a little measuring scale from the kitchen and it said the bow is 70g. But that scale isn’t very accurate, and the little markers on it go to the nearest 5g. I just measured it with that out of curiosity. But today I went back to Arlington and took the bow to Mike Sherriff, a bow maker there, because he has a scale that measures to 0.1g accuracy.. and it turned out that the bow was 70.0g. Go figure. :)


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So I just found out from Yi-Ping today that György Ligeti died in Vienna last Monday, on June 12. I had just been sitting around talking to Amirosh and Dr. Walters about Ligeti and his music sometime last week, when Amirosh asked if he was still alive. Dr. Walters and I both said he was, although he has been sick for a long time so we thought he may not live much longer. But it turned out by that time we were already wrong.

I really like Ligeti’s viola sonata, although it’s way too difficult for me to attempt to play any time soon. But I can still listen to it and enjoy it. I have heard some of his chamber music as well, and really enjoyed it a lot.

Music stuff

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We had a piano quintet performance this morning that didn’t go so well.
Hopefully it’ll be much better next time. It didn’t help that I
couldn’t rehearse with the group all week because of my opera stuff in
Sarasota, but I think there were bigger problems than that. Bartok
concerto is also coming along much better now, and I’m really enjoying

Viola bow

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Yes, I did finally get a new viola bow. It’s by Stéphane Thomachot, from Paris. I really like this bow. I took it to my old teacher, Vicki Chiang, a couple weeks ago and she really loved it. She even sounded like she was thinking of buying one now. Later today I’m taking it to my old quartet teacher, Maria Lambros. She already has a Thomachot bow, but she’s already ordered a second one.

So finally i have a really good bow to go along with VLA THE IMPALER, my beautiful viola by Hiroshi Iizuka. This Thomachot is the new Weapon of Choice.

Ben’s new CD

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Ben Loeb’s new CD with Joseph Lin was just released on Naxos label recently. It’s a recording of the complete works of Erich Korngold for violin and piano. It was reviewed and chosen as CD of the month at MusicWeb UK. Since it’s a Naxos recording, it’ll be reasonably priced. Ben graduated from Peabody after my first year there, and is an absolutely fantastic pianist. I like what little I’ve heard of Korngold so far — mostly just his violin concerto and the Much Ado About Nothing suite (which is on this CD) — and I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the disc.

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