On this day… 30 September

Well, there’s nothing else that I could possibly write about for today. We’re going back to 1791, notable for being the last year of Mozart’s life. However, his death doesn’t come until December (and we will cover it then), but today it is the premiere of his last opera, The Magic Flute. Continue reading “On this day… 30 September”

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On This Day… 29 September

One of the problems that I expected going into this is that some days it might be hard to find something or someone to write about. Today I could have looked at Shostakovich’s 14th symphony, which premiered today in 1969, but I wasn’t able to find the entire work available on Youtube. Instead, I decided to take a look at some of the Organ music of Vincent Lübeck. Continue reading “On This Day… 29 September”

On This Day… 28th September

Taking you back to 1918 today. Still in the grips of World War 1, slowly coming towards an end, Igor Stravinsky composes a work to be “read, played and danced” which looks at a common theme of the romantic age of the Faustian story, influenced by the events of the day. L’Historie du soldat or A Soldier’s Tale, premiered on this day in Lausanne on the 28th September, 1918. Continue reading “On This Day… 28th September”

On This Day… September 27

Today we look at a lesser known Brittish composer, who was titled the “Father of modern British Music” and “the English Debussy.” Cyril Scott, born on September 27th, 1879 was a composer, writer and poet. Continue reading “On This Day… September 27”

On this day… September 26

I’ve decided to start up a new feature which will hopefully be informative, and fun. Basically, each day I look at a major classical event that happened on this day – be it a birth, death or premiere. Thanks to the wonderful place that is YouTube, where possible I’ll upload a video of a performance related to the topic. Added with a short biography or description of the event, it should be a fantastic way to get exposed to a large amount of music. Today, the stars seemed to align themselves, as today I can bring together two of the biggest names of American classical music. Continue reading “On this day… September 26”

Lessons from Graphic Design

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been dabbling in a bit of graphic design. I had to convert my work’s logo (which we’ve only ever had in a small JPEG format) to a vector format so that we can make a nice banner for our general meeting. What this involved was basically re-creating it in Photoshop and then converting it to vector format in Illustrator. Looking back at the process, I can relate parts to learning a piece of music. Continue reading “Lessons from Graphic Design”

New Directions

Well, today marks the day that applications for the World Council of Churches Youth Internships close. I actually got mine in Friday night (if I remember correctly), but all the same, now starts the waiting game. I’m not actually sure when I’ll find out about it, and I’m in the odd situation of wanting to plan for next year, but not being able to. I can’t in good mind take on new students with the possibility of me only being able to teach them for a term, however if I get the internship I’ll need a little bit of money for travel expenses. Continue reading “New Directions”

How does he know?

You know, sometimes it’s incredible how people know exactly the right thing to say, seemingly without any prompting. Perhaps sometimes someone can be really good at reading people, but others it’s just incredible. For me, it’s happened with my teacher a couple of times. Once when I was thinking once again about my practice techniques, and what does he bring up in string class, but a lengthy “lecture” on practice. Just recently is the more incredible one though. After having been away for a week, I get to my lesson on Tuesday and he brings up the topic of focus and where I’m wanting to head in music, what I would like to be doing once I leave uni etc. The incredible thing is that I had just been thinking about that very same topic on the weekend. I hadn’t even talked to anyone about it, just thinking about it – yet he comes up with this one hour talk/discussion on it. I didn’t end up playing a note in that lesson – but I got so much out of it.

Orchestral playing is what I really love, and Peter suggested that towards the end of the year I might take a couple of mock auditions in which I could practice taking auditions – and play the repertoire that I would be expected to play for an audition. So I’m now learning the Tchaikovsky Violin concerto, as well as Mozart Concerto Number 4. Tomorrow in my lesson, I’ll suggest a couple of dates for the mock auditions, as well as bring him a list of excerpts that I would like to learn.

I seem to be rather excited about this prospect – like I’m actually making steps towards my goal. While I know that all the stuff that I have been doing previous to this have helped, this actually seems like physical steps towards the goal.

I did 3 hours practice straight today – a rarity in recent times. It did have something to do with not having anything on today, and wanting to get into the tchaikovsky, but also the fact that I was motivated to do it, made it seem like it went past really quickly. Let’s hope for more of the same!

Oops…a new site

Wow, I’ve finally updated this site. A brand new design, and a new format. Figured it was time for a change. I used to host this site off my own server, but it got to be too much of a hassel, so I decided to move it onto a different server – this means that it will be available more often. Just don’t suddenly make it incredibly popular, as I’ve got limited bandwidth.

Unfortunately, in the process of moving, I’ve lost all of my posts that had been made. I’ve still got them on my home server, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting them moved across easily. I’ll go through them and find any posts that are worth saving and put them back up, but more than likely a lot will get lost (probably for the better).

Einstein’s Violin (Pt. 2)

January 6, 2008

Well, today I climbed, after a descent to the “beach” of large rocks at the wind farm. 507 steps, and quite steep as well. A nice bit of exercise for me.
Continued reading Eger’s book. Brought up some more interesting points – one of which I am a fan – the need to consider the audience.
He brings up examples starting with Schoenberg, and moving through to Yoko Ono, of how classical music in the second half of the twentieth century scared audiences away and kept them away. It turned classical music into an elitist genre – only if you can understand this will you enjoy it.
I have studied Schoenberg’s music, and many other modern pieces. As a “musicologist” I can understand this music. I can appreciate the methodology behind it, and the meaning and reasons for it. However, as a listener, I would not choose to listen to it. If there was a choice between a concert of Beethoven or Schoenberg, I know which I would choose.
As a composer, I also understand the necessity to shape my compositions. if I make my music too pleasant to the ear, critics will claim that it’s commercial rubbish – catering for the masses, yet if I make it too complex, there will be no audience, and who really wants to play to a full house of critics?
I think some time studying the scores of John Williams might prove fruitful. While I know he has stolen classical themes in the past, I am also aware that he writes great music for films, which are often quite atonal, yet also pleasing to the ear.

In an unrelated note, it has come up a couple of times today – business. Eger, early on in his career, wasn’t much of a businessman and missed out on cashing in on a lucrative project that he was involved in.
Beethoven despised the business side of music, and a friend encouraged me to consider all sides of music, and stressed not neglecting the business side of my studies. I am planning on taking the second semester of 2008 off from uni, so I might look into taking a business skills course at TAFE or somewhere.