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Anne aMaudPowellFan
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Hi, this is the second piece I am preparing for my ABRSM Grade 8 exam on December 4, Wieniawski Légende. It still needs some work on technical details, but the main challenge is sound (expression) and variation of sound, sound production (bowing) and vibrato. I am very much interested in your feedback, if you have time once more for me. It does not have to be technical. What counts in the end is the sound that comes out, anyway. If I get feedback on the music, I can try to translate it into technical means.

The first theme appears three times, right at the beginning, marked piano and semplice. In the repeat after that it is marked forte. Then it reappears at the end, marked piano and sotto voce, to be played with mute. Presumably, I should exaggerate the differences between the three sections more. Any suggestions what aspects I should particularly concentrate on?

Then the middle section, marked cantabile at the beginning and culminating in a huge climax, should sound joyful in general, I believe. Again, any suggestions on varying or deepening the expression and building up to the climax?


Anne aMaudPowellFan
16 Responses
Posted: November 22, 2011
Last Comment: November 24, 2011
Replies

Eileen
Posted: November 24, 2011
Yeah, smiling too much while playing would be creepy....but if I could just get rid of the grimace, I'd be happy....because that would mean that I'm relaxing like I aught to do.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 23, 2011
I don't smile when I play. I raise and lower my eyebrows expressively though.  /;^)

Eileen
Posted: November 23, 2011
Note to self.....

"SMILE...don't grimace when you play !!"

Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 23, 2011
Hi Nick. Funny you should bring up the smile thing. I realized that when I started making the videos. Talking to a camera was so dull. I didn't smile, and I looked so bored and droll. Then I started imagining that I was really talking to a group of learning violinists, and it totally changed the way I presented the material. I think that really is the same for practicing. When I imagine an audience, it totally changes my mannerisms. I snap into performance mode, and everything sounds better, and more expressive.



Nick Thorpe
Posted: November 23, 2011
Dear Anne. I can't say much about your playing as I am a complete rookie, but feel sure you will be fine on the music front. I just hope that I can be as good as you one day.

I agree with Eileen about the showmanship bit and it is hard if it doesn't come naturally - and if it does one might put people off. I had a lot of videoed presentation training once and although I am a smiley person by nature I used to look like Doctor Death in these videos - so serious!

So I learnt to do a big cheesy smile before starting a presentation and it works. Beth is a consummate presenter; she is knowledgeable and confident but one of her big appeals (for me anyway as a viewer) is that she smiles a lot. I was watching another lady teaching on You Tube the other day (don't tell), and while she was technically good she just had this deadpan presentation style. Good luck and keep smiling! Hope this helps. Nick

Eileen
Posted: November 23, 2011
I'm struggling with the showmanship thing.....I'm great at it at home but when I play at a function I go back to meek and mild boring Jane and the projection goes right down the tubes.  

So yeah, showmanship is a definite goal in this process I'd say....harder for some than for others.  I think for those who find it difficult....learning your pieces well so that you can put more focus on just enjoying yourself and having fun might help.  Players who manage to find their "inner showman" are so much fun to watch and listen to...the Vaughn video is a great example !

Linda
Posted: November 22, 2011
In response to expressing showmanship I cannot get over watching 'The Hot Canary' posted by Karen Jennings - a thread back a page or two (found on the Vaughn vs Violin blog). Just watch it and you will know what I mean. Anne I do not expect that you or any of us will achieve such expression but it points out showmanship to the ultimate degree. Keep up the fantastic playing. 

jojo
Posted: November 22, 2011
Anne I also struggled a lot to hear you, but I listened to this through my iPhone so I stuck it INSIDE MY EAR!! LOL and I could only just hear it LOL

IT WAS FABULOUS, HONEST!!

the only thing I'd say is what Beth said: just PUMP UP THE SHOW ;)  really act like you are that famous soloist on stage as you really CAN play this SO WELL, you have proved it! :)

 YOU GO AND GET 'EM NOW GIRL, DECEMBER THE 4TH  YOU WILL 'FLOOR THEM'!!! AH!

I know you will!!!! ;)

xxxxx



bm
Posted: November 22, 2011
Ann,
Just great!... I really enjoyed. Good luck for your exam. :)

Anne aMaudPowellFan
Posted: November 22, 2011
Thank you all for your ideas. I'll definitely go for more bounce in the middle part and over-the top drama. I had a rehearsal earlier today with my accompanist, and it is great fun to play with piano (easier too).

I am so sorry, Eileen and others, for the low sound. Will think of a different setup next time.

I had lessons as an adolescent for about 6 or 7 years, then continued playing in student orchestras etc but finally quit because I got busy too with work. I started to play again when my daughter started the violin (she has switched to the cello by now), but I didn't get very far on my own. I took up private lessons 7 years ago (was very lucky in finding an extraordinary teacher), exactly 30 years after my last lesson as an adolescent, and about 1.5 years ago I discovered Violin Lab and started learning from members here and Beth. I feel like I am on my last chance of really getting somewhere with the violin, so I try to make good use of the time and opportunities I have.

Thank you all once more.

Ian Renshaw
Posted: November 22, 2011
Lovely work Anne! You'll be great in the exam so good luck for the 4th.
I'd definitely go with Beth's comments about 'act a little'. Music is showbiz, after all!
I'm curious to know - how long has it taken you to get to Grade 8?
Ian

Candace Del Valle
Posted: November 22, 2011
Beautiful piece. As for critique.. I might suggest a faster vibrato during the climaxes and maybe get a little louder and intense in some areas, like the the double stops in the second climax of the piece.  As for technique I can't say much but I noticed the first set of double stops were a little "pitchy" compared to the rest... you said you're still working on the technique but I thought I'd mention it anyway. You are really good by the way.. how long have you been playing?

Beth Blackerby
Posted: November 22, 2011
Anne, I think you have done just what you wanted to do. I hear distinct difference in phrasing and tone color in the different sections. You are using all the elements of tone production to accomplish a nice overall dynamic structure. And your vibrato is sounding better, warmer, and more expressive! Just don't be afraid to get a little crazy. Although you are playing quite expressively, our performances will always come across as a conservative until we take that "over the top" leap. Think gypsy. What might sound overly exaggerated in your ears, will come across as an interesting performance to the listener. I had to learn that lesson over and over. I would take what I thought was my most expressive playing into a lesson, and would always be told I could do "more". Your musicality has come so far since I first heard you play. Keep taking the risks. Add more swells,  crescendi and diminuendi on local levels. In the loud passages, be more intense. Try and break a sweat, and be a little bit of an actor. Again, it will seem exaggerated to you, but not to the audience. My two cents, anyway.  I know you will pass with flying colors!

Patricia
Posted: November 22, 2011

Despite the short period for preparation due to the misunderstanding of December 4 and not April 12; Anne, you are ready for the exam!

Patricia


Andrea Walpole
Posted: November 22, 2011
I thought this sounded beautiful. (Although a little quiet on this computer!)
It was so soulful and you had such a mournful tone. I am afraid as a beginniner I can't comment on anything technical, but the only untechnical bit I could pick up on, was the 'joyful' bit still sounded a little minor to me. Could do with a bit more bounce? There seemed to be a few thirds in there which might not have been exactly on the major hence the more minor sound? Feel free to ignore my thoughts though.
Still thought it was lovely. Good luck in december although i am sure you won't need it.

Eileen
Posted: November 22, 2011
Anne, I can't hear you !   <:'-((

I'd much rather put up with the "harsh" noises you get on a normal setting....than not being able to hear you at all !