Archive for March 13th, 2008

As the Classical World Turns…

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Hello, all!  I apologize that I have been so remiss about blogging frequently, but I promise to get better!  Life has been a bit hectic, but now that it is consistently 80 degrees outside, I just may find some more time to relax (and help makeover my site!)

It is ironic that I am welcoming the spring here in Dallas with open arms, when up north they were just obliterated by snow last week.  Thankfully, we in the South only had a minor dip in temperatures and continued on our merry way!  However, I am traveling to Cleveland next week, and am praying that the inclement weather is behind us.

Where do I begin?  Last week I was in Austin for a performance of Mozart’s 5th violin concerto with Robert Radmer conducting.  It was a great experience – the drive there was leisurely, the hotel suite was uncommonly attractive, and Mr. Radmer was very sensitive and inspiring to work with.  I played an encore (d minor Sarabande by Bach), and was able to meet some friends post-concert, some of whom I haven’t seen in over five years!  Austin-ites seem extraordinarily friendly, and they have a very active music scene.  I can’t wait to return–especially to that outdoor Jacuzzi!

I have the good fortune to collaborate with several singers this spring – let me tell you, this is an education in and of itself.  As an instrumentalist, you try and emulate the human voice more than anything, and to rehearse with a very accomplished singer – it makes me reconsider tone production, sound decay, matching vibratos, and glissandi (sliding from one note to another).  So, a big thank you to these wonderful singers who asked me to collaborate – I get quite a bit out of it too!

Recently, I have found myself becoming far more domestic and business-oriented than usual.  Clearly, the most obvious side of this industry are the live performances, but there is quite a bit that goes on behind the scenes.  For instance:  a recent day found me waking up quite early (rather, early by my standards) for a rehearsal with piano after looking at a couple spots in the Stravinsky concerto;  continuing on to about two hours of emails in straightening out next season;  combine this with extreme allergies and a bad case of the flu;  heading off to an outdoor photo shoot looking like Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer (or just death warmed over);  a photo editing session;  a lengthy conference call concerning press for an upcoming concert;  discussions about website modifications and traffic (well into six figures now – thank you everybody!);  and then the end of the day rolls around and I realize that I have hardly touched the violin at all!  How nice it would be to never concern yourself with anything other than practicing/performing.  Not to mention keeping an apartment organized and liveable – oh well.  Back to reality…

The near future sees a bit of traveling – the next trip being to Cleveland’s Fashion week shows next weekend.  I’m also relearning the Brahms sonata cycle for a couple of performances.  I never completely appreciated the second sonata (A major) before, but now have grown to love it.  The G major is so intimate, while the d minor is brooding, lonely, and hormonal, while retaining a concise structure.  Wait – am I blogging or writing program notes?!  My next blog will probably be my program notes for the Brahms cycle – otherwise I will never complete them on time!   Looking forward to each performance this spring…as well as the trip to the Cayman Islands in mid-May (moved from March).  The other musicians are so talented and the chance to do some outreach there will no doubt be quite rewarding.

I hope everyone is having a productive and healthy March, and that you’re all able to pick up some rays outside!  I wanted to recommend 3 recordings that I think are the top 2008 classical releases so far:  Julia Fischer’s Mozart “Sinfonia Concertante”;  Chee-Yun’s Beethoven Triple (with Andres Diaz and Barry Douglas);  and Evgeny Kissin’s Schubert album.  This three disks epitomize class, intelligent and moving interpretations, and utterly magical moments.  Enjoy!

Yours from Dallas,

Andrew