The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires

My last post featured two contrasting performances of the Winter and Spring concertos from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  Now, here is music written around 1965 by the great Argentinian tango composer Astor Piazzolla. The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires was originally written for Piazzolla’s quintet (bandoneon, piano, violin, electric guitar and electric base).  Violinist Gidon Kremer commissioned the Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov to create this version for solo violin and string orchestra. You might hear …

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As Winter Turns to Spring…

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is slowly beginning to loosen its grip.  As we look forward to warmer temperatures and longer days, let’s enjoy music from Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Written in 1723, The Four Seasons is a collection of violin concertos, each depicting a different season of the year.  A concerto is a composition, usually in three movements (Fast, Slow, Fast) written for a solo instrument (or …

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Wagner’s Musical Kaleidoscope

Javelin…Michael Torke (b. 1961) Find on iTunes Find on Amazon In my last post we explored a fun, eight minute piece called Javelin by contemporary American composer, Michael Torke.  I asked you to pay attention to the rich orchestral colors in the music. Now go back and listen a few more times to pick up some new details.  Do you hear bright, shimmering colors?  Do you feel swept along by the music’s motion?  Maybe …

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Hearing Colors in the Music of Michael Torke

  Javelin…Michael Torke (b. 1961) Find on iTunes Find on Amazon When you listen to music do you hear colors?  The idea of musical color may seem like a strange mixing of the senses, but color is an important element of music, along with motion, energy, flow and fabric.* For violinists, color is synonymous with timbre.  We often choose between playing the same pitch in a lower position on a higher string …

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Great Violinists on Video

Here are some inspiring violin videos from Youtube.  As a violinist, I always enjoy soaking up the musicianship of a variety of players, as well as analyzing the way each player uniquely approaches the instrument. We’ll start with Humoresque in G-Flat Major by the Czech composer, Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904).  This is a piece that Suzuki students know from Book 3.  Itzhak Perlman and cellist Yo-Yo Ma are accompanied by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, …

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Ten Tips For Practicing

The beginning of a new year is a great time to evaluate our practicing and to reaffirm our commitment to consistent, thoughtful practicing.  How we practice is as important as how much we practice.  Here are some tips to keep in mind: 1. Practice Every Day In some ways, practicing is like exercise.  If it’s sporadic you won’t see progress and you’ll be constantly frustrated.   When practicing becomes a part of your daily routine, …

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Join The Listeners' Club, Part 2

Last month I invited you to Join The Listeners’ Club and explore some of my favorite music.  Now, in Part 2, we’ll examine these pieces more closely.  Here are some of my thoughts about what makes this music so great.  Enjoy the discussion and then go back and listen again.  Use the comment thread below to tell me what you hear. What inspires you?  What are your favorite parts and why?   …

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