LOTViolists always teaches us something we never knew. This week, it's something about gut strings! —SparkNotes editors
Now that you're all caught up on the fun campus and dorm information from my last post, I want to tell you about a fun rite of passage that we musicians often undertake during senior year: The *drumroll* Senior Concert! We choose a few pieces to play, find a pianist to perform with, and prepare to have a concert all to ourselves.
My parents and I have invited all our family members on Facebook. We tucked a save-the-date for the concert in each brown and pink invitation. I already have the dress I'm going to wear, which I'm also wearing to my upcoming homeschool prom. (In my household, we sure know how to get our money's worth!) I have an accompanist all set up to play with, and we start rehearsing very soon. Now the only thing left to do is practice the music and write program notes for it. Here's a list of the pieces I'll be playing:
Bach Cello Suite 1 (transcribed for viola; six movements)
Bloch Suite Hebraique (three movements)
The Rebecca Clarke Sonata (three movements)
Finale: Kreisler Liebesfreud (meaning "love's joy"; transcribed for viola; single movement)
I haven't decided on an order for the first two pieces. I'd welcome any input you have!
I've been practicing the Clarke and the Bloch quite often. Liebesfreud a little less, since it's shorter. The Bach is slow going, because I'm trying to listen to many different recordings. The Bach suites are very, very interpretive pieces. They are played in SO many different ways. Bach's original manuscript of the piece was lost. Luckily, his wife and some of his friends copied it down before it disappeared. But, of course, each of these copies is slightly different, taken down with the copier's own bias. We can never know exactly how Bach wanted this piece played.
Here are some other factors. When the piece was written, in the baroque period of music, musicians played on gut strings. These are much quieter and lighter than today's metal strings. Plus, the bows looked like this instead of this. The tip of a baroque bow sounds much lighter than the tip of a modern bow. So even the articulation is a question: Should we play the suites exactly how they would've been played 400 years ago, or should we play them the modern way? It's always up to the interpretation of the player.
Before I get entirely wrapped up in a speech on Bach interpretation, it's time for me to go. Thank you for reading!
Are you performing in any concerts this spring?
Related post: Chronicles of a College Kid: Preparing for Dorm Life