Sibelius Concerto Practice

It’s less than 1 week to the Freo Eistedfodd where I’ll attempt to play the first movement of the Sibelius Violin Concerto!  

I’m starting to feel the nerves.  I don’t know why – I have nothing to lose really.  I keep telling myself over and over that it’s not for the competition or glory – but really as a milestone otherwise I have nothing to work towards.   There’s no way I can compete against students who have time to practice daily for multiple hours at a stretch!   I can only practice for 30 minutes to an hour every odd day after the kids have gone to bed…  after helping to clean up dinner, make lunches, read the kids bed time stories, etc…

Had my first rehearsal with my accompanist last week.   It was great to hook up with an old friend and play through it.  But what a shock!   It was weird having to play “in time”!   I’ve been practising so ad lib that some of my timing was totally way off.   Margie had hinted this at my lesson and afterwards I practised some parts with a metronome.  But there’s nothing like playing with someone else!  Luckily it wasn’t a full symphony orchestra!

So for this last week, I’m starting to polish it up, continue playing through in one shot to build up my stamina – both mental and physical.  I find that by the time I reach the last 2 pages (the final fast bit), I start to get tired.  I can’t concentrate.  My arms start to lock up.  My intonation starts to go.   All when it’s the hardest part technically.

Yesterday I decided – let’s use the practise technique I used for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra audition – RECORD MYSELF!   That really starts to put the pressure on.   So, first thing in the morning after breakfast, I did this take..  fresh..  no warming up.   I’ve uploaded it in all its raw, scratchy glory for all to hear 🙂  

Sorry about the clipping, and I obviously made a few mistakes but I wanted to march to the end, just like a real performance.   But listening back to it, I now realise I need to work on a few things.   For example:

  • I’d love the intro to be more legato
  • Intonation of my fourths was shocking
  • Intonation of one of the first arpeggios needs work (Eb arpeggio)
  • Gotta nail the huge shifts
  • Need to work on right arm (bowing) and left hand (fingering) co-ordination at the beginning of the fast section at the end
  • More dynamics throughout
  • Some parts need to move on more, they started to sound stodgy

Sibelius Violin Concerto – 1st Movement by Jason Chong

I’m more than welcome to constructive feedback.   Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions in this post’s comments.

2 thoughts on “Sibelius Concerto Practice”

  1. wow. amazing ..your interpretation is very inspiring!
    its my favorite concerto as well.
    i have so much respect for sibelius as musician…and composer…
    i wish i could play it someday. but still have long way to go >_<

    1. @Dan – Thanks for the compliments! I should have recorded one take with my accompanist, but it’s too late now 😦 Keep on at it – it’s definitely worth the effort!

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