Tag Archives: Tchaikovsky

Played the Tchaik at the Freo Eisteddfod

It’s all over!!

I was nervous ALL yesterday.  As soon as I woke up, at work, during meetings.   I thought to myself, “Why am I putting myself through this?”

I came home a bit earlier to play through some sections of the Tchaik, had dinner, and before I knew it I was warming up in the cold echoey room at the Fremantle Town Hall with some other musicians.

Initially I was meant to be first after the dinner break, but I ended up being fourth (the order of entrants varies quite a bit in the Open Concerto section I’ve come to realise).

At least this year Miss 9 and Miss 11 came along to see me too 🙂  Apparently Miss 9 was clapping very enthusiastically for me and enjoyed seeing her Dad on stage!

So I strolled onto the cold large empty stage with my young accompanist, tuned up, peered out into the sparse dark audience, and started to play.

Boy, I was still stressed, and although I tried really hard, my muscles were all tensed up too.  But I tried to make my violin sing and soar through the long journey of the Tchaikovsky violin concerto.

This year I even worked up a sweat on stage.  From stress, being tense, or just the 20 minutes of mental concentration required?

And then it was all over to what seemed like raptuous applause!

No memory lapse, but one too many intonation errors to make it a performance worthy of the finals. Something that really requires lots of slow practice and scales and arpeggio practice, which I obviously don’t have time to do.

Things that went well – opening, parts of the candenza, ending, interpretation and tone (mostly).

Things that didn’t go so well – intonation in parts, some of the shifts to nowhere I missed the top notes, clarity in the faster double stopped semiquavers and runs.

But I was so glad that it was over.  A personal milestone achieved for my violin this year.  And especially thankful that my young (Year 11 only!!) accompanist learnt his part in less than a week and really held his own too!

So in the last 3 years I’ve slowly worked my way through some of the violin concerto repertoire I had been lamenting not learning before – Wieniawski 2nd done.   Sibelius (although 1st movement only) done.  Tchaikovsky (1st movement) done.

Whatever “done” means.  For me (at my age and time to spend on the violin), setting the goal to perform it in public with an accompanist for my father and wife (and kids) is enough for me.

Getting to the finals or winning would be nicer still, but I’m secretly glad that I don’t have to go through all the stress again on Friday night!

But I’ve already started thinking about what concerto to learn next – Brahms or Beethoven or Barber?

For more posts on the Tchaik journey: https://jasechong.wordpress.com/tag/tchaikovsky/

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Less than 10 days until the Freo Eisteddfod!

OMG!  Less than 10 days until the Eisteddfod.

Two nights ago I did my first play through for someone else – my Wifey!  Yes she sat down through ~20 minutes of it.  All went OK except I had 1 major stop where I did the wrong run which stuffed me all up, and I was quite nervous and tense through the whole thing that came out through my tone and body posture.   Hmm…  I have to do some major practise with a metronome over the next week – I’m just totally rushing some semis, which just makes life hard for myself. 

The other problem – no accompanist!!!  Over the last week I’ve contacted 20 different accompanists in Perth, but they are all either busy with another performance, too busy during the week accompanying school exams, not doing the Freo Eisteddfod, accompanying too many people at the Eisteddfod, or haven’t played the piano part before and it’s too late to learn it!!  Oh no!!! 

It’s really looking like I’ve left it too late.  One accompanist suggested I should have lined this up at least a month in advance – but they obviously didn’t realise I wasn’t even sure whether I could finish learning the whole piece until last week!

Might be time to face the reality and go with plan B – don’t do it, take a few lessons on it, and possibly aim to play it at a different Eisteddfod or music festival later in the year.

Hmm…   I wonder if there’s a backing track for it 🙂

Less than 1 month until the Freo Eistedfodd

Less than 1 month go to…  I’m beginning to think it’s not enough time to finish learning the Tchaik violin concerto.

We just were away for 16 days on a holiday, and I obviously didn’t take the violin.  

Now with 3 and a half weeks to go, still haven’t learnt the first 4 pages of the concerto, haven’t had a lesson on it, haven’t had a session with an accompanist… I don’t think I’ll be doing it any justice 😦 😦 😦

What should I do?

It is a good goal – a date to work towards.  But there’s also personal pride, and wanting to play it at a decent standard.

I think I’ll keep on going and decide in the last week I think. 

I had my first play through after our holiday last night.  Most of the notes I’ve learnt have been burnt into my memory, so that’s OK, but I’m a little rusty.

More Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

Well I’ve had a few sort of good weeks hacking away at the Tchaik (if you call little 30-45 minute sessions every other day a good practice!)

I’ve decided to start note bashing backwards – from the end first.   So far I’ve learnt 6 pages worth of notes – that’s about 5-6 minutes worth.   Not much for a 15-20 minute first movement depending on the speed it’s played.    I love learning things backwards..  it means that when you play through, you can keep on building on it, and you always finish the piece with a bang and that’s satisfying 🙂

Compared to the Sibelius, what I’ve noticed most is that there are just so many notes!!!  I can’t believe I haven’t even got back to the candenza yet.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to learn all the notes in time, and if so, be able to memorise all of them.   And then being able to play them at a decent speed from beginning to end without stopping!

Anyway, I’ll keep on pushing ahead… backward really.   

I hope to get a formal lesson on it as soon as I’ve note bashed the whole thing.

Learning the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

Well, I’ve had a few months break from my violin.  The little spurt of learning and performing the Sibelius is all over. 

And it’s now time to start thinking of the next concerto for the Freo Eistedfodd next year.  The closing dates are usually in March – only 7 months away – but with the non-existent number of hours of practice I do, that’s not very much at all!

I’ve always been in awe of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.  One of my favourite violin memories was watching the documentary of Itzhak Perlman travelling to Russia, and performing it there.  These last few weeks, I’ve been listening to the album at work.   It’s not the most heart wrenching interpretation of it, but I love the electric and enthusiastic atmosphere of the Russian audience in the live recording.

The first movement is long.  I had the music out the other night.  Heaps of pages.  More than the Sibelius.  More notes.  I think of it as preparing to climb a mountain – it’s a long journey, but I can’t wait for the day when I can play through the whole first movement from memory at a reasonable standard. 

So I’m thinking – 7 months.  I can’t remember now how many pages it is, but if it’s ~16 pages and I’d want to be able to learn all the notes and passages by the end of February hopefully.  That’s learning and mastering just about 2.5 pages a month.  Should be doable right?

On a related note, Julian Rachlin just performed this at the BBC Proms 34 concert.  You can listen to it online here for the next week:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2009/whatson/1008.shtml