Tag Archives: Violin

Symphony one night, Guns’n’Roses the next..

Well the other weekend, I had a major contrast of musical experiences!!

Saturday night, brought my Dad along to see Tamsin Little play the Elgar with the WASO.  As usual, we were cheap skates and sat in the choir stalls.  Don’t know why, but previously I had always sat on the left side of the stage, directly behind the soloist.  This time, we tried the far right side of the stage so we could basically look down the fingerboard of the violin.  Much better position… but still, the sound isn’t that great from behind..

Anyways, she was good I guess!  Fat tone, a few off notes…  I think I just don’t like the concerto.. especially the 3rd movement.. what was Elgar thinking with all that strumming stuff.. he must’ve been on drugs..  that whole section could be chopped out and the concerto would be better!

It was good to see Margie leading.. John must be busy somewhere I guess.  Also good to see Semra leading the 2nds!!  kewll..   Anyway, we left at interval.

But what was even better was Guns’n’Roses!!  On Sunday, Chris and I made our way to the Burswood Dome to join the other huge crowd of people..  really assorted people actually – we were thinking that the original fans would be our age or older (30-40s) and there were people round that age..  but there were groups of young high school kids too.  Anyway, it was a LONG concert!  Angry Anderson had his near hour set, Sebastian Bach (ex Skid Row) did an over hour set, and then Gunners didn’t come on until 11.15ish!!  But they played till 1.15ish!!

It was excellent!!  Pity that Axl (and Dizzy) are the only original members left, but still, to hear him and the band play all my old favourites from the past albums was kewl…   Axl is getting a bit older, and luckily he didn’t wear his white bikeshorts!!  a few downers..  no Slash!!  maybe Velvet Revolver will come to Perth one day..  also, we were seated pretty high up –  I would’ve loved to be in the mosh pit, especially during Paradise City when all the confetti was coming down and all.. what a great rock experience that would be!!  the other downer was some silly guy 2 rows in front of us who was  pissing off and antagonising  everyone  around him during the Sebastian Bach set..  luckily he pissed off when Gunners came on.

Oh well, that was a concert to remember..  that filled my rock appetite for a while.. I read that Black Sabbath is coming.. hmm..   when will Dream Theater come????

oh.. and i gotta get a Les Paul..  Gibson preferably, but Epi will do too


Back to the Violin again!

Well, the other weekend, I went with my Dad to watch the Open Concerto heats for the Freo Eisteddfod.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen what the local young musos are up to.  The last thing I saw was the WAYMA Concerto Competition where Alexandra won playing the 1st movement of the Wieniawski.  This time it was a mixed bag.  Just looking at the program it looks really impressive – violinists playing the Prokofiev, Wieniawski and even the 1st movement of the Tchaik!  Either I haven’t been monitoring the scene for a while, or people just “skipped” the concertos that traditionally lead up to these types of concertos.  I must say, it’s a great feat to even be able to play the notes and get to the end in these concertos at these kids’ ages (16-17ish), so it was quite impressive and well done to those involved.  However, a common trend I see is that so much concentration and effort is put into the notes, that the actual music making is missing.

It reminds me of this saying I see at our kids dance school – “It takes an athelete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer”.  I believe the same can be applied to music.   But these kids ARE young – we often say that they’re not old enough/haven’t experienced enough life to be able to put that feeling into the music and stop playing like a robot.  But then I wonder – should musicality be an afterthought after the notes?   I went through the same problems when I was younger.  When practising it would always be the notes only – only a few practices before performance would I even think about musicality, phrasing, musical style, etc.  But even back then, I remember I used to be told to practice musically all the time.  My Dad would always give advice on how to play more musically, but I always thought it was better to nail that difficult run/arpeggio first.  I’ve been recently listening to Hilary Hahn’s Bach and even when she recorded it at 16/17, her interpration is not robotic at all (plus her intonation and tone is absolute amazing!)

But now with a more years under my belt, I’d say that I do play more musically from the start. Not that I’m thinking about it conciously, but maybe/somehow living a few more years of life, makes a difference?  How?

In any case, watching these young kids tackling those concertos has provided some temporary inspiration again.  This week I replayed the Chaconne for memories :), then went back to work on the Back G minor Fuga and stated more detailed work on the Sibelius and sight read the Tchaik which I never wanted to do before – wanted, as in, it’s something I’ll tackle only when I think I’m ready.  But maybe that’s not the right attitude – maybe I should just give it a go?  *sigh*  There’s so much repertoire that I want to work on – but I should really concentrate on a couple at a time 🙂


Well another one gone by..  2 cool prezzies from my family – a new Bam violin case and tickets to the upcoming Gunners (Guns’n’Roses) concert!

My old violin case is literally falling apart, the zip doesn’t work, the latch works sometimes only, it’s got some burn marks on it when some ash from our old pot belly splashed on it, the storage zip area for music is all torn..  the new Bam one (I think the model I got is the “Stylus”) is great!  Lighter, sturdier.  Just a little tricky putting the Bon Musica shoulder rest in there with the violin, but I found an orientation that works.  The sheet music storage area seems quite flat and protected so my music won’t curl up at the corners.  And I can install the straps provided into a backpack configuration too!  Sweeet.    Su also picked up the sheet music for the Sibelius violin concerto that I had ordered from Zenith’s.  Had a quick play through the 1st movement last night – I think I’ll start working on it seriously, but I gotta work on my fingered octaves like crazy!

Also got tickets to Gunners! w00t!  You won’t believe it but Gunners helped me get through TEE.  It was my secret study weapon 🙂  I’d have Appetite or Use Your Illusions 1/2 on full blast on my walkman or discman (how daggy!).  Jeepers that was a while ago..  It’s a pity that it’s not what I consider the “real” Gunners.. Axl has just gone off and run with the name of the band – so it’s missing my favourite band members like Slash, Izzy, Duff, Matt..  *sigh*  but it will stil be good to Axl live singing all the old stuff.

Violin lesson no. 2

Had another violin lesson yesterday after work with Margie.  Played through the first movement of the Wieniawski again, and at the end the second movement.  All is good, I still have to work on intonation, phrasing, shifts, and most of all, fingered octave runs – argghh!! Who invented that 🙂

One thing Margie suggested was that I set up some goals or performance goals to work towards.  I guess that would help, at the moment, it’s just learning pieces without having to perform them, and so I don’t end up polishing them off totally.  Hmm…  I’ve thought of entering the local comps (Freo and Joondalup and Perth Eistedfodd, North of Perth, etc) this year, but I have a feeling I’m way too old now..

Anyways, it was good – I think I’ll now start learning the Bach G minor (I looovve the Fuga) and start on some Paganini Caprices.  I have to tackle No. 16 again, I had a go years ago before I stopped violin lessons, but I think I need to start tackling the Caprices to solidify more advanced violin techniques further.

Makes me think that Su and I should get some lindyhop privates 😉

More Sibelius

Well, Vadim Repin’s concert has got me all inspired again.  Ran into Semra earlier in the week and she said that on Friday night, Vadim played the Carnival of Venice as an encore.  How cool!  Luckily, I’ve got him playing this already on a DVD called “World Encores” that I picked up in Singapore when we went for SEAJam.   I’m sure it would have been just as fun here in Perth!

Then I started listening to the Leonidas Kavakos version again when my Dad reminded me that I had bought it a few years ago!  Now that’s a great version, so much drama and emotion in the playing.

I really want to finish off the Wieniawski now so I can move onto other concertos!  I had a good 1.5 hour practice two nights ago – my fingered octaves aren’t going that great, but the 3rd movement is mostly just learning the notes for the moment.   I’m trying to balance the 2nd movement so that it’s not too soppy and so each phrase has movement and direction.  I’m relatively happy with the 1st movement now I think – I’ll have to wait and see what Margie thinks of it at my 2nd lesson with her tomorrow.  I’m still semi fudging some of the arpeggiatic runs, or more like the intonation/shifts aren’t exactly in tune…  I guess since I’m doing it more for fun, I don’t have to get it perfect right??? hahahaha

Vadim Repin plays Sibelius!

Well, on Saturday night, had 2 tickets to go see WASO’s concert.  I had to go because Vadim Repin was the soloist, playing the Sibelius violin concerto – my favourite!  Su decided it wasn’t her cup of tea, so Dad came along instead.

It was amazing! Vadim is one of the best violinists to come round Perth’s way and he executed the concerto with much ease and great technical ability.  WASO seemed to be lagging behind a bit in the first movement, and Vadim seemed to fly maybe too quickly through some of the runs, but it was amazing to see live.  I think I still prefer Vengerov’s version though.

Then after 3 curtain calls, Vadim came out and played Ysaye’s Sonata No. 3 as an encore, just like Vengerov on his DVD.  I would have liked it to have even more emotion/flair but again it was technically amazing, especially to play the Ysaye after the Sibelius concerto!  I wish I could play either just by itself.

Oh well, it’s inspired me again.  I’ve lined up another lesson on Thursday with Margie.  Have only practised twice since the last lesson (4 weeks ago!?!?) but I think I need to book a lesson in to force myself to practise.  Hopefully will finish the rest of the 1st movement of the Wieniawski 2nd, then move on to the next movements.