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P R A C T I C E    J O U R N A L


The juxtaposition of seemingly endless reserve and yet expressly outward outcries for me define the end of the exposition of the Brahms Violin Concerto… I’m still exploring these three 4-bar phrases (the first two bars as played by the orchestra tutti before the solo violin enters). Embodying the syncopations in each bar while acknowledging the overarching, across-the-bar hemiolas can be helped by listening to the harmonic progression and recognizing the turning point between a feeling of three big beats across two bars and a feeling of three within one bar. ~ #violin #violinist #brahmsviolinconcerto

Picking up Jean Sibelius’ violin concerto, a manifestation of the composer’s deepest penchant for the violin and a work we could not imagine being without. The technical demands, especially in the final movement (!), underscore generally dark, robust orchestral colors and a pointed rhythmic architecture. There’s something so 3-D about this work that I just absolutely love! You may or may not be surprised to know that Sibelius actually lessened the technical challenges in the revised version, which is the one we understand the work to be nowadays. The first version was poorly received by critics and others, but it frankly contributes to a more nuanced appreciation of this beloved work.

The segment in this clip is one of the parts that the composer retains, save for a few pretty significant changes in the orchestration. For example, the rhythm of the backdrop in the beginning of the final movement - indeed, which lends the mvmt the characterization of a “polonaise [Polish dance] for the polar bears” - is actually inverted in the original version! Completely different sensation… I reckon that the dancing restlessness is thanks to this small revision.

Issues at hand: pulse, bow distribution, and left hand frame anticipation.

Unsuk Chin’s “Gran Cadenza” for Two Solo Violins | 8 concerts into the Europe tour with Anne-Sophie Mutter and the Mutter’s Virtuosi - I am grateful to play with Ms. Mutter twice an inconceivably difficult contemporary work written for two violins by Unsuk Chin. Conceptually elusive yet filled with visceral sound colors and effects, the work for me evokes screaming dueling ghouls, wailing phantoms, and silvery spiders crawling in an icy chamber. Befitting of Halloween maybe…


Performing the work two days ago at the Tonhalle Düsseldorf and tonight, revisiting the work at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.


Photo credit: Deutsche Grammophon

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