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Exploring the foreboding tension in the final movement of Ysaÿe’s Solo Sonata no. 2 - for me, there is at once stifled distress and furious outcry at the core of this movement. The interlocking array of 2nd and 3rd intervals in the “Dies Irae” melody, which Ysaÿe quotes in different constellations throughout the movement, make for an atmosphere of obscurity and doom.

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The symbolized fear of the Last Judgment provokes in me questions about the matters that we have to reckon with as humans and as a part of humanity - what splits are there in our essence and how do we reconcile those splits? Courage and dread, immaterial and material values, integrity and ambition, egoism and reversed egoism, on and on. I’m reminded of Arnold Böcklin’s “Isle of the Dead”.

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#violin#violinist#eugèneysaÿe


Scales as an intermediary between motor / mental exercises and études. I decided to give scales a serious try again after thinking about rhythmic uniformity, which oftentimes for me becomes irregular when fingering patterns are not aligned with musical interest. In the case of scales, one has to find a good balance between motor convenience and musical interest. Sometimes, a convenient fingering (esp. during shifts) doesn’t favorably allow one to carry the streamlined lyricism implied in a scale. That for me is the challenge! Selections are pulled from Ivan Galamian’s Contemporary Violin Technique, Vol. One (four octave scales - G diatonic major, G harmonic minor, G melodic minor). Two tempi at the moment.

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Some issues that I find myself often mulling over are: 1) simultaneously acknowledging the inherent gravitational pull towards certain notes and avoiding kinks in the sound, 2) balancing the bow at all parts to produce an even tone, 3) thinking of adjustments in soundpoint on each string and its corresponding ratio between bow weight and bow speed (therefore, bow distribution), 4) avoiding accents in shifts, which even when shifting in a supple way, can happen due to frequency of shifts and resulting changes in momentum - the bow oftentimes can come to the rescue and “disguise” the slide, and 5) bringing out the unique musical interest in each type of scale.

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“Here and there” with scales practicing might become daily now, as I’ve further realized that it is a necessary application of fundamental exercises that one does. The tactile and kinesthetic senses are amplified!

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#violin#violinist#violinscales


Finally continued Ysaÿe’s Solo Sonata no. 2 yesterday - a short hiatus later, found inspiration all of a sudden in approaching the beginning episode that quotes the Dies Irae “Day of the Wrath” from the Catholic Mass for the Dead.

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Slow work in progress... Thinking of how the gestures and momentum pan out.

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#violin#violin#eugèneysaÿe