One aspect of my life I have not talked about very much on this blog is my violin playing. I have been playing since middle school and played in a youth orchestra throughout middle school and high school (youth orchestra was amazing and the only thing that kept me sane – I despised middle school and high school).
I started taking lessons about two months after I started playing and continued doing so until two months ago, when I had my last lesson at my university’s music department a few weeks before graduation. Since starting university, I have played a lot of Mozart. During my final year, we (my teacher and I) worked on Mozart’s Adagio in E major, K. 261. For my jury after second year, I played the slow movement from Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4, K. 218.
As you can see, that’s a lot of Mozart. One of the few non-Mozart works I played was the slow movement from the Tchaikovsky violin concerto.
So I came home from university and was not playing very much. I felt uninspired – until this past Sunday, when I decided to give the first movement from the Beethoven violin concerto a try. I have long admired that concerto, but have never been able to play it. My practice session actually went quite well. I only got through the first two pages, but that’s an accomplishment because it is very difficult.
Yesterday, I was actually eager to practice. Playing Beethoven has rekindled my love for the violin.
Note: I chose all the recordings I’ve linked to very deliberately. Please listen to them if you like classical music or want to discover more about the genre. Some of the violinists playing in the videos I’ve linked to are Arthur Grumiaux (my favorite violinist EVER), Henryk Szeryng (he allegedly drank a lot of vodka before performing because he never got over his stage fright, but I can’t understand why he had stage fright, as he was an excellent violinist), and David Oistrakh (he was an incredible player). The embedded video is a recording of Christian Ferras, who spoiled Grumiaux’s Beethoven for me. Grumiaux’s recording of the Beethoven violin concerto was my favorite until I discovered Ferras. In fact, Ferras was amazing in every way possible and I think I may write an entire post expressing my love for him. As you’ll notice, there are no bad, modern players here – you will never find me promoting Joshua Bell on this blog! (Of course, not all modern players are bad, but Joshua Bell represents everything that is wrong with modern violin playing, with his saccharine-sweet tone, ridiculous slides, and absurd, exaggerated movements.