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V.T.C.M.A. – 4

Check out this excellent video of the 1972 composition, A Flight of Virtuosity, for Six Handclappers, by Greg A. Steinke. This performance was conducted by Stephen Rochford (and featured my friend and colleague, Alan Mautner as one of the handclappers!). Stick with it – there is a moment in the middle that is especially hilarious! Thanks to Kay Pech for sharing this!

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Congratulations to James for the official unveiling of his incredible new site – Music Program Notes!!

“Music Program Notes is a free, volunteer-powered, collaborative database of program notes for all genres and ensemble types, and anyone is welcome to contribute or use the program notes in our database for any non-commercial or educational purpose.”

You can read more about the site, and James’ comments on it, here.

I highly recommend this site as a great resource for notes on music history and performance, and I really hope to see this idea flourish. If you have any knowledge on at least one piece of music, please don’t hesitate to submit a little note on it! Not only will you be contributing to the preservation of music education, but your participation in a worldwide community project can be a wonderful source for networking with others in the music field.

I’m always excited to see opportunities for members from all facets of the music community to unite and share knowledge, and I hope you will come join us!

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Excellent Online Source – Quinn Violins

I have the great pleasure of being invited to play with Collegium Musicum, an Early Music ensemble at CGU in April (more details on the performance to follow shortly…). Well, to do so, I needed to purchase a set of gut strings for my Tommy – it would not suit the performance for my brilliant Evah Pirazzi‘s to sing out brighter than the rest of the ensemble’s more mellow gut strings!

Anyway, in my search for the Pirastro Chorda set (Medium gauge) – which my Baroque violin teacher specifically instructed me to purchase, to best accommodate the more modern set-up of my instrument – I first tried my usual search through Woodwind Brasswind‘s collection, but I could not find the specific sizes of Chorda that I needed. So, after some surfing on Google, I was delighted to stumble upon a Minnesota based shop – Quinn Violins. As you can see from the above links, their prices are the best I’ve seen so far! As an example, the only other site I found with these specific strings was Shar, and their pricing was $30 higher than Quinn’s!!!!

Needless to say, that encouraged me to try this shop out! And I’m very glad I did. They were very prompt in sending my strings out to me – I received them, nicely packaged, in only a few days. Though I hadn’t received confirmation that they had shipped, when I emailed to ask for confirmation, they sent a friendly and prompt response to let me know when I could expect them to arrive. I believe I’m going to try purchasing my regular Evah’s from them next! So, kudos to Quinn Violins; keep up the great work! 8)


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This is to say,….Videos That Caught My Attention. 😀

I just really like these two music videos… perhaps this will inspire a multi-media variation on my spontaneous “Thought for the Day”s.

The first is a clip from Bollywood‘s excellent film, Devdas. There are several moments I enjoy from it (one of these days maybe I’ll actually see the film… hee hee…), for the melodies, Indian instrumentation, rhythms, dancing, lavish sets… this one is titled “Silsila Ye Chaahat Ka”.

“And now for something completely different!”

This next video caught my attention as I was searching the internet for material to use in this Monday’s MIDI Band concert of Video Game Music. Created by a user who goes by 42project, this is a music video detailing the adventures of a certain avatar through the many ages and mysteries of URU, set to Fatboy Slim‘s “Right Here, Right Now”.

What can say? I’m a HUGE Myst and URU fan!! 😛

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Announcing Two New Compositions

Two more compositions come to a satisfying close and are ready for listening enjoyment!

The first is Blessings and Harmony, a darling violin solo of Victorian charm written specially for my dear friend, Yvonne, on her wedding day. It was a great success, and it was my pleasure to offer it to her and her new husband Michael on their beautiful day!

The second is my second GarageBand “remix”, titled, Dreamscape. It definitely has a different feel than Vortex Warped – an energetic, sometimes intense, feel – and it was still so much fun to put together! Every time I doodle around in that program, I discover more great loops to use in future projects. 🙂


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‘A Sort of Cat-Music’

I just cracked up when I read these newspaper reviews of Schoenberg‘s works between 1913 and 1914 (as quoted in “Early Music Defended against its Devotees: A Theory of Historical Performance in the Twentieth Century” found on pages 297-322 of the Summer 1983 issue of the Musical Quarterly, article by Laurence Dreyfus):

Warning: some very dramatic language and heated emotion displayed below! The expressed feelings of the authors are not shared with, well, me. 🙂

Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony – self-torture of a flagellant who whips himself with a cat-o’-nine-tails while cursing himself! When a conglomeration of horns pushes upwards through the strings, it sounds like the words, “You, monster!” A hideous modern sound of the scourge! Schoenberg’s unappeasable nature is made clear: reckless self-mutilation and a reckless admission: “I am like that!” A sort of cat-music, whining, wailing, desperate…Schoenberg is uncontrolled…He bares his breast in a fury of penitence and shows his scars–and the spectacle is shocking. And yet, if people mention Brahms’s chastity, one ought to speak of Schoenberg’s shamelessness. [Ernst Decsey, (Berlin) Signale, Feb. 4, 1914]

Continue reading ‘A Sort of Cat-Music’

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Bad News-Good News in Flight

I received this fascinating (and distressing) note from Kay Pech a little while ago:

9/3/06 – According to the Sunday Times – Scotland, Nicola Benedetti may be forced to scrap her tour of China because she has been banned from carrying her £500,000 violin as hand luggage under airline security measures. “The former BBC Young Musician of the Year is due to fly to China next week to play three concerts with the City of London Sinfonia in Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai. However, severe restrictions on hand luggage introduced following the recent terror scare mean that Benedetti would be forced to put her Guarneri violin in the hold. The violinist fears that the irreplaceable 18th-century instrument, which was given to her by her father, could be damaged during the journey….Steve Abbott, Benedetti’s manager, and Elaine Baines Robins, the general manager of the City of London Sinfonia, are now in urgent talks with officials at the German airline Lufthansa to save the tour.”

Continue reading Bad News-Good News in Flight

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Practice, Practice!

Today, I came across a wonderful article by Laurie Niles (but, then, she always writes beautiful articles!), about her “revelation” at the Colorado Suzuki Institute.

“We were watching the recital hour…when about 35 students came to the stage to receive an award.” These students had made a pledge to practice every day for a year!! Afterwards, all in the audience were asked if they would like to make a stand and proclaim the same pledge for themselves.

How many of us can say we’ve done that? And, for those who can and continue to hold to a daily practice regimen, I’ve a feeling you would say there’s no better way to go about it, that you’ve really “found the true way of practicing.”

Continue reading Practice, Practice!