Posts Tagged 'Sheet Music Plus'

Q&A: Everything is better with music — (via Oxford University Press)

Vanessa Reilly is a teacher, OUP author and teacher trainer. In this post, she answers some of the questions from her recent ‘Everything is better with music’ webinar. 1,248 more words

via Q&A: Everything is better with music — Oxford University Press

Music and Sports: Why Do Both? (via Alfred Music)

Commentary by Austin Hennen Vigil

Music and sports go hand-in-hand better than you might think.

Many experts in the music and sports fields believe that with the amount of time it takes to master either an instrument or a sport, it is impossible to truly master both. They are too distinct from one another, and no one has enough free time to become a master of both. Featured in the article, Micheline Ostermeyer, a French Olympic gold medalist in the shot put, and professional concert pianist, is a rare case of an individual who has mastered both an instrument and a sport. She said that the skills that it takes to master the shot put, helped her in her mastery of the piano. Both music and sports can benefit one another, and getting better in one skill makes it easier to master the other.

Playing organized sports from kindergarten through college, and playing both saxophone and guitar since the age of 9, I can confidently say sports helped my musical ability, and music helped my athletic ability. The creativity, improvisation, timing, attention to detail, execution, and self-discipline I developed when playing guitar and saxophone benefitted me on the sports field/court. Skills I learned when playing sports, such as dealing with stress and anxiety, motivation that fuels improvement, going the extra mile when tired, focus, teamwork, leadership, and confidence helped me during performance and practice on my saxophone and guitar.

For more information on the benefits of participating in both music and sports, read the original blog post written by Liz Hinley on the Alfred Music blog.

Mozart’s C Minor Mass K. 427 – A New Edition

Guest post by Dr. Uwe Wolf

The problems posed for anyone who wants to publish a performable version of the C Minor Mass are not new. Various solutions have been adopted, some more successful and some less. Nevertheless, we have taken up this composition once again, viewing it from the perspectives of both practicing musicians and scholars, out of a certain dissatisfaction with previous attempts and the conviction that many of the attempted solutions no longer correspond with current practice. In our edition we have attempted to produce a performing version while maintaining the greatest respect for available material and without obscuring Mozart’s musical manuscript with our own contributions. This has turned out to be no easy task. We have spent a great deal of time pondering and discussing alongside a great deal of experimentation which has been a richly rewarding experience for us all.

Continue reading ‘Mozart’s C Minor Mass K. 427 – A New Edition’

Performance Practice: Interview with musicologist and Bärenreiter editor Clive Brown

Question: You are very well known for your pioneering work in performance practice. The term and all its ramifications are gaining in recognition and application today. Where does performance practice have its origins?

Clive Brown: It’s not a new thing. Already in the early 19th century people were concerned about performing the music of older composers in the style appropriate to it. When the 21-year-old violinist Spohr played in Leipzig in 1804, Friedrich Rochlitz admired ‘his insight into the spirit of different compositions, and his artistry in reproducing each in its own spirit’, which he had not observed to this extent in the playing of other musicians. Rochlitz found this particularly impressive in his quartet playing where he was ‘almost completely another person when he, for example, plays Beethoven (his darling, whom he handles splendidly), or Mozart (his ideal), or Rode (whose grandiosity he knows very well how to assume, without any scratching or scraping, yielding little to him, particularly in fullness of tone), or when he plays Viotti and galant composers: he is a different person, because they are different people.

Around the same time people were concerned that the proper tempos for Haydn and Mozart were being forgotten. In the second decade of the 19th century, Salieri provided Mälzel’s metronome with marks for Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, of which he had directed the premiere, and Gottfried Weber wrote an article about un-authentic tempos in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. During the next few decades interest in certain aspects of performing practice was also apparent in attempts by musicians such as Pierre Baillot, Ignaz Moscheles, and François-Joseph Fetis to revive earlier repertoire using old instruments. In mid-century, however, the veteran Spohr complained that people had already forgotten how to play the music of his youth in the manner expected by its composers. Towards the end of the 19th century Arnold Dolmetsch, a violin pupil of the Franco-Belgian violinist Hubert Léonard, championed the performance of Baroque music on old instruments; as his bowed and fingered edition of Corelli’s op. 5 Sonatas demonstrates, however, he seems to have played it in an essentially 19th-century style, even including portamento! The 20th-century period performance movement has been focused mainly on using period instruments and, as Richard Taruskin has trenchantly argued, the so-called ‘authentic’ performing style of the second half of the 20th century owed more to Stravinsky than to historical evidence. That style of playing Baroque music on period instruments, widely taught in conservatoires by its proponents, became such a valuable commercial product that, when interest extended to playing classical and romantic music on period instruments, it was essentially the techniques of modern Baroque performance that were extended to the later repertoire with only minor modifications. From my recent work with performers I sense a growing interest especially among talented young musicians, to experiment more boldly with the largely forgotten practices that were such an important part of late 18th– and 19th-century music making.

Q: What brought you to the study of performance practice issues?

CB: My interest in this field grew progressively during the late 1970s and 1980s. My doctoral dissertation was primarily concerned with reception history, focusing on The popularity and influence of Spohr in England, where his reputation as one of the great composer’s was particularly strong during the 19th century. Of course, Spohr’s music was of particularly interest to me, as an active violinist. I was especially intrigued by the care with which he marked up his violin music with bowing and fingering, and that, in his 1833 Violinschule, he explained his ideas about violin playing in such detail. But while I was working on my dissertation and my subsequent critical biography of Spohr (Cambridge University Press, 1984), this was of secondary importance.

Q: What surprised you? What was the first eye-opening finding or revelation that got you “hooked” on the subject?

Even before I began to come to grips with the implications of Spohr’s performance markings and the instructions in his Violinschule, I had become increasingly aware of the fact that modern violin techniques were in many respects very different from those of the past. I enjoyed regular quartet playing with a small group of like-minded professional string players; we met weekly when we were all in Oxford together and played mostly from old Peters Editions copies of standard classical repertoire, edited by 19th-century musicians such as Ferdinand David, Joseph Joachim and Andreas Moser. I found that my modern bowing style, with its frequent use of the lower half of the bow for crisp separation of the notes, was obviously not what these editors expected; I would often come to a long note marked with an up-bow sign while I was playing near the heel of the bow. The fingering too seemed strange and uncomfortable, and the marking of open strings and natural harmonics on long notes was obviously incompatible with my modern continuous vibrato. There were also many places where the same finger was used in legato passages for different notes, or where position changes were marked in a legato context that could not be accomplished without sliding. Naturally, like other modern players I had become accustomed, when playing from old editions of this kind (there were fewer Urtexts available in those days), to changing most of the fingering so that I could play cleanly without audible slides. Gradually, however, all these things began to come together and rather than ignoring or changing the old markings I started trying to make them work. At that time, early recordings of musicians such as Joseph Joachim were becoming more easily available. Listening to these helped me begin to understand the sonic implications of the old bowing and fingering, and I began working with some of the musicians, such as Christopher Hogwood, Roger Norrington, Roy Goodman, John Holloway and the Eroica Quartet, who were beginning to explore the performance of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven on period instruments during the 1980s. This led me to publish my first article specifically on performing practice: ‘Bowing Styles, Vibrato and Portamento in Nineteenth-century Violin Playing’ (Journal of the Royal Musical Association cxiii/1 (1988), 97-128).

Q: Do you have a special area or period that interests you particularly?

CB: During the whole of the 1980s I was teaching academic music at Oxford University, and shortly after the publication of the article on bowing, vibrato and portamento, Oxford University Press invited me to write a book on performing practice, which I finished in 1995 and which was eventually published in 1999 as Classical and Romantic Performing Practice 1750-1900.

That period has remained the main focus of my work on performing practice since then. I have learned, and continue to learn about the extraordinary differences between the ways professional musicians currently understand and respond to the notion of 18th– and 19th-century music and the ways in which Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms and their contemporaries understood it. This inspires me to seek more effective ways of communicating that knowledge to practicing musicians. With the information available to us, we can never, of course, perform as they performed – nor would it be desirable if we could; but we can discover much about the parameters of performance at that time and the expressive resources that musicians employed to transform a merely ‘correct’ performance into a ‘beautiful’ one. Perhaps the most important lesson we can learn is that being as faithful as possible to the literal meaning of the notation (an idea that is still firmly embedded in much of our current music making) is certainly not what the composers of that time expected or wanted. Beethoven, Mendelssohn or Brahms would have been shocked at such an idea. As Joseph Joachim expressed it, an accomplished musician would not have been content with fidelity to the ‘dead note heads’, but would have learned how to ‘read between the lines’.

Q: Together with Kate Bennett Wadsworth and Neal Peres Da Costa you recently edited the complete Brahms chamber music for one instrument and piano. Is there one aspect in particular from your editions that you hear from players and teachers has affected their playing and interpretations?

CB: Since our edition appeared in print I have been invited to work on Brahms sonatas with young musicians in conservatories in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium Holland, France, Norway, the USA, and Poland, and have found not only students but also teachers very open to experimentation with unfamiliar approaches to performing these works. Many of the students, with advanced technical skills, are quick to integrate these ideas into their playing. Aspects that have initially aroused the greatest interest are enhanced flexibility of rhythm and tempo (especially agogic accent and compensatory rubato), for violinists the employment of expressive portamento and a more ornamental approach to vibrato, and for pianists the use of extemporary arpeggiation and asynchrony between the hands.

Q: You have been involved in a unique edition of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto op. 64 – which will be published by Barenreiter shortly – including a recently found important source. Brahms was still a child when Mendelssohn wrote this work. How would you describe the differences in performance practice between these two composers?

CB: There is no doubt that performing style continued to develop between the 1830s and the 1890s, but in many respects this happened in ways that it is impossible for us to envisage. Change was undoubtedly gradual, and also different for different locations and different repertoires. Many of the fundamental responses to notation by musicians that were associated with the German mainstream, however, remained relatively constant. Joseph Joachim serves as a bridge between Mendelssohn, whom he played with regularly as a teenager, and Brahms, whose music he championed throughout the composer’s career. And other prominent musicians such as Ferdinand David (1810-1873) and Carl Reinecke (1824-1910), the oldest important performer to make recordings, were associated with both composers. There is no doubt that these musicians treated their musical heritage with great reverence and sought to preserve what they regarded as its essential stylistic features.

Q: Why do you think it is important for musicians to investigate performance practice issues?

CB: Tastes in musical performance are constantly changing; more than a century of recording clearly demonstrates. The question is: where do we go in the future? If we still want to perform the great music of the past, and in doing so to get as close to the composer’s conception as possible, we could and, in my opinion, should enrich our technical and expressive resources with well-documented practices that are currently forgotten or neglected, and learn once more how to respond to the hidden messages that lie behind the notation of classical and romantic music. In doing so, we can give new life to compositions that are in danger of becoming stale through stereotypical or stylistically questionable repetition. I firmly believe that, if classical music is to retain or even enhance its cultural significance, the rising generation of musicians must engage more courageously with the historical evidence. By doing so they can hope to recapture the full measure of freshness, beauty, and excitement that composer’s expected their notation to convey to skillful performers and through them to the listener.

Shop Bärenreiter editions edited by Clive Brown on Sheet Music Plus

Shop all Bärenreiter editions on Sheet Music Plus

 

John Cage’s In a Landscape and more than a score…

By Jacy Burroughs

John Cage’s In a Landscape from more than the score… series

When I learned about John Cage for the first time as an undergraduate music major, I was only instructed in his most avant-garde concepts: the infamous 4’33”, his prepared piano pieces, and his chance compositions, some of which he composed using the I Ching (an ancient Chinese divination text, also known as the Book of Changes.) I recently heard a recording of Adam Tendler performing Cage’s piano solo In a Landscape. If I had not read on the score that the music was by Cage, I would not have believed it. It was so beautiful, and honestly, that’s not an adjective I would associate with Cage’s music.

I was sure there are others who share similar misconceptions about Cage’s music with me, so when I had the opportunity to meet Adam Tendler, I jumped at the chance.  Adam Tendler works closely with the John Cage Trust and has performed Cage’s music internationally. He has also recorded video masterclasses and performances of Cage’s music for Tido Music, a groundbreaking web resource and iPad app. The videos were produced by Edition Peters, John Cage’s sole publisher, and are housed in the app’s Piano Masterworks collection.

And now Peters has just released a new sheet music print series, more than the score…, which can be used alongside the video masterclasses and digital editions in Tido Music. The series includes In a Landscape, presented by Tendler. As a leading interpreter of Cage’s works, I knew Adam would have encountered the whole spectrum of opinions of Cage. Here is an excerpt of my interview with him.

Continue reading ‘John Cage’s In a Landscape and more than a score…’

Top 10 Facts About Claude Debussy

Written by: Austin Hennen Vigil

Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Paris

Claude Debussy was a famous French composer that was born on August 22nd, 1862, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. The town is located near Paris and he was the oldest of five children.

He was a prominent musician who was known as the founder of Impressionist music and was one of the most influential/highly regarded composers in the world during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. March 25, 2018 was the 100th anniversary of his death, so in his honor here are 10 facts about the legendary French composer of which you may not have been aware:

Continue reading ‘Top 10 Facts About Claude Debussy’

UNFINISHED: Tradition and Completion of Mozart’s C Minor Mass

Guest post by Uwe Wolf, Chief Editor of Carus-Verlag

 

What an amazing story! Mozart makes a vow to compose a mass after the successful birth of his first-born child. The performance is planned on the occasion of his first journey with his wife to Salzburg so he can introduce her to his family – both personally and musically, for Constanze is to sing one of the demanding soprano parts. But the baby, left behind with a wet-nurse in Vienna, then dies, and Mozart stops work on the composition – precisely at the Et incarnatus est, one of his most beautiful and heartfelt movements, dealing with the subject of the incarnation, i.e. birth. Too much of a coincidence? Probably. Continue reading ‘UNFINISHED: Tradition and Completion of Mozart’s C Minor Mass’

Top 10 Interesting Facts About Frédéric Chopin

By Austin Hennen Vigil 

Frédéric Chopin was a Polish music composer and pianist of the Romantic era who wrote mainly for the solo piano. He was born on March 1st, 1810 and grew up in Warsaw, Poland, and then lived in Paris for his adult life. His life unfortunately ended early, and will be discussed in this article. Here are 10 facts you may not know about the legendary Chopin:

Continue reading ‘Top 10 Interesting Facts About Frédéric Chopin’

Top 10 Facts About the Guitar

By Austin Hennen Vigil

The guitar is the world’s second most popular musical instrument, after the piano, and has evolved tremendously over centuries.
The word “guitar” was adopted into English from the Spanish word “guitarra” in the 1600s. Guitars are used in many different genres of music such as: rock, metal, punk, pop, folk, country, traditional, regional, and the blues. Here are some facts about the guitar that you may not know:
Continue reading ‘Top 10 Facts About the Guitar’

Flip FeedBACK to FeedFORWARD at Piano Lessons (via 88 Piano Keys)

A podcast has my wheels turning and I’m excited to share it with you! Jennifer Gonzales, from Cult of Pedagogy, held an interview with Joe Hirsch, a fourth grade teacher and author of The Feedback Fix: Dump the Past, Embrace the Future and Lead the Way to Change. Before reading further, you may just want…

via Flip FeedBACK into FeedFORWARD at Piano Lessons — 88 Piano Keys


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Thought-provoking articles by musicians for musicians, music lovers or those that want to learn more about it!

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