Enfants prodiges have always been present in classical music: Mozart, Mendelssohn and Liszt were astonishing pianists and composers already at 12 year-old, and their artistic growth kept the excellent results of their early age. But it is not always the case. Today we can see several children or teens who can play the piano or the violin with an astonishing technical control, but this does not always bring to a great artistic career. The following article on The Independent looks into this problem and also raises important questions regarding the interaction between a early intense musical practice and the presence (or absence) of true artistic goals and achievements.
Playing a musical score by heart is a very common task for professional concert pianists today. Also from string and wind soloists are usually expected to play by memory when performing the solo part of a concerto with orchestra. Still, learning a score by memory can be a difficult achievement and could increase the stage fright. Since each professional concert performer has to deal with this matter, tips and tricks to improve the memory are always welcome from musicians.
A very interesting experiment about music teaching has been done in Stockholm in the Klara pre school, with the support of Folksam company. The project, called “Mini Maestro” was led by the Swedish conductor and oboist Jan Risberg, who taught a piano piece by Eric Satie, the Gymnopedie n. 1, to 15 children aged between 2 and 5.
The French world “encore” simply mean “again” and commonly indicates a short piece to be performed at the end of a concert. This is an ancient tradition, as we can found the first written description of an encore on “The Spectator” newspaper in 1712. Today, the encore is a very important part of a concert, even if not included in the official program. Just because thanks to its surprising element, it gives a particular excitement and enjoyment to the performance.
The music critic Zachary Woolfe offers an interesting analysis of the different types of encores and of the several meanings and senses that the encore can have in todays concert life; you can read the full article HERE
Swiss conductor Baldur Brönniman listed ten suggestions to improve the classical music listening experience. A very surprising list of tips, breaking some very strong traditions. If the audience could use their mobile phones during the concerts and clap between the movements, we would have a better music sharing, says Baldur. You can find the full article, from his personal blog following THIS LINK
The October 2014 issue of The Strad Magazine, reports on the investigation into a recently rediscovered contralto viola by Girolamo Amati. The study involved CT scanning, macro photography and 3D imaging. At the following link it is possible to watch an impressive video with a 360-degree rendering of the viola’s interior, made by Violinforensic, using scans taken at the Vienna Micro-CT Lab.