Thursday, January 04, 2007

Violin Geek Ramblings

This morning, the local classical radio station played one of the Seitz concertos (performed by Perlman). I knew he’d made a CD of the student repertoire, but never bothered to check it out. (Because REALLY, who wants a recording of the Seitz or Accolay??)

For those of you who aren’t violin geeks – Friedrich Seitz is a looser composer who wrote a couple of student violin concertos.
You’ve never heard of him, because the only worthwhile thing he ever wrote were a couple of stupid student violin concertos. They are difficult to learn (psychologically more so then technically) and even when you get a pro like Perlman to play it, it still sounds like a stupid cheesy student piece.
(You go through all the work to learn the piece, and have NOTHING to show for it).

But once you learn the darn thing – it sticks with you forever. As it was playing on the radio this morning, I was still able to finger (and “air-violin”) along.
(Especially on the second page of the third movement with the crazy slurs + 4th finger + string crossings) ick ick ewww!

The homeless guy (who was at the street corner trying to collect change from stopped traffic) thought I was crazy.
He didn’t even make eye contact with me.
(Usually it’s the other way around).

And now it is Seitz Storytime
One upon a time my teacher thought it would be good for me to play for a master class with Jonathan Sturm.
And there was much fear and trembling throughout the land.
Jonathan was a terrific local player - and had a reputation for being . . . Jonathan Sturn-like.

So I played it.
Just like Jennifer taught me
(with bow lifts after the second note).

And then, on the second page (where it gets really scary) my nerves got the best of me
and my fingers got mixed up,
and the memorization was forgotten,
and it was bad.

And then Jonathan yelled at me.

He didn’t like the bow lifts that Jennifer TOLD me to do.
He was angry that the memorization wasn’t good enough
(And I think he was a little insulted to be coaching a Seitz concerto – after all he was the great Jonathan and student concertos were SOOOO beneath him).

That Mean Man made me cry.
Of course I pretended that it was allergies.
But really – he was just too mean for me.

* * *

The person who played after me was named Ben.
Ben was a great player who’d taken lessons for forever.
Ben was a naturally nervous fella – and playing for Jonathan made him a little more scared.
And, after seeing Jonathan beat up me, Ben got off the charts nervous.
The poor boy was shaking

After Ben played (Vitali Chaconne) Jonathan strongly encouraged him to start taking drugs to control his nerves.

Up until that point in my life – the only thing I’d ever heard adults say were along the lines of “Drugs are BAD!” “Just Say No!” “Walk Away and Tell a Grown Up”. To hear a non-doctor adult in authority tell someone to take drugs was VERY disconcerting. Especially since Ben most of his nervousness was caused by Jonathan being mean.
It made me a little angry. (Which was good; being angry at Jonathan felt better than being scared of him).

That’s my Seitz story.
The End.