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Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto - 1st movement

Interpretation Class
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Yoojin Jang (violin) with Dina Vainshtein (piano)

Transcript

(Music Playing)

(Applause)

Well done, very good. So, um Madam doctor, um what is unusual about this cadenza?

Instead of the very last caters right.

It’s in the middle before the recapitulation is the only one isn’t it. Because the cadence, the cadenza, usually comes just before the final cadenza of the piece, and there maybe there’s a coda. Mendelssohn had this extraordinary idea of putting the cadenza in the middle of the piece. Amazing, isn’t that magical, well look, you’re an amazing player, musician, performer you’re ready to go out in the world. I mean really extraordinary and it’s great, great play. You know when I was, I’m 76, when I was your age, playing of this kind was extremely unusual. Now it’s becoming more and more common. The level of playing, I’m it’s like in athletics and everything else I mean it’s just spectacular violin playing and really have to congratulate you on having reached that. And it’s not just your violin playing, also musically it’s very beautiful now I believe you were not in the session before, is that you
were not here.

Yeah.

And I know what you were doing, where you were. You were practicing, weren’t you? Do you know, you need practicing like New York needs more traffic. Right so can you get out of that worrying about will I be ready, will my fingers move. Because if I woke you up at 3 o’clock in the morning, you could play that well, right so you missed a very extraordinary session in which a wonderful young musician played beautifully but where he was thrown into the confusion of two tempe or several tempe and you’re the same. Now you’re not
alone because virtually every single musician who plays this piece plays it that way, and I’m not convinced it’s necessary, because the trouble, is that when he goes to the second theme he actually written in the slowness by using slower notes. You don’t need to add to it by playing more slowly, he’s already written that way, and Mendelssohn is a very interesting composer because he’s not really a romantic, he’s a classical composer, you know he hated Wagner and he loved Berlioz, as a person and hated his music. Isn’t that
interesting he hated Berlioz, his music but he said he loved him as a person, he is so interesting and so fun to be with and he couldn’t see, said his music made him sick, actually physically sick. So Mendelssohn has a kind of a classical structure and so I think you can, let’s look at that, there’s nothing I can say to you which you need, right. All I can say, is share some some thoughts for you to think about. There’s nothing wrong with what you do. Right, second thing is he writes a very interesting Italian title, do you remember what it is the the Italian title at the beginning of the piece. What does he call it?

 

Right, well, that’s very interesting that you don’t know it, and there’s nothing wrong with that because most musicians don’t look at that. But it’s actually very interesting, he writes the word Allegro then he writes the word Molto and then he writes the word Appassionata, and is there a comma in
there somewhere? No so it’s not Allegro, Molto Appassionata and it’s not Allegro Molto, Appassionata its Allegro Molto Appassionata. Okay so I think you could find some more Appassionata feeling by playing it Allegro Molto. That’s my feeling, now I’m just about to play this piece with a very great violinist, Frouchy Judo she’s playing with the Boston Philharmonic in a couple of weeks we’re doing. And incidentally the other two pieces on the programmer are the great romantic works Schumann Manfred, and Elgar First Symphony, and in-between, this gorgeous Mendelssohn heavenly Mendelssohn peace. So she, I don’t know whether I’m going to be able to encourage her to play and what I call in the real Allegro Molto. Which we just try it for fun?

(Music playing)

You know it’s very interesting to say about that passive wall. I mean it’s, because you’ve practices some of every violinist’s and you sound like you’re playing a septique, yeah you played fantastically freely, and then why not. And that will also help her to come in, do the first one.

(Music Playing)

And that make such a difference otherwise the orchestra. It’s your job to get the orchestra another conductor. Well that made a big difference, that’s what I call an Allegro Malto Apassionata. So you’re doing many wonderful things. So much of this music depends on being clear, which are the heavy bars and which are the light bars. And you do it but I think you can do even more.

(Humming)

Should we exaggerate that together?

(Humming and music playing)

There’s a wonderful German phrase, Naimenbie, which means to the side. And that’s what this is. It’s not all (music starts) yeah that.

(Music playing)

You see if you do that then you get that, (humming). They belong together, isn’t that beautiful that’s Naimenbie, isn’t that beautiful. Because there are four concertos Beethoven, four German concertos, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruch, and Mendelssohn. Now that the others are Naimenbie, this is it.

(Music playing)

Yes

(Music playing)

She’s played it faded five thousand times but never that, right. Mendelson looked back, Schubert looked forward, so Mendelssohn’s looking at Bach, he loved Bach and Handel. That’s what he’s doing there, but that was great and you see how much easier it was for her to come in? It was felt great didn’t it? It’s such a difference now, such, so much more interesting. Go on, second phrase. (humming)

Don’t get stuck

(humming and music playing)

And now to the, yes.

(Music playing)

And notice we don’t have to change the tempo here, isn’t that great because, because, Mendelssohn didn’t say a tempo here because he assumed you. Isn’t that fascinating? Because with freedom we did exactly the same with Dominic before. If you are master of Roboto, Roboto is taking time when there’s something in the music that is special, a beautiful harmony, beautiful color dynamic, something in the music that is special. You take time and then you pull the elastic and shhh goes back into tempo. So let’s just try because there are few places in the second theme where you can do even more subtle coloring but. And you notice how pleasant you made it through the winds because you went right into
your low G and they took right over, otherwise you do (humming) and they have to start.

Yeah.

It pulls the music apart it’s a very very interesting thing that composers create tempo change by changing to the note values not by changing the tempo, they change the character by changing the note values, by making fewer notes, they create a different mood but that doesn’t mean you have to play it slow. It’s a really beautiful thing, should we try from there.

(Music playing)

Now I would just slide that. (Music continues) The other way from underneath, L notes, L notes. No no, yeah. That’s it.

Yes. Beautiful piano.

(Applause)

And no one wants you to stop that’s the best thing, no one, not one person says oh thank goodness she stopped. Nobody’s feeling that because we love listening to you play and all I’m doing is adding in just a little bit more thinking, it’s actually thinking which will make you into really, I mean just an amazing artist with great playing and beautiful spirit you have, really. Beautiful spirit, so really fun to listen to you, it’s great to play with you, isn’t it lovely. And this gives you a little bit more coherence to the music, okay. What a pleasure it’s a privilege to hear you, thank you.

Thank you.

(Applause)

Veronica Easterbrook
The soloist found something extra; the accompanist was inspired; the audience added to their own pleasure and I loved Mendelssohn a little bit more. Inspiring.
Dan Oliver
Damn. I need to practice.
Mahmoud Shehata
Am I the only one who thinks this is a perfect example of how to actually give feedback?

Barry H
Have loved this concerto for as long as I remember, but Ms Jang's playing stopped me in my tracks after only a few bars. She definitely has 'it' and I'm certain she has a brilliant career ahead of her. Zander brings out the nuances and his musicality makes this one of the best interpretations I've ever heard. I actually got goosebumps Would love to hear her do the whole thing with an orchestra and Zander conducting. That really would be something to relish.
violinhunter2
One of the principal roles of a teacher - especially at this level - is to inspire and motivate his pupils and that is what Maestro Zander is quite able to do. Bravo!
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