“Dynamism and drama... evidently born to be a conductor.” Peter Bloch/La Razón (NYC)
Welcome to Musical Reflections. It's great to have the opportunity
to share thoughts from my readings that have been particularly insightful.
Please contact me below with your thoughts - it would be most interesting to hear your ideas...
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART "Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life"
(From Vienna, dated April 11, 1791, to his father in Salzburg)
“I forgot to tell you the other day that the Sinfonie was Magnifique, it was a complete Success—we had 40 violins—the wind instruments had been doubled—10 violas— 10 contrabasses, 8 violoncellos, and 6 bassoons." Pg. 243
RICHARD WAGNER "Wagner on Conducting"
"Flat and empty pseudo-culture confronts us with a grin, and if we are not inclined to grin in return, as superficial observers of our civilization are wont to do, we may indeed grow seriously indignant.
"...it is a characteristic trait of pseudo-culture not to insist too much, not to enter deeply into a subject or, as the phrase goes, not to make much fuss about anything. Thus whatever is high, great and deep, is treated as a matter of course, a commonplace, naturally at everybody's beck and call; something that can be readily acquired, and, if need be, imitated. Again, that which is sublime, god-like, demonic, must not be dwelt upon, simply because it is impossible or difficult to copy." Pg. 74
“For nine months I studied the role of Mélisande with the composer. Debussy was a man of very few words, and thank goodness he didn’t find much to criticize. This was probably due to my Mozartian upbringing, for I have always approached the interpretation of Debussy as though he were a modern Mozart.” Pg. 88
JOHANN JOACHIM QUANTZ "On Playing the Flute" (c. 1752)
"In an Adagio the notes that provide motion beneath the concertante [solo] part may be considered as half staccato, even if no little strokes stand above them, and hence a little pause may be observed after each note." Pg. 232
DENNIS SHROCK "Performance Practices in the Baroque Era as related by primary sources"
SEVERO BONINI "Discourses and Rules on Music" (c. 1650)
"Signor Giovanbattista [Jacomelli] del Violino flourished as a violinist in Florence. He was called 'del Violino' on account of the excellence of his smooth and long bowings, which in truth delighted the hearing supremely." Pg. 238
THOMAS MACE "Musick's Monument" (1676) (Part 3, Ch. 6 "Concerning the Viol and Musick in General")
"...attempt the Striking of your Strings but before you do That, Arm your self with Preparative Resolution to gain a Handsom-Smooth-Sweet-art Clear-Stroak or else Play not at all..." Pg. 238
JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU viola da gamba treatise (1687)
"The playing of accompaniment must be linked with long strokes of the Bow which follow one another without interruption of sound..." Pg. 239
GEORG MUFFAT "Florilegium Secundum" (1698)
"The majority of German violinists and other players of upper string instruments hold the bow as the French do... pressing the hair with the thumb... The Italians, among others, differ in playing these upper instruments in that they never touch the hair... all the finest masters, regardless of their nationality, agree with each other that the longer, steadier, sweeter, and more even the bow-stroke is, the finer it is considered..." Pg. 239
AMY BEACH "Music's Ten Commandments as Given for Young Composers"
"Remember that technic is valuable only as a means to an end. You must first have something to say - something which demands expression from the depths of your soul.
EVGENY KISSIN "Evgeny Kissin, Memoirs & Reflections"
"... a few weeks later, when a week before the death of Claudio Arrau I played for him, he praised Anna Pavlovna, who was present, for teaching me to play forte in the same way that his teacher Martin Krause, a pupil of Liszt, had done: using the weight of all of the arm from the shoulder, so that it would sound noble and beautiful." Pg. 55
JOHANN JOACHIM QUANTZ "On Playing the Flute"
"To excite the different passions the dissonances must be struck more strongly than the consonances. Consonances make the spirit peaceful and tranquil; dissonances, on the other hand, disturb it. Just as an uninterrupted pleasure, of whatever kind it might be, would weaken and exhaust our capacities for remaining sensitive to it... so a long series of pure consonances would eventually cause the ear distaste and displeasure, if they were not mingled now and then with disagreeable sounds such as those produced by dissonances. The more, then, that a dissonance is distinguished and set off from the other notes in playing, the more it affects the ear. But the more displeasing the disturbance of our pleasure, the more agreeable the ensuing pleasure seems to us. Thus the harsher the dissonance, the more pleasing is its resolution. Without this mixture, of agreeable and disagreeable sounds, music would no longer be able now to arouse the different passions instantly, now to still them again." Pg. 254