Monday, November 19, 2007

Real Mozart

Noah's string quartet first met, thanks to his persistent requests, last January. In less than a year, with the summer off, they've made a lot of progress. In the past few weeks they've taken on their first non-student edition of a real string quartet -- the first movement of Mozart's Quartet in C Major, K. 157. There are, shall we say, some 'issues' with rhythmic transitions, and some small technical challenges in the violin parts, but overall they're handling the music well, and it's not too much of a stretch, either in terms of technical skill or ensemble-playing ability. The growth in this ensemble is very impressive!

They're doing an eclectic mix of repertoire, from Beatles to folk tunes to Christmas music to Schubert and Mozart. Noah's sight-reading has really kicked in over the past few months, and he's holding his own well in the group even when he's never seen the music before. His musical instincts are dead-on as always -- the new thing is that he now has the confidence to trust them.

Earlier in the afternoon we rehearsed a couple of movements arranged from Vivaldi's "Winter" from "the Seasons" with a slightly different group of seven mixed-age violinists and violists. The Largo is arranged for soloist and concertante accompaniment by four other players. Noah is playing what is, in the original, the basso continuo line, the foundation of bass notes on which the whole thing rests. He's all alone on that part and he just waltzed in, put it up on the stand, and played it beautifully, with the perfect amount of vibrato, the right bowstroke, and the musical sensitivity required to follow the soloist's rhythmic inaccuracies and complement her dynamics. It's so nice to see his reading skills catching up to all his other musical skills. He's now a very big asset in our student ensembles.

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