Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mendelssohn Violin Concerto by Helena Spitkova

Unknown female violinist (at least I can't find more info on net) done Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor which I listened to for years. Her name is Helena Spitkova and I listening to CD of  Music for Million series, published by Sonia Classic. The orchestra is Philharmonia Slavonica by Alberto Lizzio. This interpretation is my very first for Mendelssohn's and it is served as a standard for me. A good standard I must say.

Update: see this link for more info on the violinist

Mendelssohn concerto is my most favorite for this genre. I like the idea to have a very balance between violin virtuoso (hey, we want that since this is a concerto right??) , an orchestration, a melody line and overall finish. Some works very close to this, Paganini's no.2 'La Campanella' is close to this, but general believe is Paganini's lack in orchestration but strong in melody and virtuosoic. The other extreme, which I also really like, are Joseph Joachim 'Hungarian' violin concerto, very virtuosic but the melody a bit loose and Brahm's violin concerto get a GREAT orchestration, but not purposely to show violin playing in its great.

For now, please listen to this buried gem, performed by Helena Spitkova. Please comments to me if you know more about her. VIDEO

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Violinist Tree from Viotti to current

I just finished compiled a massive Violinist’s Tree. This is a tree telling who teachs who in world of violinist. Started from the day of Viotti to current young violinist like Sarah Chang , Hillary Hahn and Julia Fischer. The source of this information is Wikipedia only. Here you can see that Hillary Hahn is the grand grand grand of Viotti who is grand grand grand student of Archangelo Corelli. I try to search all available big name of violinist and perhaps missed lots of name. I will try to revised this tree in other time, but now please see what I’ve done.

There seems to be two type of violinist school, the Leopold Auer School and Eugene Ysaye School. Their offspring can be read in the Tree. Note also where Shinichi Suzuki was, who famous for his Suzuki method. For newer generation there is Dorothy DeLay and Ivan Galamian of Julliard, who I can’t find reliable source for her teacher, DeLay were responsible for most of today great violinist, just google her name to find out more about her student.

Feedback and comments are more than welcome, and thanks for reading. See attached picture, in this Tree solid line means direct teaching relation while dashed line mean influenced and/or connected to.

addendum 1: Rodolphe Kreutzer teacher was Anton Stamitz, who teached by his father Johann Stamitz. I meantioned this because Kreutzer is a bit important of branch.

ver 2, added Shlomo Mintz,Anne Akiko Meyers,Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Salvatore Accardo, Antal Szalai, Ilya Kaler, James Ehnes and many more.

addendum 2: Added tree for Pablo Sarasate and Kreisler, also for Zakhar Bron School who produce Chloe Hanslip and friends, note that I can't find who is Zakhar Bron's teacher(s). Added Elmar Oliveira also.

addendum 3 : Added tree for Frank Peter Zimmermann and Emmy Verhey. Both are coming from Herman Krebbers who studied at Oskar Back school.

addendum 4 : Added tree for Anne Sophie Mutter, Cho-Liang Lin, Philipe Quint and new star Arabella Steinbacher. Also added violin teacher Robert C. Lipsett who students are Leila Josefowicz,Hahn Bin etc.

addendum 5: added in famous female violinist Jelly d'Aranyi (1893-1966), student of Jeno Hubay. Beriot, Vieuxtemps,Sauret, Tor Aulin Swedish Violinist.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

unString Beethoven’s Heiliger Dankgesang op.132

Beethoven String Quartet no.15 in A minor Op.132

Ever wonder what is Beethoven trying to say in his Late quartet no.15 in A minor? In this quartet the third movement alone gone to 18 minutes. And this is exactly what this youtube video lecturing about:
Backed by Stanford University's Ensemble in Residence, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Robert Kapilow, composer and radio commentator, explores the notion of illness as a potent source of creativity (e.g., appreciation for existence) through Beethoven's "Heiliger Dankgesang," which Beethoven wrote in thanksgiving after recovering from a life-threatening illness.

This is a lecture video about that third movement, the name is a bit different from one source to another :

3.Molto Adagio — Andante — Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart (wikipedia)

3. Canzona di ringraziamento offerta alla divinità da un guarito, in modo lidico (Molto adagio) - Sentendo nuova forza (Andante) (Hagen SQ)

I listen to recording by Vermeer Quartet and they are doing it a bit slower than in the video.

In brief, Robert Kapilow pointed out that in this movement the structure is :

Preludes with 8 notes each represented illness condition, this is the main theme.
Go to fast melody represented ‘back to life’ condition
---- A connector
Repeat the preludes with some minor variations
Repeat fast melody ‘ back to life’ II with variations
---- A connector
A Fugue with melody taken from the prelude but only 5 notes adopted from original 8 notes
Merge with fast melody and again adopted three notes from prelude melody
And finally only take 2 notes from prelude as climax.

A great video here

Sunday, March 14, 2010

aLa Contra Bass

Boccherini Op.39 Quintet for Contrabass and String Quartet , Op.44 no.4 La tiranna.

My first entry to this blog and it’s quite a difficult to decide what will be the title.

I listened to a new CD of Boccherini. I got a numbers of his works now. But this is special one. The works is for String Quintet with addition of Contre Bass instead of other viola or cello.It’s opus 39 no.1 to no.3. And this is quite the first one I heard and only three of Boccherini’s hundreds of quintet and quartet with this formation, although people will ask, why as a string instrument, contre bass seems left out of competition in string quartet.

As pointed out from many reviewers in Amazon, this is a delightful piece. Full spirit of chamber music. The additional bass can be two things. One this is nowhere we can heard the dominant bass as in the composer like to say,’Hey, here the bass.” But this is more a smooth background bass-ing around and of course sometimes a great bassing line plays a bit. So overall the three works is basically a integrated normal string quintet. And like many of Boccherini’s the main point is the melody line which is creative and beautiful.

The quintet sets close by a miniature string quartet Op.44 no.4 La tiranna. The title quickly suggested about some Espanola here and it’s obvious this is the case. From the first opening, the Espanola guitar ‘strumming’ pattern is being used and again a smooth melody flows through the piece from beginning to the end. Breathtaking beautiful pieces.

I strongly recommend this for any Boccherini fans , old or new. For the performer, Ensemble 415 is a group playing period chamber repertoire. They has a website where you can check for their other CD. Somebody mentioned the name 415 referred to the frequency adjusted to chamber setting, instead of the standard A440 Hz.

(Promotional) Link here :

Thursday, March 11, 2010


The Silent String Quartet is a reflection of my personal journey into the world of music. What kind of music? The most specific is the String Quartet genre in classical music. A little bit further would be the chamber music then a violin orientated piece like the concertos and finally the whole Classical Music genre. To concluded it, this little blog  will also has a review on the greater kingdom of music like metal music, jazz, new age, gospel, folk or whatever good sound human kind can come out to.

I am an avid listener of string quartet and already collected hundreds of movements. I hope I can spare a time to write down some buried gems like Spohr's Quartets, or Boccherini's because it is still hard to find such info on internet. Keep in mind I am not even a violinist and maybe light year away for being understand why such a note being played, but at least I hope I can provide you an opinion from un trained ear, about the music.

In the middle of the road I will put in a referral link (example Mozart CD) of my reflected music just in case I got a luck for being paid for... yes kind of greedy thinking isn't it? But this is the only way I can hope for being benefit by writing this so spare some thought if you like my reference by using my referral for your purchasing.

Finally, please moving on then..