CD Review- Musical Pointers on Gal Violin Concerti and Triptych

Peter Grahame Woolf writing for Musical Pointers Han Gal: Violin Concerto, Violin Concertino & Triptych for Orchestra. Annette-Barbara Vogel, Northern Sinfonia / Kenneth Woods …….The two concertante works for violin from the ’30s, excellently played and recorded, are delightful, provided you accept that Gál was one of his generation not caught up in the European […]

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CD Review- Classical Source on “Gal Violin Concerti and Triptych for Orchestra”

Colin Anderson writing in today’s Classical Source- ….There is something deceptive about Hans Gál’s music, the work of the long-lived (1890-1987), from Vienna to Edinburgh composer, whose output has been so well served by Avie. Gál’s other violin concerto, from 1939, with string orchestra accompaniment, this time in two movements instead of three, the first […]

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Young Concertmaster’s Guide to the Orchestra, Part IV. Final thoughts and my Top 11 tips

Concluding thoughts- Being a concertmaster is an extremely high-stress job, in which you have to work to a very high standard, while often sublimating some of your own instincts and ego as a musician.  You may well miss opportunities to work with less pressure or to focus on getting the interpretations you want of works […]

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Young Concertmasters Guide to the Orchestra, Part III. It gets complicated.

Where it gets complicated- Remember how we discussed the difference between preparing a recital and an orchestra work? The key difference is that in one case you are aiming for a coherent artistic vision (yours!), and in the other one you are preparing to be able to execute all kinds of artistic visions. This need […]

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Young Concertmaster’s Guide to the Orchestra, Part II. Musical Leadership

In Part II, we look at the space in which musicianship and leadership skills come together in the job of the concertmaster. Musical Leadership- This is the most complex and important part of your job, in which you have to combine your skills as an artist and a leader, moment to moment in real time […]

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Young Concertmaster’s Guide to the Orchestra, Part I. Musicianship and Leadership

“Dear Ken I’ve just found out that I am going to be the concertmaster of my conservatory orchestra next year. I’ve played in some good groups before, but this is the first time I’ve ever been put “on the hot seat” other than occasionally filling in for a single rehearsal. This is something I’ve wanted […]

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World’s Greatest String Orchestra- 1 Night Only!

Monday, June 14, 2010 The Stradivari Trust presents a charity concert in support of Motor Neurone Disease research. Chamber works including the Mendelssoh Octet and Trout Quintet and string orchestra selections including Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro and the Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. An all-star orchestra of leading soloists, concermasters and […]

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Comparative listening- Don’t mess with Bobby.

It’s Bobby Schumann week on planet Earth, and all the nations of this blue planet are gathering their energies and chanting “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby” in honor of his 200th birthday. I’m celebrating the week by book-ending the week with performances of the Cello and Violin concertos. Schumann seems in many ways to be sinned against […]

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Schumann Cello Concerto, or Ken’s Folly?

Since Saturday’s performance of the Schumann Cello Concerto with Lancashire Chamber Orchestra, I’ve had a touching number of enquiries from friends and colleagues wanting to know how it went. Of course, since many were probably calling my decision to play this work without conductor “Woods’s folly” or “a musical suicide mission” perhaps their curiosity is […]

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Future Performer’s Perspective- Mahler 10, am I late yet?

Many, many years ago, as a young teenager, I became completely obsessed with Mahler’s music. Back then, living in the Midwest, there was far less material on Mahler about- I ended up scouring libraries and compulsively hunting through record stores, trying bit by bit to track down recordings of all his works. In the age […]

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