Agata Szymczewska

Monday, 11 November 2013

The fellow musicians who inspire the Polish violinist

Maxim Vengerov is fantastic at painting a picture to help you create a specific sound

I am inspired by Anne-Sophie Mutter. She has such an amazing sound. It’s so full and round, with so much body – it’s the kind of sound I’m aiming for. Recently, I was lucky enough to have a lesson with her. She was very focused and she quickly opened my eyes, ears and heart to the detail in the music. She has a very open personality and told me straight away what was missing from my playing, as well as what she liked. She was also approachable and happy to give career advice.

I also admire Maxim Vengerov. He’s still young, but so knowledgeable about playing the violin, conducting and music theory. I’ve played to him, too, and he’s fantastic at painting a picture to help you create a specific sound. For example he told me to think of a clock chiming, an animal, a landscape, and even afternoon tea!

Originally published in The Strad, November 2011. Download the digital edition of the issue or subscribe to it as part of our 30-day free trial.

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Terry Phillips

I : VII : Canto xv. The house wrens , quizzical appear. In a lull of the Siberian wind , the birds scatter into the bushes grown against the calf-wire , there along the lilac hedge bordering the roadside ; and , scattering into the barren weir of twigs which the bushes with the season have become , huddle into the tangled lilac block, about the corner of the house enwrapped , a weir of snow and ice and twig branches fallen from the trees overhead . And wrens , flyyting into the weir of rime and hoarfrost ; settling in to perch where they may grip against the blow, from their hunter’s blind of sticks, the safety of their cage , peering peeping , observe— their wind torn world ... and I . I , in the olorific kitchen at the window , next the stove . I , in this warm domain , frozen with wonderment and awe . I , looking out through the kitchen window out about the yard , I , stock still with my curious regard , do observe , as well , the icy blow , the wrens , the snow , the Chestnut horse plodding about in the field beyond . The Chestnut in sluggish plod beyond a frozen pond . The Chestnut which plods snow ruffs with his massive toil ; pawing in the riffles of snow ; seeking to find sweet dessicated leaves, freeze-dried forage grass— to find under the snow upon the frozen ground the hay-flakes which may have shaken, frozen, from the hay bale burdens , tumbled by the Wrangler from a flat-bed truck , tumbled down to feed a Chestnut dark Barb Bayard horse , there, layed upon with a blanket of snow . That Chestnut , who with ice-rimed eyelashes and a black muzzle bearded with snow, with prehensile, protrusile lips of black , fumbling for the freeze-dried alfalfa and clover below the blankets of powder— powder , in the prairie pasture paddocks beyond , glaring with sunlight— beyond the hedgerows where beyond the barbed wire , that prairie , the whiteout glare and the protrudent sage which there defines his wild domain.

22:21 - Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Terry Phillips

In these modern times , and it is always modern times , in these days of retro-gression and planned-obsolescence technology , an Antiquity , I am , an odd duck , untimely and anachronistic . I am become a question mark in their minds . A stranger across the water . A stranger across the water . Come to upset the balance of relationships . What is valuable ? What important ? The commitments you make in your hearts ? That tension which livens you ? That relaxed visage which graces her ? The puzzle of roles ? the dilemmas which puzzle ? I , this tardy envoy , whose grief in collision with anger mates ; grief and anger in collision , which a wild despondency inspires , savage and dire , mediating the forgotten drowsings with the disremembered ; grieving upon recycled lore , in our private dens , your hopes in murmurings extant with mine . Pipes and perils, timbrels and drums, cymbals and castinets; steps and frets to musical phrases ; the mazes of the dance captured , encapsulated , in marooned romance . A rhythmic and deafening chough of leopard frogs, in the jet iambic rain . Time sleeps between the quiet blossom’s refrain of petals , sleeping in the bud .

22:24 - Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Terry Phillips

The Ballad of the Woeful Hitchhiker Twenty-eight degrees Centigrade outside , and I think I 'd like to light a cigar , " … not in my thirty-four model Chevy car ." Ain't got no ash tray . Ain't got no lighter. Puff away boys , but don't you dare ignite her . You c'n roll her around in yer mowuth , all you like ! Set a match to her you'll be out on yer bike . Watch the scenery , mountain greenery , as we roll along . Ain't got no radio, but you c'n hum a song ! Look out the winder , won't cost ya a cent . Look at thet there road map , along with them roads up ahead Gotta remember which way we went . Gotta remember which map it was we read . Twenty-eight degrees Centigrade outside , and I think I 'd like to light a cigar , My , my , my ! whatta pretty stink ! " … not in my thirty-four model Chevy car ." There went Bakersfield . There went Pumpkin Center . Heading up the Grapevine , now at ten percent grade. Gotta compound downshift first gear granny low Gonna hav ta implement 'er. Passin all the semi tractor trailer long haul rigs They's in a race dead stop ta slow Roll down th' windaws ! Air conditionin' controlled by four and fifty ! Fifty mile an hour ! That's a pretty strong breeze ! Hold the Spaniel out thar , Jackson , t' git rid o' her fleas. Holy cow ! Whot happen , Doc ? Cold as an ice cube inside this place ? Fort Tejon and Frazier Park : don't get caught here out after dark ! Cowuld as owter space ! Twenty eight degrees Fahrenheit this time ! That's hoarfroast on the winders thar ! got no defroster ! Thirty four winters back ago guess I lost her. Twenty-eight degrees Fahrenheit outside , and I think I 'd like to light a cigar , Smell a tabacca like to curl yer hayer . Like ta drive ya ta drink . Doncha dare! Puff along all ya want on it , but doncha dare ignite her ! " …Not in my thirty-four model Chevy car ."

22:39 - Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Terry Phillips

VI : VI : Canto ix. And, I lounge, now, reflecting— reflecting on the bright and the hallowed crimes of youth. The sunfast years melt like wax , and as the days fly the escapement cogs of the clockworks jog memories lost in a rhapsodic dialogue which the Literary Ages have composed in magnificent fictitious and fractious lies. And I , like Geppett o, muddling in the shop , next to his wood-burne r, dazed , groggy and dozing over what remains of his youth , lost in wood-shavings , I like Gepetto muddle in the whatever it is which are those hours— a melange of confused fenestrations which are unavoidably the past and its ashes : his beechwood toy puppet- boy, Pinocchio , in pieces, fed into the blaze, warming him now. On the shop-shelf, in the voodoo tangles of a bird nest left there of Pinocchio's frayed strings to remember him by, on the workbench , amid the awls and carving knives, on a paper plate : gingerbread crumbs. "My son, ” he sighs. “ He never visits me often enough .”

19:04 - Wednesday, 10 September 2014


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