September 28, 2011

The Strad

Power Studies
by Rachel Barton Pine

‘You’re playing it like an etude’ is a statement that elicits thoughts of mechanical emotionless and generally unmusical playing. Most students of classical violin have heard their teacher utter the phrase at least once, and I’m no exception. Roland Vamos said it to me during one of my first lessons with him. and, even at nine years old, I knew it was bad. On that occasion, the music he was pushing me to phrase and interpret wasn’t Mendelssohn, Bruch or Paganini, but the fourth etude from 60 Studies for the Violin op.45 by Franz Wohlfahrt.

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