This is a live performance of Carl Nielsen’s Wind Quintet, Opus 43, played by the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet. This was performed on October 5, 2012 at the Samobor Music Festival in Croatia.
Michael Hasel, Flute
Andreas Wittmann, Oboe
Walter Seyfarth, Clarinet
Fergus McWilliam, Horn
Marion Reinhard, Bassoon
The Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet is everything I look for in a chamber ensemble. Each member is playing every note like a soloist and yet the most important line or lines are always stepping to the foreground.
I instantly fell in love with the music of Carl Nielsen when I performed his Fifth Symphony at Tanglewood as a high school student. He was a brilliant composer and his Wind Quintet is simply fantastic.
Last week the world lost one of the greatest musicians of all time, Paco de Lucia. This performance of Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” for guitar and orchestra, will leave you speechless. If there is a musician who phrases with more relentless passion than Paco de Lucia did, I am not familiar with them.
The second movement of this live performance is spellbinding. When commenting on this melody, Miles Davis once said ”That melody is so strong that the softer you play it, the stronger it gets, and the stronger you play it, the weaker it gets.” I’ve never heard it played better than Paco does here.
We lost a truly great one last week. RIP, Paco.
“The instrument will play itself when your imagination is in gear and you let your air do the talking.”
Wise words from my mentor, Sam Pilafian. When you’ve got your imagination steering and your air providing the fuel, you can take a musical journey to absolutely anywhere.
A recent sunset that set my imagination in motion.
© 2014 Andrew Hitz
I am starting a new feature, Links That Make Me Think, which will simply be a collection of things from around the web that I find thought provoking. Please feel free to contact me with anything you find (or wrote!) that you feel I might find interesting. You can contact me through my Facebook page, via Twitter, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s the first set of links:
Seth Godin, as usual, nail it with one of his recent blog posts titled “Framers and Polishers“. In about 100 words he shows why I would argue you should not necessarily look for people with similar skill sets when forming a chamber ensemble or any other kind of musical venture.
Here’s a great article by Dr. Noa Kageyama (from the Bulletproof Musician) where he discusses the benefits of taking “creative pauses” and how they can help you in the practice room: “How to Reduce Practice Room Angst (and Boost Creativity)“. Continue reading
Judging by the fact this video has over four million views, I think I may be the last person on the internet to watch it. I have stated for many years that if I had to play another instrument, it would be the cello. When you combine that with the fact that my second ever rock and roll concert was seeing AC/DC on November 2, 1990 at the Worcester Centrum and you might correctly assume that this clip does it for me.
Aside from my love of the cello and AC/DC, this arrangement of Thunderstruck is truly striking. The repetitive rock and roll riffs are played effortlessly and the vocal parts are performed perfectly, which is not an easy task on any instrument. The driving energy of this arrangement is just awesome.
I can’t believe it took me until to today to see this clip. Thanks to my friend @cglush for sending it my way. For those about to rock, we salute you…
It never ceases to amaze me the depth of historical recordings that are now available for us to stream from the comforts of our own homes. This is a fantastic live recording of the Royal Danish Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Bernstein performing Nielsen’s 3rd Symphony in 1965.
You can always hear when an orchestra is, to a man and woman, on the same page with a conductor. My friends in the best symphony orchestras in the world tell me this sadly doesn’t happen as often as we’d like to think. You can instantly tell both by listening and watching this clip that the Royal Danish Orchestra was thrilled to have Leonard Bernstein on the podium.
The closeups of Bernstein are wonderful! His facial expressions convey the pure joy he frequently experienced on the podium. Talk about a rewarding conductor to play for. He was a master in the truest sense of the word.
“I’ll study and get ready and be prepared for my opportunity when it comes.”
Whether you are an aspiring band director or trying to earn a living as a player, real opportunities don’t come around all that often. And when one does, you must be ready to pounce.
Sam Pilafian student Abraham Lincoln
Ask yourself this question: if your dream job were to come calling today, are you ready? The key word is today. If the answer to that question is in any way no, ask yourself what exactly you are not ready for and plan a course of action to address it immediately. Continue reading
“A lot of times when you have a problem with your playing and you think you know the solution try the exact opposite. 85% of the time it will work. And that comes from personal experience.”
-Marty Hackleman (former horn of the Empire Brass, Canadian Brass and National Symphony Orchestra)
This is invaluable advice for the practice room. But it is also great advice for band directors and private teachers. As with anyone who has been doing something for three decades, I know an awful lot about music. Frequently though, the things which I am positive are the way I perceive them are what hold me back from having a breakthrough with a student or having one myself on the horn.
What is it that you know today that you need to “forget” for a few minutes while allowing the best possible solution to emerge?
The moon rising over the Italian Alps before a Boston Brass performance in Merano, Italy.
© 2012 Andrew Hitz
The world lost one of the greats when Claudio Abbado, 80, passed away earlier today in Bologna, Italy. His many accomplishments included being the music director of La Scala as well as being the successor to Herbert von Karajan with the Berlin Philharmonic.
This clip perfectly shows the intensity that Abbado brought to the podium. At the conclusion of this performance of Mozart’s ‘Requiem’ by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, he paused for a full 40 seconds of silence before ending the performance, including a very intense glance upwards. This is a man in the later stages of life cherishing every moment on the podium.
This clip gives me goosebumps every time I see it. RIP, maestro. You were truly one of the greats.
“Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.”
― Seth Godin
This is true in music. This is true in business. This is true in life.
Change is uncomfortable. Change is scary. But rarely do we accomplish things beyond our wildest dreams without taking that leap into the unknown.
What aspect of your playing, teaching, career path or overall focus needs to be changed before it’s too late?
Hong Kong Skyline © 2013 Andrew Hitz