Saturday, January 27, 2007

Vibrato for Mozart's Birthday

Yesterday I taped a runthrough in the hall of the program I am playing tonight in celebration of Mozart's Birthday, and I noticed that once in a while I lapsed into that dangerous practice of playing notes without vibrato in order to get some kind of color change that I thought might have been appropriate. When playing a modern violin with a modern piano in a hall with modern community college acoustics (in other words, a hall that does nothing to help project the sound), vibrato-less notes just don't go anywhere. They fall on the ground like bird droppings.

Historically-informed performance practice, which some people apply to Mozart on modern instruments in the form of imposing a scholarly hierarchy on the relative importance of a series of notes, and using vibrato only as an ornament, isn't working for me, on this day, and for this program.

So my presents to you on your 251st birthdy, Herr Mozart, are readings of your Andante and Fugue, your Variations on a French Song, and your F major Sonata with lots of vibrato. It adds spice to the stew and bubbles to the champagne.

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