Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Lemonade from the Bakery

While listening to a recording made by a flutist who had been a student of one of Julius Baker's students, I recognized a mannerism that I always associate with Julius Baker. I call it "Lemonade from the Bakery." It involves taking a passage or musical figure that is awkward, either technically or musically, and, rather than minimizing its existence, highlighting it in some way. Julius Baker would often change color on or elongate a particularly offensive note, making a potential musical lemon sound rather sweet (whether it was in good taste or not). He never, of course, dictated this by using words, but all of his students imitated this strategically-applied musical mannerism, and many of them seem to be passing it to their students.

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