Monday, May 17, 2010

Don Juan with Maestro Mena

Funny story about Strauss's Don Juan, which we performed this past week with Juanjo Mena conducting. When I was in college at Eastman School of Music, our excellent and funny conductor, David Effron, told the violinists that when playing Don Juan, "Be glad you are a violinist!" I wrote this at the top of my personal copy of the first violin part of Don Juan, and I always smile and take that message to heart when we perform it.

Incidentally, Don Juan is on almost every audition list when violinists audition for American orchestras. There is lots of quick shifting, difficult arpeggios, fast scales, etc. Often for an audition the orchestra will ask for the first page only, which is plenty hard. Almost as often, though, the entire piece will be required to be learned for the audition. Of course you wouldn't play the whole piece in an audition, but you have to be ready to do it.

I liked Maestro Mena's Don Juan very much this week. It was a musical roller coaster ride, though with a strange and serious end.

1 comment:

  1. I think the violin is played by musicians in a wide variety of musical genres, including Baroque music, classical, jazz, folk music, and rock and roll