Artikel-Schlagworte: „Max Bruch“

Masterclass with Christoph Eschenbach

Donnerstag, 14. Februar 2013

A Young  Soloists´s personal experience

“We were working on this opportunity for more than 10 years”,  said Raimund Trenkler about Christoph Eschenbach´s coming to Kronberg to deliver a series of masterclasses over one weekend. Now, last weekend it finally happened (February 8-9).  This was a unique chance for me to personally get to know a worldwide renowned pianist and conductor.

Maestro Eschenbach shared with us his incredible experience as a conductor, working on such  beautiful concertos like Schumann´s cello concerto, Bruch´s violin concerto, Walton´s viola concerto and various other pieces. In addition, we had the chance to play and perform with him, playing chamber music works by Mozart and Dvorák.

I was very much impressed by his strong sense of timing in music, and how he was feeling the natural shape of musical  phrases. At times, he paid attention to a very small detail with the result that the music was getting freedom and new colors. None of the formal, lifeless notes were missed by him. And he was so much involved in working with each student to bring into the piece truthfulness and natural breath.  Sometimes, he just showed a direction, conducting only two bars and the phrase got immediately clearly articulated. He also suggested some of the bow changes for orchestra groups in certain places, where the melody of the solo instrument needs a particular support from the orchestra.

To play chamber music with Christoph Eschenbach is a very special experience. It’s an opportunity to make music with a great musician, to feel his spirit and fully embrace the music. And sensing a kind of distance which always exists between a soloist and the conductor. However, a distance that is disappearing in the moment of creating music together. At the beginning Maestro Eschenbach wanted to play only one movement of the Dvorák piano quintet and it was so interesting to see how excited everybody became when he couldn’t stop with one movement and the quintet piece was finally played to the end.

As a result of my participation and listening to a series of masterclasses conducted by great musicians who were coming to Kronberg over the last couple of months I got the feeling of a common spirit. Also I felt that there was a common idea shared amongst the group of Young Soloists who were also in the room during those masterclass sessions. And that feeling was so special,  meaning that all young musicians were united by that common idea and we were part of it through shared learning and performing. And this feeling got even stronger, when all the Young Soloists and Maestro Eschenbach played together chamber music. Mr. Eschenbach pointed out that musicians should carry a message to the audience which is to make sure that music has the power to unite people with different standpoints, convictions and beliefs.

Last but not least I would like to add a few observations. The Maestro didn’t want to make breaks between sessions, in other words, it seemed that he was very much looking forward to the next interpretation, a new personality and new musical experience. And I also felt, that after the two days making music together and speaking and exchanging ideas during dinners, we got to know him better and if I may say so, the distance between him and us was shrinking. We came closer to each other. After these two amazing days with Christoph Eschenbach we were  all excited about the experience and we are clearly looking forward to his next stay in Kronberg, scheduled in June.

Anastasia Kobekina

Young Soloist, Kronberg Academy Masters

(Photo: Andreas Malkmus, Frankfurt)

Masterclass / Play with Presence (part 2)

Donnerstag, 31. Mai 2012

Observations from a Masterclass with Mauricio Fuks

Another big topic that afternoon was phrasing and intonation. One Young Soloist was asked how often he practiced playing  scales on a daily basis. Mr. Fuks then quickly added  the statement ” When playing scales one must pay attention to intonation, because that improves the capability for better coordination”.

“I want to hear your phrasing!”.  And, “if you want to play for people (and not for yourself), you must play more practical, so to speak, while at the same time you must also play to be heard so that the audience can recognize your great sensitivity”.

Earlier, with a different Young Soloist, Fuks fcussed on the importance of intonation, and made the point that any composition has to be viewed against the backdrop of the composers own language. French and German composers were compared, with Mr. Fuks saying at one point in time “This is serious German Music, not French Music!”

Playing with the composers name Bruch, Maestro Fuks wanted to make an important point with regard to intonation. He looked at the Young Sloloist. Then delivering a funny word-play with the composer’s name Bruch, of which the young musician performed a piece.  Fuks remarked,  “You play with too much sugar, the composer´s name is not Brüch!” pronouncing this German composer´s name so that it sounded like a French word.  “If some sweetness in the piece is required then German sweetness must be intonated, not French. There is a difference. German and French sweetness are very different, musically peaking”.

Fuks again quoted his former teacher Maestro Heifetz: “What does the audience expect from a musical performer? It´s a clear sound”!. He went on using Heifetz words, “ a concert is not a guessing game”. Then Mr. Fuks concluded for the young violinist “Intonation is of the essence, sweetheart!”

In 4 hours Mr. Fuks dropped an amazing number of hints and techniques to improve the Young Soloists´s  capability for better intonation, phrasing and dynamics. He always found words that sounded helpful, never losing sight of the strengths that the young musicians revealed during their session.

In my opionion, the special and often funny way of making remarks and providing feedback can be viewed as hallmarks of his teaching approach. And everybody in the room felt his extraordinary presence, as a teacher and a great human-being who wanted to inspire and provide help for self-help. It was a fantastic experience to watch him tutoring those young aspiring artists.

Later on in his final remarks Mr. Fuks stressed the point  that he was doing his work in complete continuation of what the permanent teachers for Kronberg Academy are doing in the regular educational units. His engagement should be seen as a complementary piece of education for Young Soloists.

After conclusion of the last session all remaining players seemingly went away with joy and inspiration. The last day ended with a long farewell procedure where the 11 Young Soloists  came to Mauricio and gave him a heart-felt hug before they were headed into different directions to pursue other business.

What a great place this is, I thought. A place where young and older musicians come together and create an atmosphere of committed work, respect and openness gaining new skills for better artistic expression, phrasing, intonation and a deepened understanding of what  “presence” means. And that´s just one of the key goals which our study programme “Kronberg Academy Masters” wants to achieve.

Michael Heinz / KronbergAcademy



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