Music

A few recordings through the years


Violin


I started learning violin when I was eight, and it's been a steady part of my life and notable pillar of my sanity ever since.

Jun 2015: Schoenfield Cafe Music, mvt 1 (Piano trio)

I worked on this piece with two friends at the 2015 St. Lawrence String Quartet Chamber Music Seminar at Stanford. We chose this piece—which I've heard classical musicians dismissively describe as cheesy, not-real-classical-music—to challenge ourselves to pull off a style very different than what we were used to. Whether we succeeded, you be the judge.

From Schoenfield himself: "The idea to compose CafĂ© Music first came to me in 1985 after sitting in one night for the pianist at Murray’s Restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Murray’s employs a house trio which plays entertaining dinner music in a wide variety of styles. My intention was to write a kind of high-class dinner music — music which could be played at a restaurant, but might also (just barely) find its way into a concert hall. The work draws on many of the types of music played by the trio at Murray’s. For example, early 20th century American, Viennese, light classical, gypsy, and Broadway styles are all represented." (source)

Dec 2012: Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time, mvt 8 (Quartet)

This is the last movement from Messiaen's darkly-titled piece, which was also darkly written during WWII while he was a captive at Stalag VIII-A, a German prisoner-of-war camp, and also first performed in the camp.

This was one of the last pieces I worked on in college, and one I struggled with musically and was dragged into playing. (The cellist and pianist in the group really wanted to do it, I wanted to play with them, and they had already indulged me on a piece I wanted to play, Brahms op. 8.) To this day, I don't really "get" the first movement, but the rest of the movements began to make sense and speak to me as we worked. This last movement is very effective as the end to all the madness, but stands well even on its own, expressing an eery longing and sadness that you can imagine hitting a captive (in many senses... sorry) audience of four hundred at its premiere, outdoors and in the rain, in January 1941.

Dec 2010: Brahms Violin Sonata No. 3, mvts 1-2

I've played a lot of repertoire over the years, and this is perhaps the one piece that feels most at home to me, in every aspect from how well I can technically pull it off (though I can still get better) to how much I get it and enjoy playing it. This was the first time I learned and performed it, and Sarah on piano was an incredible, deeply musical partner—a much better musician than I was—who made this performance as satisfying as it was. If you don't know this piece... the first movement is right amounts of angsty, and the second movement is just so, so beautiful, and feels like being told an old story.


Cello


At the ripe age of 24, I decided to start cello lessons, and took about fifty lessons over the course of about three years. Wrote a bit about the experience in this Twitter thread.

Nov 2016: Bach Cello Suite No. 3, Sarabande


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