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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: phrasing

The King's Singers: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

All that any of us instrumentalists are ever trying to do is sound like the world's best singers.  The King's Singers are certainly some of the world's best.  The blend.  The intonation.  The unified musical concept.  All stunning.  This group will take your breath away.  You won't find a more beautiful rendition of Danny Boy than this one.

Enjoy!


Eric Dolphy: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Eric Dolphy was one of many genius musicians who was taken from us way too early.  He tragically died from a coma brought on by an undiagnosed diabetic coma at the age of 36.  Whether he was playing the saxophone, the flute, or as in this clip, the bass clarinet, his phrasing had a purity and urgency that demanded the listener's full attention. As any musician will tell you, playing an unaccompanied solo in any genre is one of the most difficult things to do in music.  Even for a short clip like this one, it is difficult to keep things interesting.  I find this version of God Bless The Child absolutely mesmerizing.  Dolphy's playing is beyond engaging.  So many notes and yet the phrasing, not the virtuosity, stand out above everything else.

He had so much music left to make.  It is a shame we lost him so soon.  And unlike many of his contemporaries who also died at an early age, Dolphy was not involved with drugs and did not kill himself through excess.  Such a shame.


Wycliffe Gordon: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Wycliffe is one of my heroes.  This five minute live clip off of someone's phone is a masterclass on style, phrasing, style, high playing, style and just about everything else.  Did I mention the style this guy plays every single note and phrase with? He is a musician who happens to play the trombone.  And he happens to play it better than most.  Bebop, swing, gospel, dixieland.  I have yet to hear him play in a style that doesn't sound just as convincing as the last.

What a gift it is for all of us to be alive at the same time this guy is making music.  I've got to go practice now.

Enjoy!


Monday YouTube Fix: Eric Ruske

Andrew Hitz

Eric was the horn player in the Empire Brass when I attended the Empire Brass Seminar at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute in 1990 and 1991.  I learned the most those summers from attending the Empire open rehearsals.  It really was an incredible thing for a 14 year old to get to experience. Even at that young of an age, I was immediately struck by Eric's phrasing.  He played phrases that were a mile long and his playing always sounded so elegant.  This  recording of the Romance by Saint-Saens is a great example of his gorgeous, flowing musical lines.

We can all learn a lot from anyone on any instrument who phrases like this.

Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kHcvpsu_QY]

Monday YouTube Fix: Maurice André

Andrew Hitz

I was very fortunate growing up to have a father who was very interested in classical music.  He had a large collection of compact discs before it was common.  In fact, he picked upped our family's first CD player on a business trip to Tokyo when they were still incredibly expensive here in the States.  As a brass player himself growing up, he had quite a few albums by many different brass players.  One of the artists I remember the most was Maurice André. What a sound.  What style.  What phrasing.  He was the consummate artist.  His trumpet playing was lush and always passionate.  His sound is one that an entire generation of brass players has modeled themselves after.  I was honored to meet him in 2001 at the ITG in Manchester, England.

Mr. André passed away last month and the world lost a true gem.  May he rest in peace.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLDF8OeD-hc]

 

Monday YouTube Fix: Jessye Norman

Andrew Hitz

With all due respect to my fellow tuba players, when I model my phrasing after someone I go straight to the source: singers. I had the privilege of seeing Jessye Norman perform along with Kathleen Battle for the first Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert at Tanglewood in 1991.  Seiji Ozawa lead the Boston Symphony in a performance of Mahler 2 that is still to this day the most moving concert I've ever witnessed.  I remember being particularly struck by how angelic Jessye's voice was that evening.

This is from a live recording of her performing that very piece on January 8, 1984 with members of the National Symphony and Baltimore Symphony conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

It feels like it takes her forever to change from one note to the next in what amounts to an effortless flow of beautiful tone.  She is simply a stunning singer.  Unfortunately there is no video of the performance and the sound quality of this clip isn't the best but I still had to post this.

Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEY9DdU55JM]

Monday YouTube Fix: Joe Alessi

Andrew Hitz

What is there left to say about Joe Alessi? He is simply put one of the absolute finest musicians I've ever had the privilege of performing with in my career.  This is a very moving performance from the memorial service of the late great Fred Mills.  So musical and so powerful. The thing that gets me most about Joe's playing is the ends of his notes.  We all do a great job, especially brass players, of noticing when the beginning of a note isn't how we want it.  In my opinion, Joe ends notes as well as anyone in the business.

Enjoy and keep the family of Fred Mills in your thoughts this holiday season.

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEDwrm-fhRA]