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Classical Breakdown

7. Reading between the notes - making a score come alive

November 5, 2019

Sheet music can look confusing to the non-musician with all the notes, squiggles and instructions in different languages. Reading this sheet music becomes second nature with practice. But, just playing what’s written on the page is only a fraction of what musicians do to bring the music to life. Liz talks about how these written instructions are similar to other things in our lives. A special guest joins in for an acting game involving a foreign language, and Liz demonstrates on the violin her process of making a phrase come alive. 

Show Notes

The Latvian sentence used in the podcast (You'll have to listen to find out what it means!):

                                                  Es mīlu sēžot satiksmē 

creating music from the page

Here is the music Liz Field used to demonstrate on the violin how she builds a phrase. The notes and rhythms give us instructions, but the magic is what is not written on the page. You can see from her personal copy of the music, all the markings she adds in for herself. 

Sammartini violin music

Sammartini violin music

Liz Field

Violinist Elizabeth Field, distinguished for her passionate and stylistic playing on both period and modern instruments, is the founder of The Vivaldi Project. Field is concertmaster of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and also performs with a wide variety of ensembles throughout the US: from Washington DC's acclaimed Opera Lafayette to the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. A former member of Brandywine Baroque, Field was also a founding member of the Van Swieten Quartet. In addition to period instrument recordings for Hungaroton, Naxos, and Dorian, Field has performed and recorded extensively for Deutsche Grammophon with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Field holds a DMA from Cornell University in 18th-century performance practice and has coached student & professional performers throughout the U.S. including at the Universities of Maryland, Illinois and Iowa, and the University of Washington. She has held professorships at Sacramento State University and the University of California at Davis, and has served twice as the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence at Lafayette College in Easton PA. She is an adjunct professor at George Washington University. As co-director of the Institute for Early Music on Modern Instruments with cellist Stephanie Vial, she has given workshops and classes at numerous institutions, working with a variety of string players, from talented young Curtis students, Suzuki teachers and their pupils, to seasoned professional orchestral and freelance players.  Her DVD with fortepianist Malcolm Bilson, Performing the Score, explores 18th-century violin/piano repertoire and has been hailed by Emanuel Ax as both "truly inspiring” and “authoritative.”