LSO Master Class - Violin

Uploaded by symphony on 24.09.2010

Adams: Hello, YouTube.
My name is Maxine Kwok-Adams,
and I'm a first violinist with the London Symphony Orchestra.
This is the master class
for violin for YouTube Symphony Orchestra.
If you plan to audition for an orchestra
one day in the future or very soon,
you're 99.9% certain
to be asked to play the first movement
of a Mozart concerto.
That is an absolute given anywhere in the world,
so I hope the hints I will give you might help.
I've chosen the A major,
because I think the opening
is a little more tricky than the G and the D majors,
which you almost launch straight into.
Um, the A is somewhat more nerve-racking,
and, yes, we all get nervous,
so there's nothing, you know, to be ashamed of there,
but hopefully I can put you at your ease.
Now, the very opening,
you'll have just had the orchestra
or the accompanist playing.
[Mozart's Concerto Number Five]
And then on the solo part,
you have to pick out two notes out of thin air
with great beauty,
and the sound has to be clear as a bell.
This is not easy in a stressful situation like an audition,
put the most important thing you must remember
is that on the third crotchet,
the accompanist is gonna come in,
and has to have a clear idea of tempo.
It's very easy, and I've heard it
many times in auditions
for violinists to be finding themselves
in these first two crotchets
and just holding onto them forever,
which isn't really what Mozart wrote,
so you need to actually keep this adagio flowing.
It doesn't need to be so slow,
and I think it's easier to play
if you don't actually stick to being extremely slow.
So something like this, although stylistically
you might want to put your own ideas.
[Mozart's Concerto Number Five]
That's the hard part done.
So make sure you give your accompanist
a really good upbeat,
because chances are in an audition,
you may be lucky enough to bring your own accompanist with you,
but you may not have that option,
and you might actually be playing with somebody
for the very first time in the audition.
So make sure you give them a strong upbeat into bar 46.
And, remember, keep the trills in time.
Don't attempt to do too many rotations.
It just doesn't work,
and you end up holding the tempo.
So hopefully I'll demonstrate that for you.
[Mozart's Concerto Number Five]
Now I'd like to talk to you
about the passage that comes later on in the movement.
This is the contrasting part.
You may only have to play
a Mozart concerto first movement in an audition,
so you want people to see your scope of your playing.
This is your chance to be
slightly more romantic in the music,
um, within reason.
because, obviously, this is still Mozart,
but you can obviously play much more espressivo,
and have a lot of different colors in the playing.
Now, depending which edition you have of this music,
most likely, you will have had bar 135
as forte, and then the next passage as an echo.
I personally prefer to do that reversed,
because I think it's stronger
to go into the big tutti before the recap
with a forte chord,
because there's nothing worse
than trying to tickle that in piano,
so but obviously that's up to you,
and you make your own decision.
The very opening of the symphony
is a big forte pizzicato.
I think pizzicato is something
that we're not often taught properly,
and often can sound really quite nasty,
if fingernails start getting in the way.
The way I like to approach the pizzicato in this
is to go to the edge of the fingerboard
and stroke down towards the left hand.
If you go the other way,
you end up usually catching a nail or something.
This way you get a big, strong sound, and it's round.
It doesn't have to be a mega sound,
because there's gonna be
loads of people playing it in the orchestra,
so just be aware of that.
Now, the opening phrase, I think,
really should travel to the ninth bar,
rather than-- I think it's quite easy
to think of it as ending in the fourth bar,
so I think it should sound something like this.
[Mendelssohn's Symphony Number Four]
Now, this is a passage for the first violins,
which is absolutely beautiful,
but it's actually quite tricky,
because it's so finicky.
Bit like knitting a jumper or something.
The most important thing is try and keep it really smooth,
and also keep it really simple.
First position works really well for a lot of this,
and second position, actually--
I know we don't like playing the second position,
but it will really help a lot of this.
And also keep your vibrato quite minimal.
Some conductors may ask you to play it non-vibrato,
which is quite extreme, but it does happen.
But I think it certainly helps
to try not to be too romantic through this passage.
[Beethoven's Symphony Number Nine]
Hopefully, you've found this really useful,
and I've really enjoyed being here and helping you through it,
so, from me, thanks very much,
and hope to see you again soon.