Classical Jam

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Yet another post that references food... what can I say? I mean, who doesn't like jam? My favourites are strawberry, plum, raspberry, and of course, the one in the video below ;P

Last week, Carrie came over for some iced tea and to read this music with me. Carrie and I know each other from playing in all kinds of things together, the Baroque N' Fiddle String Quartet, Symphony Nova Scotia concerts, concerts and recordings with local musicians like Jenn Grant and Joyful Talk, and even a special performance with Rod Stewart. Sometimes I like to talk about the difference between classical music and real classical music, meaning the stuff written over hundreds of years that gets lumped into one genre, and the music that's actually from a short time defined as the classical period. Well, here is some of the latter, true classical music, the first movement of a viola and cello duo by Carl Stamitz :) Enjoy!

Violist Carrie VanSlyke is a freelance musician in the Halifax area. She has music degrees from the University College of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of music and McGill University. She's also a certified Suzuki teacher. Carrie says one of her favourite parts of music making is the friends she's made from all over the world. I have to agree with her, making new friends and playing music is pretty great!

About the viola: The word might look like it's the name of your aunt's sister's cousin's best friend, but don't be fooled. It's pronounced vee-ola. It's larger than a violin, but obviously much smaller than a cello. It best handles what would be the range of the alto voices in a choir (vs the violin, which would be the soprano). Some violas have cutouts, whereby the top "corners" of the instrument are "cut off" in order for players to get their left hand around the instrument and reach for higher notes. Take a look at Carrie's viola, do you see the irregularity of shape compared with my cello? Those are the cutouts!

About Carl Stamitz: Carl Stamitz was born in Germany in 1745 and he died in 1801. He was a violist and played the viola d'amore. Check out this post from December 2020: Introducing the Viola d'Amore. He was a virtuoso on both of these instruments, and spent his time giving concert tours and writing music. He wrote over 80 works that fall into the symphonic genre, lots of chamber music for groups of 2-5 players and concertos for violin, viola, flute, clarinet, bassoon and basset horn.

How about you? What's one piece of classical music you love to play or listen to? Or one you discovered lately? Are there still classical music listeners out there? Eek! Is classical music appreciation dying? Or are there people out there making it cool again? How much has classical music been a part of your life? Do you ever feel like you're supposed to pretend to like it? Do you have to have white hair to "get it"? Ha! Tell me your experience, I'd love to know in the comments below!

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