In this masterclass, Martin Beaver along with his student Duncan McDougall explore musical ornaments and bowing technique.
Produced by the Saline royale Academy in November, 2021 at Arc-et-Senans.
In this violin masterclass, Martin Beaver gives student Duncan McDougall several recommendations in order to elevate his performance of Ernest Chausson’s piece Poème. Together, student and master work through various technicalities such as modifying bowing technique, wielding a supple wrist, and breathing on picks ups.
In relation to improving technique, the duo examines different musical ornaments such as the vibrato, trills, and accents. Beaver emphasizes the importance of increasing the intensity of long notes and making the violin resonate as much as possible.
Composed in 1896, Poème made its premier at the Nancy Conservatoire on December 27 (of that same year) by Belgian violinist, Eugène Ysaÿe, to whom the song is dedicated to. Kindly, Ernest Chausson's friend, Isaac Albéniz secretly arranged for Breitkopf to publish the sheet music, paying for it from his own pocket. This was done in order to uplift the composer through one of his periodic bouts of self-doubt. Ysaÿe’s performance was met with a roaring applause, one that puzzled Chausson because he could not believe in his own brilliancy.
Poème’s genius is in its agility and finesse. Originally, the piece was subtitled “Le Chant de l'amour triomphant” (The Song of Triumphant Love), a short story by Ivan Turgenev about two friends, a painter and a musician who fall in love with the same woman. After choosing the painter, the musician spends many years traveling India and other Asian countries. He returns home with new skills, one of these being his ability to play an Indian one-stringed instrument, where he plays the “Song of Triumphant Love.”
You really want to get your violin resonating as much as you can.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this violin masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Martin Beaver’s feedback and comments.
As a member of the Tokyo String Quartet, Martin Beaver was privileged to perform on the 1727 Stradivarius violin from the “Paganini Quartet” set of instruments, on generous loan to the quartet from the Nippon Music Foundation.
Recordings of the Tokyo String Quartet during his tenure notably include the complete Beethoven quartets on the Harmonia Mundi label. Mr. Beaver’s concerto and recital appearances span four continents with orchestras such as the San Francisco Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège and the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra and under the batons of Kazuyoshi Akiyama, among others. Chamber music performances include collaborations with such eminent artists as Leon Fleisher, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Sabine Meyer and Yefim Bronfman. Mr. Beaver is a regular guest at prominent festivals in North America and abroad. Among these are: the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, La Jolla SummerFest, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and more. Mr. Beaver’s discography includes concerti, sonatas and chamber music on the Harmonia Mundi USA, Biddulph, Naim Audio, René Gailly, Musica Viva, SM 5000, Toccata Classics and Naxos labels. His recorded repertoire ranges from Bach, Beethoven and Brahms to the music of 21st century composers. He is a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth, Montreal and Indianapolis competitions.
A devoted educator, Mr. Beaver has conducted masterclasses all over the globe. He has held teaching positions at the Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of British Columbia and the Peabody Conservatory. More recently, he served on the faculty of New York University and as Artist in Residence at the Yale School of Music, where he was awarded its highest honor – the Sanford Medal. He joined the faculty of the Colburn School in Los Angeles in August 2013, where he is currently Professor of Violin and Chamber Music. Martin Beaver is a founding member of the Montrose Trio with pianist Jon Kimura Parker and cellist Clive Greensmith.
Photo credit: BNF Gallica