Experience the beautiful and timeless hymn “Abide with Me” like never before with our string quartet arrangement. Composed by the English organist and composer Henry Francis Lyte in 1847, this hymn has been beloved by generations for its poignant lyrics and soaring melody. This arrangement is not suitable for singing, but it is perfect for adding a sense of reflection and beauty to any church service as background music. Arranger Ben Clapton has brought a fresh and dynamic interpretation to this classic hymn, ensuring that it will be a highlight of any service. Whether you are looking for music to accompany a reflective church service, funeral, or other special occasion, our “Abide with Me” string quartet arrangement is sure to add an extra layer of meaning and emotion to your event. With its rich harmonies and soaring melodies, this arrangement is sure to be a hit with both musicians and music lovers alike. So why wait? Add this beautiful piece to your service today and bring a touch of timeless beauty to your next event.
I was aiming to get a video out each week, however it’s not going to happen this week. Things have cropped up where I am not in the stage where I’ve got enough footage, nor enough time to edit a video, that I think I will just aim at putting a video out every couple of weeks. But I still want to hold myself accountable, so I will provide a written update of my progress here.
Following some feedback from a Reddit thread where I posted my video, there was a suggestion to take some time to focus on my technique, particularly my scales and my shifting. They suggested that I look at Nathan Cole’s New York Philharmonic Audition challenge series, which was very enlightening. I took his 2 hour practice break up as the basis of my own practice for this week. This included introducing the first three pages of Schradieck, Kreutzer 9, and Dont 6 as my studies, a focus on vibrato and trills for technique, and a big section of work on my scales every day.
Tiredness and Exhaustion
This week saw my practice go backwards in many ways. I only had three days of actual practice out of the seven, with another day where I had a piano trio rehearsal but didn’t spend time practicing. The other days saw me being excessively tired, and just not wanting to practice. My son has been coming into my bed at night, and so it’s been quite common for me to be waking up around 2-3am, and not getting back to sleep. Even as I’m writing this I’m feeling tired. My other son came into bed around 2am, and while I did get back to sleep, I’m still feeling tired.
The other side of the equation – which is linked to my tiredness – is exhaustion. When I was practicing with this new schedule with a huge focus on technique, I found my body getting tired a lot quicker. My muscles were working a lot more than they were used to, and as such I didn’t complete the schedule once. This might mean that I need to think more about how I structure my practice as I build up into it – instead of 2 hours with a ten minute break, perhaps I should do an hour in the morning, and an hour in the afternoon. Or 4 half hour blocks. Given my current limitations, that might be more achievable than the solid two hour block. My body will be fresher, and my mind will be more focussed.
The other thing that I’ve been contemplating is that my body isn’t really ready for two hours of practice. I jump in and practice, but I’m not giving myself any preparation. I saw a composer on twitter suggest finding some benefit from adding in some stretches, particularly for his legs, as he is sitting most of the day. The stretching was increasing flexibility, and strength in his body, and allowing him to focus more on the task at hand, and not on the stiffness in his body.
I borrowed from the library a while ago Six Lessons with Yehudi Menuhin. I had an idea for a video of following these lessons and seeing how my playing improved. However, the first lesson starts with a number of stretches, one of which is a Yoga pose that I wasn’t confident of my ability to pull off. But given how my body is feeling, I am wondering if it might be worthwhile adding these exercises into my daily routine, warming up and building up the muscles in my body so that I can have greater stamina in my practice.
So Here’s my practice log for this week.
8/1/21 – No practice
9/1/21 – Piano Trio rehearsal (2 hours). Playing the Schubert and Saint-Saens piano trios.
10/1/21 – First day utilising Nathan Cole’s schedule. Practiced C Major scales from Flesch up to and including thirds, Schradieck pages 1 and 2 at 60BPM, Vibrato Work (From Simon Fischer’s Basics), Kreutzer 9, Mozart Concerto, Dont 6 and some trill work. 80 minutes practice in total.
11/1/21 – Same as the day before, but using A minor scales, with a focus on the one string scales and arpeggios, getting smooth shifts. Also did 10 minutes on the Bach St Matthew Passion excerpt, before exhaustion got the better of me. 90 minutes practice in total.
12/1/21 – I completely missed that this was a palindrome day, until just now. I only completed the first half of the practice today – E major scales, Schradieck, Vibrato, and Kreutzer 9.
13/1/21 and 14/1/21 – No practice.
Focus for next week – introduce some warm up stretches to get the body ready to practice. Break up practice more, with an aim for more days of practice, and completing the routine. Focus is still on technique, particularly on shifting. Instead of the vibrato and trill work section, introduce specific exercises from Basics on shifting.
Lindsay Stirling and Kuha’o Case created an amazing version of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozVmO… ). I performed their arrangement at Ellenbrook Anglican Church on 20 December 2020 for their Children’s Christmas service. Jemima Loveland on Piano.
Today is Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day – the day the guns fell silent in World War 1. And I thought it fitting to look at this incredible piece of music by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams – The Lark Ascending.
First composed in 1914 for violin and piano, due to the outbreak of the war it wasn’t performed until 1920. During this time, at the age of 42, Vaughan Williams volunteered for military service. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a private, where he drove ambulance wagons in France and Greece. In 1917, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery, and saw action in France from March 1918. The war left an emotional toll on Vaughan Williams, losing many friends and comrades, including young composer George Butterworth, who was shot by a sniper at the Battle of the Somme, buried on the battle field, and his remains never recovered.
Vaughan Williams stopped writing music during the war years, and after the war took some time before he felt he was ready to write new works. It was in this time that he reworked some of his previously composed works, and the reworking of this piece for violin and orchestra is the result of this time. First performed in 1921, it is this version that is the more famous version.
The first performance was given by Marie Hall, to whom the piece was written for and dedicated to. She gave the premiere of the violin and piano version in December 1920, and again with the orchestral version on 14 June 1921 at Queen’s Hall, London with the British Symphony Orchestra. It was, however, not the main work on the program which was dominated by an early performance of Holst’s The Planets, another piece that was started in 1914 and seemingly affected by the war, with Marilyn Cooley writing of the first movement, Mars, “there’s a truly visceral sense of horror; what must have seemed like the end of the world to those who experienced The Great War.” At the time a music critic for The Times newspaper wrote that this performance
“stood apart from the rest as the only work in the programme which showed serene disregard of the fashions of to-day or of yesterday. IT dreams its way along in “many links without a break, and though it never rises to the energy of the lines “He is the dance of children, thanks Of sowers, shout for primrose banks,” the music is that of the clean countryside, not of the sophisticated concert-room.”
Music Critic in The Times, 15 June 1921 (likely H.C. Colles).
Compared with the spectacle and visceral horror of The Planets (which does end with Neptune’s quiet introspection), The Lark Ascending is one that tranquil, and in a way promotes the hope of peace that was longed for after the war.
It’s NAIDOC week in Australia, where we celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture as a vital and important part of Australian culture. There is a strong culture of music in Aboriginal culture – in their beliefs they talk about songlines – the paths across the sky and sometimes the land that mark the route followed by creator-beings during the Dreaming. As such, it is unsurprising that there is a group of musicians who are breaching the gap between traditional Aboriginal music and Western Art Music, and using this new medium to share their stories and culture.
Eric Avery is a Ngiyampaa, Yuin, Bandjalang and Gumbangirr artist. Formally trained in Dance (NAISDA Dance college and a mentorship at The Australian Ballet) and Music (Bachelor of Music from the Australian Institute of Music), he combines his skills on the violin to perform classical music and create new contemporary music that expresses his Koori (NSW Aboriginal) heritage. He works with his family’s custodial songs, reviving them and continuing the age old legacy of singing in his tribe.
Galinga (water song) is an incredibly emotive piece that incorporates Avery’s native tongue with traditional violin playing and looping textures to create a rich tapestry that evokes a babbling brook.
In Wirrangintungiyil, Avery performs with his father on Didgeridoo, utilising a healing lullaby that he learned from recordings of the King Family. Avery talks about how utilising native languages has been transformative and healing for him in reclaiming his culture.
ABC Classic FM has a fantastic page highlighting a number of stories and performances around Indigenous performers and composers that is well worth checking out.
Following up from yesterday’s post about the top five historical violinists, today we have the top five modern violinists. These are the violinists that if they come to do a concert in your town, you should do everything you can to get to see them. These are the ones that you should be watching and listening to for the best quality recordings of today. And these are the ones that I just prefer to listen to. Let’s get into it.
There are many brilliant violinists around today, and tomorrow I will share with you my five favourite modern day violinists. But all of these violinists are built on the shoulders of the greats who came before them. While in my opinion the Romantic period of classical music (1830-1900) is the period that produced the greatest violin works, it is in the 20th Century that the best violin performances dominated. These giants still influence modern thought and stylistic interpretation, and today I want to share with you my favourites. And thanks to the wonderful world that is YouTube, we have live recordings and performances of all of them.
So your child is starting to learn the violin, and you need to get a violin. You look at the music shop prices, and balk – surely it doesn’t cost that much for a violin! So you look on Gumtree, or Craigslist. Ahh, much better. How can there be such a big difference – does it really matter?
There’s lots of different things that go into a beginner violin, and when you buy from Gumtree or Craigslist, there’s no guarantee that you’re getting all of them, and no guarantee that you’re getting a violin that is in playable condition. So let me, an experienced violinist and music teacher, run you through the various parts, and why you shouldn’t buy a second hand violin from an unknown source.
Me! – by Taylor Swift and Brendon Urie – performed by two violins, piano, acoustic guitar, cajon, and tamborine. All instruments performed by Ben Clapton.
ME! was written by Taylor Swift and Bendon Urie (From Panic! at the Disco), released on April 26, 2019. This arrangement is for two violins, one taking Taylor’s part, and the other Brendon’s part. This gives both players the opportunity to shine. A Piano part accompanies, and a suggested cajon part, although this could easily be replaced by drums.
ME! is a bubblegum pop song about embracing your individuality and owning it. It’s a tune that can get stuck in your head and makes people feel better about themselves.
Two violin and piano accompaniment. List price: US$10.00. Buy it at Sheet Music Plus.