Yesterday afternoon the Arianna String Quartet taught a master class to the graduate quartet. In a nutshell, all four members talked about finesse, and how to attain the finer aspects of music that make it interesting. For example, not every quarter note must be equal, as long as the greater pulse (every 2 bars, perhaps?) is in time.
The cellist talked extensively about bow distribution and bow usage. I wanted to applaud him as soon as he started talking about this! I am constantly trying to teach my students that while it is important to have full control of the bow, you don't always have to use the whole thing (though you must be able to!). It was so great to hear these amazing musicians reiterate many of the things that I strive for in my teaching and playing.
So today I practiced quite a bit, and it was really fun to experiment with different phrases to see if what I have been doing is really the most effective way of expressing what I want to express. I found myself in love (all over again) with the Brahms E-flat sonata. It really is astounding what Brahms did with such simple notes!
I also worked on the Mozart Kegelstatt Trio. While the notes are not especially difficult in this work, making them beautiful and emotional is. So I played around with bowings and decided to do some perhaps unusual things-- that's the great part about being the only string player in the group-- I don't have to worry about matching bowings with the other members! Here's a passage in the last movement, where I decided a bunch of up bows sounded really great.
It's just under two weeks until my recital, and I'm really having fun with my repertoire. That is a good place to be, two weeks out.