Tabea Zimmerman

Now that I've been back in Lubbock for a few weeks after my "wedding sandwich" weekend, I've been relaxing and catching up on tasks that have piled up over the last months. Some of the fun I've been having is looking at new repertoire. There's something extremely satisfying in looking at a new piece of music for the first time and making sense of it almost immediately. Certainly it depends on the piece, but I've been having a lot of fun reading through pieces and am deciding on the ones I want to spend serious time learning. 

One of these works is the second Reger Solo Suite Opus 131d, Nr. 2. At this point my plan is to perform it on my first recital at Ball State, scheduled for October. After coming up with some initial fingerings, I decided it'd be good to intently listen to a recording. My favorite is by German violist Tabea Zimmerman. She has such an ease in her sound, and I nearly always love her phrasing. It struck me just now, as I was reading along in the score while listening to her play, that she stays in first position and uses open strings a lot! 

Now, when you're Tabea Zimmerman and have a fine contemporary French instrument on which the open A doesn't "twang" too much, and you can masterfully conceal string crossings, her choices sound completely amazing. I will continue to tweak my own fingerings to find the combinations that work best with my instrument and skills, but in the meantime I wanted to share that one of the things by which I'm continually struck is the way that on stringed instruments, a phrase can be played a myriad different ways to produce different timbres, colors, and phrasing.

This is my favorite part of learning a new piece-- exploring the different possibilities to attain the best musical choices. .. Especially during the lazy days of summer when deadlines are (for now) far from my mind! I believe this to be one of the aspects of young violists that takes them to the next level-- when students stop doing what's easiest in exchange for what makes most musical sense. First position and open strings don't always work best, unless of course you're Tabea Zimmerman, it seems. :)

Happy practicing.