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Xavier de Maistre – opinions on what makes him great

Home Forums Coffee Break Xavier de Maistre – opinions on what makes him great

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #103686
    armande-fryatt
    Participant

    I think it’s got to be technique, technique, technique…..

    #103687
    tony-morosco
    Member

    I guess it depends on what you mean by Technique. Generally it means the ability to have absolute control over your instrument. To be able to play what ever it is you want to play.

    Technique only takes you so far. Two people can play all the notes in a particular piece of music and one moves you to tears and the other leaves you cold.

    Being great is about more than playing the notes. It is about imbuing the music with content. That takes understanding the music and being able to express yourself through it. Something that can be partially learned and is partially a gift.

    There are some people who have the talent and technique to play any piece on an instrument of any difficulty, but who will never be great musicians. And there are some who will grow into being great musicians through experience.

    I remember seeing the violinist Midori play many

    #103688
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    That’s a perfect explanation Tony. I’m insanely jealous that I didn’t say it!

    #103689
    tony-morosco
    Member

    I’m insanely jealous I can’t play like de Maistre.

    #103690
    carl-swanson
    Participant

    Seriously, any musician on any instrument who plays at the very top level has several skills that the rest of us mortals don’t. They have an almost built-in technique. Their hands seem to fall on the instrument in a perfect way. They have unusual dexterity. They have phenomenal memory, and can memorize a long difficult piece in a fraction of the time it takes the rest of us to memorize. They impose impossibly high standards on themselves and will work looooooong hours to reach perfection, and they will accomplish more in one hour of practice than the rest of us can accomplish in 10.

    But a musician who has all of these skills is not necessarily a great musician. The skills have to be there, but the musical understanding is another matter, and some of the people with all of these skills will become great musicians and others won’t.

    #103691
    jessica-wolff
    Participant

    I got to see him at the WHC in Vancouver and was blown away. Whatever it takes, he has it.

    #103692
    unknown-user
    Participant

    Jessica, I’m 99.99% sure he wasn’t there (I don’t remember that AND I just searched the entire whc program) – are you sure it wasn’t some other male harpist? Sylvain Blassel, perhaps?

    ~Sam

    #103693
    brook-boddie
    Participant

    A few years ago, one of the finalists in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition chose and played as one of her pieces a transcription of Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze.”

    #103694
    tony-morosco
    Member

    Reminds me of a

    #103695
    jessica-wolff
    Participant

    Yep, sorry, you’re right.

    #103696
    rod-c
    Participant

    Tony:

    I enjoyed reading your post on this topic (as well as those of others who posted.)

    When I was a journalist, I learned there are no silly questions. So, here’s my question. When you say “imbuing the music with content.,” what does content mean in this context?

    #103697
    tony-morosco
    Member

    I think “emotion” is as good a thing to call it as anything, although some of it might not necessarily be emotion specifically but, lets say, environment or context, such as isolation or wistfulness (maybe that counts as an emotion, but I always considered it more a state of mind).

    It is about having a message, and often that message is emotional in nature, at least for the performer. The composer can more easily put other elements into a piece. Ultimately the message of a piece of music is the message that the composer is trying to convey, which is why it is important as a performer to understand the music.

    But there is that part of the music that requires the musician to put in something else other than the notes in order to put that message in an emotional or experiential context so that it can truly resonate with the listener.

    Singing is a very good example. I think that most audiences can tell when a singer is emotionally connected to what they are singing, or when they are just phoning it in. With out the intermediary of an external instrument the content of the singer’s performance is very raw and stark before the audience, and it is hard for a singer to fake their way through a performance.

    But the same applies to other instruments other than the voice.

    Passion may be there, but passion is just one emotional context. The musician has the full color palate of emotional context to work with, from the blatant to the subtle, and being able to evoke anything along that spectrum is what makes the greatest musicians so great.

    #103698
    zoraida-avila
    Participant
    #103699
    david humphreys
    Participant

    My thought is that he has a sense of the “big ” picture, he also is not afraid to edit when necessary—–such an exciting age for the harp with people like him around!

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