April 18, 2009

Masochism - or Health?

In the November 2002 edition of Strings Magazine, violin soloist Nikolaj Znaider speaks of his "idealistic pursuit of artistic merit":

"I think we as instrumentalists, in a certain masochistic way, enjoy the practicing, the slaving over details, the scales, the relentless scales and exercises," Znaider explains.

The definition of "masochist" being "someone who obtains pleasure from receiving punishment", I wonder - DO we as violinists, when practicing hours of Ševčík, Kreutzer and Flesch, feel that there is some strange, almost sick pleasure in a routine that can seem punishing, dreadful in a way? Or do we accept that a steady diet of these things does indeed contribute to our continued technical and musical health?

Hard for me to answer this one - but I have to say that over the past few weeks I have been on a steady diet of Ševčík, and feel much "healthier" because of it. Then again, this is no mean price to pay...

...off to Philadelphia today, where I will be hearing the Philadelphia Orchestra live for the first time...


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