Portland String Quartet

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THE WORLD’S MOST POPULAR MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

THE WORLD’S MOST POPULAR MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

Posted by on May 11, 2018 in String Quartet |

Musical instruments have changed dramatically over the years and there are so many different types of instruments that are still played today.Many Asian and African countries still use old traditional instruments today, but you seldom see them out of their own environments. However, there are some modern instruments that are popular all over the world and we look at some of the favorites here.

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MUST-VISIT CLASSICAL MUSIC VENUES WORLDWIDE

MUST-VISIT CLASSICAL MUSIC VENUES WORLDWIDE

Posted by on May 8, 2018 in String Quartet |

Whether you’re a newcomer to the modern classical music scene or already a die-hard fan, it’s worth knowing which are the best places in the world to experience a concert in real life. Nothing beats hearing an orchestra perform Mozart or Bach just feet away from you, and the atmosphere created by an excited crowd of aficionados adds an extra level of elation.

Wherever you are in the world, Europe, America, Australia or beyond, such is the reach of classical music that you will be able to find somewhere near you perfectly suited to a live concert. Here, we’ve put together a list of the most desirable destinations across the globe.

Sydney Opera House, Australia

Perhaps the most recognisable concert hall in the world right now is the soaring outline of the Sydney Opera House. Conceptualised by Danish designer Jørn Utzon, the venue was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973 and almost immediately became a global icon. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that this building has become one of the most famous in the modern world. It’s home to Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the main Concert Hall hosts the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ, which boasts over 10, 000 pipes.

Carnegie Hall, New York, USA

Carnegie Hall may not be as visually impressive as the Australian building, but it certainly has a massive presence as a music venue. Opened in 1891 and named after famed Scottish philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, its purpose is to “bring the transformative power of music to the widest possible audience”. It’s well known for its collection of world premiere performances, including works by Strauss, Gershwin and Duke Ellington, often with the composer conducting. A visit to this concert hall could result in a once-in-a-lifetime experience, at one of the most celebrated musical venues in the USA.

Royal Albert Hall, London, UK

A trip to London would not be complete without a peek inside the beautiful Royal Albert Hall. Opened in 1871 by Queen Victoria, the building is named after her husband, Prince Albert, who had died ten years previously. As a memorial it is magnificent, but as a music venue it is historic. Catering for much more than just classical music, the building has seen everything from the Eurovision Song Contest to Pink Floyd to the WWE within its walls, along with concerts from Classic FM, the BBC Proms and Classical Spectacular.

Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia

Opened in 1860, the Mariinsky Theatre has seen the likes of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Mussorgsky performed on its stage through the years and has been home to both the Imperial Ballet and the Imperial Opera. Nowadays, it does a fantastic job of bringing the past and the present together in a magical, opulent setting, premiering new works alongside the celebrated old masters that form such a vital part of the theatre’s story. Its grand interior must be seen to be believed, and a night spent here will whisk you away into a fairytale of Russian antiquity.

Swan Lake at the Mariinsky Theatre
Swan Lake at the Mariinsky Theatre

Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, Japan

This thoroughly modern and impressive piece of architecture is located within the Tokyo Opera City Tower, the seventh-tallest building in Japan’s capital city. Opened in 1997, it’s the newest concert venue on this list but it definitely deserves its accolade of ‘must-see’. The oak interior that forms a pyramid-shaped roof is designed specifically to enhance the acoustics and makes for an interesting environment in which to sit. As a newer building, it is able to utilise the latest advancements in technology to create the ultimate listening experience, with such complete silence created inside that each rustle of the audience can be heard.

Unless you’re a hardcore traveller, it’s unlikely that you’ll experience every one of these classical music venues in a lifetime. However, this is where the power of the internet comes into play. Whether I’m on the road or sat at home, I turn to my phone or tablet for entertainment; I do the daily crossword on The Guardian, play a few hands at PokerStarsCasino, and check in with my opponents on WordsWithFriends. Lately, I’ve also been using my handheld devices to get my classical music fix. The release of the BBC’s new Sounds app means that I can access concerts and broadcasts that I might have missed, whereas Idagio gives me a whole new world of curated playlists and accessible classics to listen to at my own pace.Whilst you don’t have to visit a world-class music venue to enjoy listening to Brahms, Beethoven or Vivaldi, it certainly does enhance the experience. You can use internet players and apps to keep you topped up in between, but I can wholeheartedly recommend attending ‘the real thing’ at your nearest concert hall to understand the full potency of those classic pieces of music.

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HOW TO LEARN A CLASSIC MUSIC INSTRUMENT

HOW TO LEARN A CLASSIC MUSIC INSTRUMENT

Posted by on Apr 26, 2018 in String Quartet |

Having an interest learn how to play an instrument is fun. The act of playing an instrument is beautiful and a skill that you can use all your life. It does take a lot of discipline though and commitment from the student to make them a master of their chosen instrument. For a classical instrument, you will need to understand and act on the following fundamental principles.

Principles of Classical Instruments

No matter the thought and pressure, keep in mind that you alone can best teach yourself. Having this understanding helps encourage yourself to become better at it. Make the learning process fun. When you enjoy what you do, it makes it easier to improve your skills.

Switch on your brain as you practice, and your improvement of the instrument will double. Learn to focus as you play the instrument, when you develop the ability to concentrate, you will get better at being focused.

Any problem you encounter in the process of learning should be your focus point until you overcome the mistake. Play the problematic tune more slowly until you do not find it difficult anymore. After that, try increasing the tempo and use the help of a metronome to mark time.

How to Build Your Skills

Jazz

Always try to play the instrument as correctly as you can. So, don’t start by playing fast. You will make a lot of mistakes if you do that. Try playing slowly repeatedly until you are better at it, and then increase the tempo. Create time to practice every day and make use of every available opportunity to work on playing the instrument. You can choose any time of the day for practice. You need to have a special place for practice. Find a place that will help you concentrate, and avoid the distractions that come from TV, radio and several other sources.

You should understand that learning an instrument is a long process. Prepare your mind for this and learn to play with patience. Initially, as you begin learning by playing slowly, it may not sound musical to your ears. Don’t worry – your effort will pay off in the long run if you dot quit. The more you play, the more you begin to hear the music in the note you play.

You can you can play a melody while practicing. Think of a famous childhood song and try it on the 12 keys. If you wish to learn jazz, then you have to understand scales, patterns, chords, and be good in all the 12 keys. Listening to talented and skilled instrumentalists is important too. Get a record of their best performance related to your area of interest and pay attention so that you can improve in their areas of weakness. The idea of ‘practice makes perfect’ is not true in the actual sense. When you practice, your focus should be on becoming better in the art. Then keep assessing your performance, and you will improve the way you play music.

Playing an instrument can bring you such joy and delight to a person’s life, as well as increase intelligence and help with focus and work ethic. We hope these ideas can help you in your journey.

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GREAT STRING QUARTETS TO SEE LIVE

GREAT STRING QUARTETS TO SEE LIVE

Posted by on Apr 16, 2018 in String Quartet |

Many people love the idea of classical music and listen to it at home because there are so many great benefits to listening to it. Many find that string quartets are a great option when it comes to classical music. Here are a few of the best quartets to see live in the States this year.

Belcea String Quartet

Arnold Schoenberg and his band were got all the fame in Germany for not following the traditional rules for composition of songs. Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, however, were working tirelessly and secretly testing some new styles which were revolutionary in the history of music. Later, these styles were named Impressionism.

It involves some sounds purely made to play on its own without the need to go with other sounds. The quartet composed by Debussy gives the listener the feeling of being lifted the sky, while that of Ravel makes some unexpected twists even with all the music rules intact. However, Belcea Quartet has a touch of French in it and is a masterpiece no one can afford to miss.

Lindsay String Quartet

These quartets represent the height of Haydn’s music writing career which should have fetched him the title “Father of String Instrument” just as he was named “Father of Symphony”.  He composed the Second Quartet, very fascinating that it was given the term “Fifths” taken from the musical intervals contained in the first movement themes.

The third quarter is a variant of the song “God Save Emperor Franz” which later became the national anthem of Austria and nicknamed “Emperor”, while the fourth quarter was named “Sunrise” and introduced by an ascending violin line. The sixth quartet has no tag but is the most creative of the quartets. It has a “fantasia” that is slow and has various surprising movements. Today, the Lindsay are the best interpreters of Haydn’s music, and their performance attests to that.

Takacs String Quartet

The five last quartets composed by Beethoven were finished before he passed away. All his quartets are great works of outstanding creativity of the man himself. The music deviates from the rules, yet they are deep and sensational. Most of his work is influenced by Bach, and it is quite noticeable, especially “Grosse Fuge and “Op 131”. Beethoven artistry is deeply felt in the Takacs Quartet. The Emerson Quartet which shows the same skill cannot compare regarding depth of feeling.

Emerson String Quartet

Tchaikovsky was a student when he wrote the string quartet which was published in 1940 as his first work. The second movement lyric is amazing and, today, many instrumentalists feature it during concerts as Andante Cantabile on cello and strings. Equally amazing are the other movements as they burn with intensity into the heart of listeners, and the last movement gives the work a great conclusion.

There are many great quartets all around the world, these are just a few of the best ones that you can see this year. We hope you enjoy your show and the work of these great guys.

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THE BEAUTY OF THE VIOLIN

THE BEAUTY OF THE VIOLIN

Posted by on Apr 10, 2018 in String Quartet |

The violin is one of the most popularly used stringed musical instruments. It is played with a bow just like a guitar. Sting musical instruments played with a bow dates back to ancient times. Although there is no detailed information on its origin, a violin (which is bigger than a violoncello and viola) can be said to date back to the middle of the 16th century in Italy. Andrea Amati born in 1500 and died in 1577 is said to be the maker of the first violin and the owner of the Cremona school of violin making. 

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