What could musicians do in Bach’s era that we can’t? Aisslinn Nosky discusses with Anne Manson
Concert musicians enjoy advances in kinesiology, materials science, and other technologies in the same way athletes do. Violin strings, as with athletic shoe-laces, are now less likely to break during especially strenuous moments, while computer imaging helps illustrate the most effective ways of executing a tremolo or slap-shot.
All the more reason to look back upon the achievements of Bach and Stradivarius in the same we do the construction of the pyramids and Stonehenge — as wonders that defied the constraints of their eras. “Bach was one of the greatest keyboardists, but he was also a fantastic violinist,” says violinist Aisslinn Nosky. “Even so [Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin] are so difficult, it’s hard for professional violinists today to manage it… So I don’t see how he would have had time to practice it for himself!”
Aisslinn marvels generally at the craft and gumption of Baroque-era musicians: “Considering they performed without electricity, without central heating, probably in the dark with instruments that might not have been maintained that easily or that well… you think, well, I’d better stop making excuses for myself!”
Aisslinn is, of course, MCO’s Guest Artist in Residence as well as being one of Canada’s top baroque violinists. She was to perform Bach with us at our now cancelled May concert. On the upside, you can hear her perform Bach’s E Major partita in this video, and enjoy more of her discussion with Anne Manson about how the techniques and skills of baroque-era musicians compared with musicians of today. And be sure to check out this Spotify playlist, curated with help from Aisslinn Nosky, of repertoire that was programmed for our May concert.
More MCO listening and viewing treats…
From the same discussion, here’s Aisslinn performing and talking Michael Oesterle’s Stand Still. A lovely 2011 piece for Michael’s son, then a toddler learning to walk and needing to stand still sometimes!
On the subject of Bach’s Partitas and Sonatas for Solo Violin, here’s the fourth instalment of MCO Concertmaster Karl Stobbe‘s home performance series of the same. Click here to watch.
We’re delighted to provide you with free access to the MTS film Concerto about Victoria Sparks’ premiere with the MCO of Sid Robinovitch’s Percussion Concerto. Click here to watch!
Did you know that you can listen to seven of the MCO’s albums — including collaborations with Philip Glass, Measha Brueggergosman, and Dame Evelyn Glennie — for free on Spotify? Click here to access on our channel. Unsure how to use Spotify? (One of the Millennial editors of MCO at Home was unsure, so no shame.) Here’s an instructional video on Spotify.
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