Arab Today, arab today tugging at the heartstrings
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Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Tugging at the heartstrings

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Tugging at the heartstrings

London - Arabstoday

You adjust the sofa a bit, find the most comfortable position — seated, stretched out or whatever you fancy; make sure the lights don\'t strain your eyes, shut the door, perhaps. And the private concert begins. In a warm and engaging voice, British violinist Tasmin Little transports you to the realm of her path-breaking experiment, the Naked Violin.Targetting the download (and now the tablet/app) generation, the philosophy of Little\'s big and ambitious project comprising works by J.S. Bach, Paul Patterson and Eugene Ysaye is uniquely egalitarian: It offers free music downloads (solo violin in its truest form, hence the name of the project) for everyone, and appreciates and spreads awareness on classical music.Her personal website includes a three-step challenge for anyone who wants to be part of the Naked Violin — listen to Little\'s spoken introduction and download the CD; listen and write back to her on what you like (or don\'t like) about each piece; and finally, go to a concert, buy a CD of classical music or offer her feedback on what prevents you from wanting to do either.But in an age where Bach and Beethoven are heard more often as mobile ringtones rather than at concert halls, what was the germinal impulse for such a project?\"What prompted me to launch the Naked Violin project was my deep desire to make classical music more accessible to people who assumed that they wouldn\'t enjoy that genre of music,\" Little says in an interview with Weekend Review. \"The results exceeded my wildest expectations! My project was, in fact, launched before pay-and-download had become quite as standard as it is now! In the classical-music world, in particular, there has always been a desire for the physical product, but people now wish to have both a CD and a version available for download.\"After its launch in 2008, the project was critically acclaimed worldwide and Little received the 2008 Classic FM Gramophone Award for Audience Innovation in September the same year.\"The best thing about the project is that it enabled so many people to experience classical music — I had so many letters from people who said it was wonderful to have the opportunity to experience it in the comfort of their home and to hear my spoken introductions. The letters, from both children and adults, were particularly lovely,\" says Little, who will be bringing an expanded version of the project to her maiden concert in Dubai next week.The project offers listeners the scope to enjoy a wide variety of classical music: From Bach\'s Partita No 3 in E major to Patterson\'s Luslawice Variations opus 50 to Ysaÿe\'s Sonata No 3 in D minor, it succinctly captures the triumph and the tenderness of solo violin. But more importantly, it is very pragmatic in its approach.\"My idea for Naked Violin is to present the instrument in its most pure and unadorned form, which some people believe is when it\'s most eloquent … If you start to listen to the Bach tune and decide early on that it\'s not for you, please don\'t go away — try another movement, or give the Patterson or the Ysaye tunes a go and come back to the Bach later. Sometimes you can listen to a work for the first time and not enjoy it, but on the second hearing, it becomes more accessible and enjoyable,\" says Little in her introductory comments on the project.The live concert in Dubai next week — organised by the Dubai Concert Committee — will see a variation of Naked Violin, with Georg Telemann and Bela Bartok joining works of existing composers to offer an even more diverse repertoire for listeners.Born in 1965, Little studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and later at the Guildhall School of Music. In addition to her career as a solo violinist, Little has also played and directed orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, the London Mozart Players, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Norwegian Chamber, the European Union Chamber Orchestra and the Britten Sinfonia. In 2006, she launched a \"Delius Inspired\" festival — broadcast for a week on BBC Radio — which comprised events ranging from orchestral concerts and chamber music to films and exhibitions. The festival succeeded in influencing 800 schoolchildren in its bid to widen interest in classical music for young people.Little, who plays a 1757 Guadagnini and has, on loan from the Royal Academy of Music, the \"Regent\" Stradivarius of 1708, feels that there is so much music available now that people possibly have a tendency to take it for granted.\"Back in Bach\'s time, you had to physically go to a concert to hear music, so maybe there was a feeling that it was something precious and special. However, I am glad I am living in this age of advancement, as I love my radio and CDs along with the live performances,\" she says.Little also loves performing in the Middle East, as is evident from her expectations. \"I love travel and that is a real inspiration for me — I love seeing different cultures and experiencing a way of life different from my own. I also love communicating with a variety of audiences, and this is one aspect of my job that I really enjoy.\"I love the idea of performing in the Middle East. It is, in fact, the region where I have given the lowest number of performances, and so I am very excited to be playing in Dubai! I hope I will have many more concerts in the region.\"Till then, Little\'s keeping busy with her endless experimentation. Howard Shelley\'s new recording of all the Beethoven piano concertos on Chandos records (\"We recorded the Triple Concerto with Tim Hugh, and it has just been released as a box set,\" she says) and the occasional moments of Beethoven ecstasy: \"The other day, I was driving to do some workshops and listened to The Emperor Concerto and his C minor Beethoven Concerto — wow!\"Little\'s other interests include playing with her children (high priority!) and catching up with her friends over dinner. \"Life would be very hard without friends and family,\" she says.

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