Ron MacDonald

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Everything posted by Ron MacDonald

  1. Violin/viola bows are also tilted toward the fingerboard and scroll.
  2. Max Bruch (full name: Max Christian Bruch) was not Jewish. Don't know where Philip gets his information.
  3. There is a wonderful episode in "Hollywood Canteen" that has Joseph Szigeti and Jack Benny playing duets and solos.
  4. What do you think about the flames on the back?
  5. Only Canadians will know who Don Messer was. However, he did in fact have lessons in classical violin technique. When he was 16, he moved to Boston where he studied for about four years before returning to Canada. No matter what he played, he had very good technical skills.
  6. I would regard F, C and G as classes of clefs. The definition of alto clef designates the line on which C falls and it cannot be confused with the tenor (which has its own definition).
  7. I would have thought that the alto clef would count as a major one and I assume the cellists don't learn it.
  8. As an adult, Grappelli had lessons with the great British violinist, Alfredo Campoli.
  9. Geoffrey told me that the monologues often went on for several hours and if Gould felt you were not listening carefully or had dozed off, he would instantly terminate the friendship. Geoffrey had the good luck to survive.
  10. "Music & Mind". Geoffrey told me a great deal about the difficulties of maintaining a friendship with Gould. Long telephone monologues in the middle of the night!
  11. Interesting book! The author was a close friend of mine.
  12. I'm very lucky to have a Strad model viola by Michael Darnton. It is based on the Tullaye violin and is identical to the viola on Michael's "Making a Viola" photo essay. It's a very fine instrument.
  13. There is no reason to believe that a well repaired crack in a top would affect the sound detrimentally. One famous violinist once told me that a Rocca that he was particularly fond of sounded even better after it sustained two major cracks caused by mishandling on an aircraft and they were repaired.
  14. Joseph Fuchs played well into his nineties.
  15. Neruda died in 1911, so unlikely to have been in a plane crash. Ginette Neveu died in a crash in 1949 and Thibaud died in a crash in 1953.
  16. All my sources indicate that George Duncan emigrated to Canada in 1892. It is possible that he spent some time in Maine which shares a border with the Canadian province of New Brunswick. On the other hand, since he won a gold medal in London in 1885, it seems unlikely that he would be making number 3 in 1896. James Duncan of Cluny seems to have stayed there. I have his number 19 dated 1906 and his number 39 dated 1925. Both made in Aberdeenshire.
  17. I have a wonderful viola by Sarah Beaton:
  18. In their last days, W. E. Hill was unable to obtain the waterproof canvas that they had used to cover their cases. Their last cases (I have one) were sold with a plastic bag and a note to put it on in case of rainl.
  19. The recordings by Szigeti with Horszowski and Szigeti with Arrau (live) are very special.
  20. Back in the mid twentieth century, Lawrence Cocker of Derby became renowned for his bamboo bows. They were beautifully made--one distinguished cellist abandoned his regular bows and played exclusively with those of Cocker.
  21. Late in life, Alfredo Campoli acquired a John Lott which he said reminded him of a Del Gesu. His last recording was made with this instrument.
  22. Woodcock was a strange character. Many years ago when I was a student I bought what was supposed to be a R. & A. Gagliano from him with his certificate. A decade or so later, I gave the instrument to a student and I thought he might like to see the certificate which I had lost. I wrote to Woodcock to ask for a copy and to my surprise he replied that he didn't keep records but sent me a blank certificate with his signature and told me to fill in whatever I liked.
  23. The neck was lengthened and remounted by Vuillaume but he did not replace it. It is original!