martin swan

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Everything posted by martin swan

  1. That's a completely different phenomenon, related to "haselfichte". And what I was saying relates only to contemporary factory production like the OP instrument.
  2. Cooked spaghetti is supple yet it has zero speed of return. Rigid can be opposed by either "floppy" or "flexible".
  3. If someone said they were as good a composer as Bach I would suspect them of being a bit doolally ...
  4. I don't think so ... "Resilience" is not a concept I understand in relation to bow wood. You might want to talk about the speed at which the wood returns to its relaxed state, and this might not be to do with stiffness. But there's no way you can describe the qualities of the "best" bow wood since every player wants something different. Stiffness is not a universally admired quality, whereas "speed of return" probably is, at least for classical players at a certain level and above.
  5. To even use the word "objectivity" in the context of musical appreciation is absurd. Music must be the clearest example you could find of a culturally generated aesthetic norm. There are orthodoxies and there are priests and devotees of those orthodoxies, but these are belief systems not universal truths.
  6. To me these are opposites - like loud and quiet. A bow can't be stiff and supple in the way that a noise can't be loud and quiet - it can only be the one or the other or somewhere in between.
  7. While agreeing that this is an irregularity in the spruce caused by proximity to a branch and not any kind of tone-enhancing or aesthetically pleasing figure, and while agreeing that there is probably no consequence one way or another for the tone, this is definitely a bad sign for me. This kind of wood would be rejected by all but the most penny-pinching of makers, and is evidence that the entire instrument was finished before anyone applied any kind of quality control ie. that it's a factory instrument and not a particularly good one.
  8. 1 - not really, the "strength" of the bow depends on how much of a given density of material you use. There are plenty of material such as carbon fiber or metal tube which will give you a massively strong bow at a low weight, and even in pernambuco there's a wide enough range of densities to produce light bows with quite inflexible sticks 2 - I think you're using a rather unhelpful starting point. What does it mean to you that a bow is "strong"? Do you mean you can apply a lot of pressure before you are playing on the wood, do you mean it makes a big sound, or do you mean the stick doesn't flex a lot? And are you asking as a player or a maker? As a very general and catch-all answer to your original question, I would say that the great 19th century bows which are so appreciated for their tone are more supple than most makers from Sartory onwards have thought correct. Although these makers tended to use wood which looks rather different from what we see in the 20th century, people who have researched the matter don't find much of a difference in its properties. So I would say it seems to be more what you do with it than what you've got to work with ... Perhaps it's true to say that bowing technique and bow-making have hand in hand taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way. Everyone seems to be looking for "strength" and "power", when it would be better to focus on tonal or expressive qualities of bows.
  9. Haha the case is quite possibly French, though all I could say for sure is that it currently has a French dealer's label in it. I might be tempted to say "either French or German" but Duffer's Edge would probably threaten me with court proceedings.
  10. For me that's an early 19th century Mirecourt scroll. For the rest of it, I wouldn't venture a guess except to say not French ...
  11. I would have thought more likely French turn of 18th/19th century ...
  12. The Well Tempered Klavier ? Even today it's a tough listen - to me it still belongs in a different universe, and to contemporary ears it must have been quite painful ...
  13. I can't imagine either Bach or Mahler being regarded as traditionalists in their own times. Surely Bach was the most radical and shocking figure imaginable? All those damned sharps and flats ....
  14. Easy to digress ... Kop's point is that all of these pieces, like all of those Strads and del Gesus, were at one point blindingly new and possibly shocking. It's not an artistic endeavour that all performers should embrace, but she is looking for ways to rekindle that sense of newness. She's not really a classical musician, but to deny her artistry or her intellect would be just another kind of shallowness.
  15. Of course not - with the possible exception of Abba. But you are making my point - the music we call classical music was mostly court music or church music. The notion of a classical canon is a bit more recent.
  16. Glad you enjoyed the clip ... Yes, I concede that when these pieces were written there must have been performance expectations (though in the absence of recordings we don't know what these were), but they were de facto not the expectations that Carl Stross and others would hold all performers to - his objections (legitimate as they are) are more to do with preserving a tradition and a work ethic (conservatism) than to do with music.
  17. You're slightly missing the point, which is that to modern ears they are part of a canon or a well established repertoire with its own performance traditions. When they were first performed they weren't.
  18. Philip, I know you're not a big fan, but I was struck while listening to this by the fact that what she's talking about is exactly the same debate as we have about new v. antique instruments. What modern luthiers forget as they slavishly make antiqued bench copies of Strads is that at one time these violins were NEW - they were shiny, impudent and surprising. Similarly with Beethoven or Tchaikovsky, these pieces were the latest biggest new thing - when the pieces were first heard they weren't "classical music". So I think the idea to inject a quality of newness is a serious artistic endeavour, and not in any way charlatanism. I hope by listening to her talking about it you will accord her the respect she deserves. Without giving the game away, I think her Beethoven cadenza clarifies a lot of the issues.
  19. If anyone is interested in knowing more about Kop's particular path as an artist, and her own reasons for her highly personal performances, then this is worth watching, particularly from about 13 minutes, when she talks about performing well known classical repertoire as an act of "dancing with skeletons". .
  20. 363 and beech blocks ... along with everything else I'm still in the early (ish) 19th century
  21. Here's a Chappuy from the 1770s - obviously the f-holes are distinctly Chappuy and very different to the OP violin, but I think they are related, and not necessarily separated by more than 30 years. So the little filler piece in front of the neck root may in fact be a little filler piece in front of the neck root ...