Herman West

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  1. Herman West

    Is this a kindergeige or a violon d'enfant?

    Ah, Martin's got "cotes" better than me: "traits". Reminding one of Meryl Streep in "Postcards from the Edge", when her mother says "I don't like that side of you." "I'm not a box," Streep replies, "I don't have sides," which would be "cotes" in French.
  2. Herman West

    Is this a kindergeige or a violon d'enfant?

    "For the second one I tend to think it's German, even though the corners / sides look French. Did any expert see it in person? So as to be able to appreciate the quality of the varnish? [bold] by applying some heat to the varnish? Often this is a way to confirm one's feelings. In any case congratulations on your extraordinary collection!"
  3. Herman West

    Is this a kindergeige or a violon d'enfant?

    In the first half Terrier says it's very hard to determine the provenance of these "miniatures", because they were always made by apprentices, never by the atelier master. In the second half he says he's got the feeling the first one is French, "but I may be prejudiced" because it's made so much better." [Which is why he wants it to be French.] "The scroll is characteristic of the first quarter of the 19th C."
  4. Herman West

    Ray Chen plays a modern violin on the latest recording?

    if you have a loaned Strad and a couple of contemporary instruments, one would expect the performer to use the Strad on a recording and use the new (and potentially replacable) instrument for on the road, while still mentioning in the programme book you're playing a Strad. Otherwise the audience won't enjoy it as much....
  5. Not so sure about the variety of baroque. Perhaps there's a reason (to borrow your phrase) a lot of HIP conductors have moved into the classical and then romantic rep. One reason people seem depressed is because once you've found a spot in a good orchestra, there's nowhere to go. You can't be promoted to a bigger violin. That's why a lot of people in straight jobs might as well be in an orchestra. They're stuck, too. It's life.
  6. No two HIP performances are the same, and certainly the way to play in a HIP style has progressed or changed a lot over the past half century (it started in the sixties), so I think it's fair to say these people don't believe in freezing Bach. There is no way of telling what kind of modern perfomance Bach would have liked, since he didn't imagine (most likely) anybody playing his music after three centuries.
  7. Szeryng and Nathan Milstein are maybe the best recorded examples of the romantic, monumental style of playing the S&Ps. There are two Milstein recordings. There are two Steinhardt recordings*, too, btw, although I would not put him in the Milstein class. The odd thing about Hahn's recording Bach this 'unabashed' way is not that her playing seems to be totally insulated from any HIP influence. It's rather that she sets herself up this way to be competing with greats like Milstein, Szeryng and Szigeti, and she's just not up to this, yet. * On a cd included with his delightful book Violin Dreams you get both recordings on one cd.
  8. detailed instructions in the score weren't necessary in the pre-classical era, since music was local at the time. In most cases the composer performed his own music, or led the performance. In some cases the composer's son took over, however people wanted to hear new music, not that old stuff. (That's one of the reasons Mozart got into trouble near the end of his short career, writing stuff like The Magic Flute which was a significant departure from his previous operas: fashion had changed; he was becoming a has-been.) The whole idea of generation after generation playing Palestrina or JSBach was foreign to Palestrina or Bach. Hence they did not write in any performance instructions for people they did not know. JS Bach was notably less famous than his sons, who got around more and were much more fashionable than JSB with his fuddy-duddy predilection for fugues. Correct me if I'm wrong but JS Bach's work survived for revival by Mendelssohn et al because musicians used his Clavierubungen and violin solo works for study purposes. Mozart, who'd been a fan of Johann Christian Bach (the youngest son who'd become a success in London), discovered JSB manuscripts at the home of a noble patron and went to town on fugal techniques. Chopin used the Well Tempered for warming up every day.
  9. I could imagine doing a part of the programme again as an encore because it is new to the audience - the way Willem Mengelberg (if I'm correct) encored the entire Mahler 4 symphony at its Amsterdam premiere.* But not the Chaconne, which, also, is a rather tough listen at times. *Well, it's not an encore, I guess, when you perform a symphony before the break, and then perform it again after the break.
  10. Herman West

    Which maker do you prefer and why

    gentlemen. otherwise interesting topics keep getting derailed this way. there is the option of NOT responding.
  11. I'm not saying the reviewer is right (because I wasn't there) but it's pretty clear why she felt this way. Perhaps it bears mentioning that the reviewer was first trained as a violinist. She is not your typical dilletante reviewer. By (literally) encoring the Chaconne it became clear to the reviewer how deliberate Hahn's performance was. The encore was too much a repeat of the first time around. She had expected more spontaneity or at least expansion of the first Chaconne. Maybe Hahn isn't really the kind of performer who lets her hair down; and maybe the Chaconne isn't the kind of piece for letting one's hair down.
  12. If you're talking about musical family lines continuing I'd say after Debussy there is both Ravel and after that Poulenc and the incredibly prolific Milhaud and after that Dutilleux. In the German tradition, if you like playing tremolos for half the night there is Bruckner. If you like Brahms's chamber music there is Max Reger just before Schoenberg and Alban Berg. Elgar of course is the British tradition after which you get Britten and Vaughn Williams and Tippett.
  13. They were close friends.
  14. See, that's how persuasive this destructive attitude is. Several people here have said they like Brahms. One poster keeps on ragging on Brahms because of attention span issues ("boring" "tedious" "too clever"), and so the take-away is Brahms is boring. Well, lots of great art is boring. Have you ever heard Bach's Chaconne? One fiddle, and it goes on and on... Brahms died 125 years ago; his work keeps being performed and recorded, probably more so than half a century ago, he's both fully canonized and yet still exciting to performers because of his exquisite craftsmanship and sheer musical genius, for the players it just doesn't get better. I can't believe that we're still having this discussion which really belongs to a long gone era. You don't have to like him, but his excellence is indisputable.