Herman West

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About Herman West

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  1. Herman West

    Is there arising a crisis in the antique violins market ?

    you seemd to say you liked Perlman when he was playing the violin with Zukerman assisting. I may have been joking.
  2. Herman West

    Is there arising a crisis in the antique violins market ?

    But that's not fair if the other violinists have to play by themselves.
  3. Herman West

    reivew of 'Gone' by Min Kym, book about stolen Strad

    It's intriguing how these narratives (Kym's and the one in the Times about the "lost prodigy") seem to fall in well-travelled cliche grooves. In Kym's case: I and my precious Italian are ONE, and I can't live without it. (It helps if you're female.) The story about the guy who changed his name (conveniently in a more Anglo-sounding type) seems to be a case of a reporter choosing style over substance. The reporter wanted to write a wow story in the style of Joseph Mitchell about a loner turning his back on society. It has been pointed out that there is not a trace of this prodigy violinist in Carnegie and Curtis records; he was a prodigy and a star-to-be in his own memory. It would have helped if the reporter had any familiarity with bowed instruments; he would have realized that a violin left in its case for fifty years is not immediately fit to play. It's the material sign the lost prodigy is not being entirely guileless.
  4. Herman West

    Stradivari's secret was a concept?

    This happens all the time. The program booklet mentions a fancy Strad or Guarneri the soloist is playing, while in reality he or she is travelling with his modern instrument, which sounds just as great. This way the Strad myth is perpetuated.
  5. Herman West

    Wood porn

    I'm a little surprised by the the outline going over the edge of the wood in the above two pix
  6. Herman West

    Hen(d)rik Jacobs? No offers please!

    I don't find the purfling particularly 'elegant'.
  7. Herman West

    Researching information on super light violins

    Right. It sounds like the solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Violins, as they are (440 grams incl chinrest), are ridiciluously easy to hold.
  8. Herman West

    Vuillaume a Paris: Any good violin?

    Interesting. What makes you think so?
  9. Herman West

    manfio viola

    With a living, very active maker, one would think the violist could discuss the size with the maker. Prefereably before purchase, or otherwise, talk it over if you don't feel quite happy. So yeah, this does look a little suspicious.
  10. Herman West

    Beethoven, op. 130

    Fifty-six indeed is not old any more, and it needn't have been in Beethoven's time (perhaps), if one was rich and healthy. But Beethoven was none of those things. He was dead a year after composing the B flat major quartet.
  11. Herman West

    Beethoven, op. 130

    Hi Stephen, do you object if I once more return to the topic of the 130 Cavatina, and what it 'means'? Obviously it is a very special place in Beethoven, but on the other hand I have been listening to the the three last piano sonatas lately, and in particular the rather lyrical A flat major sonata op. 110, from 1841. It's a beautiful piece. In the third and final movement of the sonata there is an 'Ariosa dolente', a mournful song as it were, that begins in the exact same way as the 'Beklemmt' in the String Quartet, with bunched quavers entirely changing the mood, after which a lyrical (and perhaps mournful, depending on how you listen - my feeling is more like 'helpless') melody floats in over the quavers. In both cases the dynamics are pretty fierce, per bar. In both pieces of music, the Sonata and the Quartet, this, shall we say, rather simple and highly appealing music is in close vicinity to a fugue. Though, obviously, no fugue can ever be as big and bad as the Grosse Fugue. And no Beethoven is as Belcanto as the Beklemmt section of the Cavatina. I think however that this juxtapositioning of different kinds of musical texture is what late Beethoven is about, fugues, belcanto, peasant dances. It's a about contrast. And so what I'm perhaps saying is that Beethoven was not necessarily 'opening up' in the Cavatina or the 110 Ariosa. He was thinking of the big picture these entire works form.
  12. Herman West

    Violin ID Help

    Seriously, flamed ribs and back are more a matter of Interior Decorating than of the quality of the instrument, isn't it?
  13. Herman West

    1857 Caspar da Salo violin

    It's that Mediterranean diet.
  14. Herman West

    Beethoven, op. 130

    Stephen, the alternative finale was not written on LvB's deathbed. Artaria persuaded the composer there was more money to be made by publishing the quartet as two quartets, i.e. 130 and 133, and off LvB went. He never got paid for two quartets, though. Seperating the Grosse Fuge however has hurt the unity of 130, since there is quite a bit of motiv recapitulating in the Fuge. About the Cavatina. I balk at saying it's about "lost love". LvB is not Justin Bieber. He was an old man at this point. Beethoven, at this point wasn't necessarily trying to express his transient feelings in music. He was experimenting with forms and genres, and the Cavatina is, among other things, his attempt to write a belcanto aria. That aria could, of course, still be about "lost love," but not necessarily Beethoven's lost love, rather than lost love in general. However, I have never felt it that way. I would rather say, as Beethoven did himself, that it is about feeling 'beklemmt" as a vulnerable individual in the entire universe, and then, a couple bars later, being taken up again in the pulse of life (like "rocks and stones and trees" as his coeval Wordsworth wrote). The Cavatine has terrific drive, right from the get go; no one ever mentions this. It's a very effective piece of music.