Herman West

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About Herman West

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  1. Kind of overlooked in this discussion is the way someone with a recording device impacts the people around him or her. It's highly uncomfortable if someone is fussing with his phone during a performance; multiply that by ten if he or she is using that phone (or a minicam) to record the performance. It's also uncomfortable because you know it's illegal and against the rules, and you have to keep telling yourself you can't do anything about it without disrupting the audience quiet. You can bet your bottom dollar dozens of people around this woman were aware of what she was doing and felt bad about it. As for infringing on the rights of the performer. I don't think anyone is going to NOT buy a ASM cd because there's a crappy amateur recording of the same piece on youtube. However the way it's bad for the performer is that it's by definition a crap recording. Recording violin and piano is a hell of a job; you need excellent microphones, well placed, and the best acoustics. So even if the performer has a top night and the spontaneity of the performance tops the studio setting, the sound is going to be detrimental. It's the same as people not wanting bad pictures of themselves disseminated. The attitude of entitlement evinced in this woman and her recording device (and also our trusted A432 Strawman: "it's not illegal if people do it") is a sign of the times. Go to a great Art Museum like the Louvre and you will find 75% of the youngish visitors don't really look at the paintings and statues. They take pictures in lieu of looking. They think they are going to look at the pictures (or rather the pictures of the paintings) when they're back home. They won't. Incidentally, there are signs everywhere in the Louvre that flash pictures are against the rules. People do it just the same. (Because it's not illegal if people do it.) They make it hard for people without iPhones to look at the paintings, because they demand the best shot. I have stopped going to museums because of the iPhone crowd. The same is happening in the concert hall. Ergo it was not "declassé" of AM to speak up, because she was speaking on behalf of the listeners, too.
  2. H.C. Robbins Landon, of course, has devoted most of his life to researching Haydn't life and work, so you can't go wrong. And, yes, Haydn wrote dozens and dozens of wonderful symphonies. One really doesn't get what the fuss is about with Beethoven's piddling Nine. I have always liked Haydn's nr 68, in B flat major, a lot. In the piano sonatas the interesting thing is how he kind of harkens back to Carl Philip Em. Bach - the famous Bach.
  3. well, those are some great pictures on the "Louis Pique" fiddle with the pretty sound post crack.
  4. I would not pen a K that way, but otherwise I'm afraid the pianist's problem was more that he or she preferred people to be called John or Amy, which is not necessarily how things work in the 2010s.
  5. this is the youtube link for this concert: Perhaps a tv-set is not the best way to sense the "fruit in the lower registers" in a Strad or in any violin. I sense we're up for yet another Modern - vs Strad / GdG discussion.
  6. My daughter is twelve years old, and based on my experience with her and her class mates, I can assure you you are dead wrong, and maybe wishfully thinking. Also, I hope you are safely kept away from preteens...
  7. just go to a brick and mortar shop rather than eBay.
  8. Martin just explained how "getting lucky" doesn't happen anymore, with hundreds of dealers looking in via internet.
  9. first thing is to remove those scratchy finetuners.
  10. Herman West

    Violin ID

    I'm a little puzzled by the "dusty" upper reaches. I would expect the dust to collect in the lower valleys, and not on the shining e-string mountain top.
  11. "Everybody says that this is the greatest viola in existence – and now I agree with them! It still surprises me every time. I always feel that there are two of us on stage. It’s a symbiotic relationship, like that of a great couple – and it reminds me of my wife!" From the interview in Strad magazine. Of course it's a great privilige to play on of the few existing Strad violas, but really...? It reminds him of his wife? What does this even mean? Tamestit's foremost mentor, Tabea Zimmermann, still plays on a modern instrument (Vatelot) she won at a competition at the start of her career. Sure, the Tamestit viola is among the rarest in existence (though Amihai Grosz' Caspar di Salo does come to mind, and there are several reconstructed Amati violas in circulation), but 'rare' does not necessarily equal 'greatest', and Tamestit should give himself some credit for the sounds he's making. Also I can't help but think we are currently living in a Golden Age of viola making, which means one doesn't have to keep pining for a 25 million instrument.
  12. Those labels don't mean anything. Millions of 19th violins, turned out by team workers in Southern Germany etc used that label, basically indicating it was a violin - not even on a Strad model, really. My daughter used to play on a fun 3/4 with a Strad label. Strad violins were always the top of the heap, expensive from day one. AS sold to royals and aristos, and pretty much every instrument has a well documented pedigree from 1700 unwards. No aspersion on your grandfather, I love the picture of him fiddling with his guitar friend, but the chances that an immigrant coming thru Ellis Island was the owner of one of those instruments is virtually nil.
  13. Technically this doesn't make sense. All bottles of the same vintage should be identical, given good storage. The thing however is, storing wines for fifty years isn't really necessary anymore. Winemaking has evolved to a point where there are hundreds of excellent wines that can be drunk within five years from harvest.
  14. the "made in Italy" adds something like 4 or 5K to the price of a violin. So if you buy a 5K violin that's alledgedly made in Italy there is a substantial risk you're not buying an exquisitie piece of workmanship (which I believe is what many people think is the free translation of "made in Italy") but rather a Chinese factory made instrument that may or may not have spent some time in Italy.