Sign in to follow this  
Stephen  Fine

Don Quixote - Berlin - Runnicles - Grosz, viola solo

Recommended Posts

I bet anyone who keeps their back to the audience and can still see the sheet music during solo time would feel pretty comfortable.

 

He doesn't have "his back to the audience."   Runnicles usually has the cello and viola sections exchange places onstage.  It's gorgeous playing no matter where he happens to be sitting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He doesn't have "his back to the audience."   Runnicles usually has the cello and viola sections exchange places onstage.  It's gorgeous playing no matter where he happens to be sitting.

I've sat in that position before albeit a few rows behind - may as well have his back to the audience.

 

The viola and player are doing a fine job and I'm probably right about this too - if the solo were to be lengthened to 4-5 minutes I'm sure the player here would be up for the challenge, if you can call it that, to keep doing what he was doing for 2:12 with the original solo.  Just makes a man stronger if you burden him with more responsibility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is wonderful.

 

I'd say that IF the viola is modern, then that maker has arrived, and all I've ever said about modern makers I will take back.   :)   But I see that he ordinarily plays a Gaspar, and on second looking I believe it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is wonderful.

 

I'd say that IF the viola is modern, then that maker has arrived, and all I've ever said about modern makers I will take back.   :)   But I see that he ordinarily plays a Gaspar, and on second looking I believe it is.

 

Thank you !  I was scared for a while....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bet anyone who keeps their back to the audience and can still see the sheet music during solo time would feel pretty comfortable.  

 

Really?  Do you think seeing the audience makes much of a difference?  I don't think it does for me.

 

 

That is wonderful.

 

I'd say that IF the viola is modern, then that maker has arrived, and all I've ever said about modern makers I will take back.   :)   But I see that he ordinarily plays a Gaspar, and on second looking I believe it is.

 

That viola has the right sound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is wonderful.

 

I'd say that IF the viola is modern, then that maker has arrived, and all I've ever said about modern makers I will take back.   :)   But I see that he ordinarily plays a Gaspar, and on second looking I believe it is.

 

No worries, mate.  I can tell even through my computer's cheap, built-in speakers that's not a modern instrument. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you !  I was scared for a while....

Heck, Carl,

 

I already had my check book out and was looking for a name and phone number!   :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No worries, mate.  I can tell even through my computer's cheap, built-in speakers that's not a modern instrument. 

 

Larry, you just can't say this on MN. It's just not PC.....   :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Larry, you just can't say this on MN. It's just not PC.....   :)

 

Well just "damn", Carl; you've been absent so long I forgot the rules!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent rendition!  I'd put my modern (1965) viola in his hands and it would not lose anything, I have played it side by side to a Gaspar.  Mine had a larger richer sound that projected better, but the Gaspar was sooo easy to play - give mine 400 years to age perhaps?   However, my instrument, I have decided is a freak one-off instrument from this maker as the value of his instruments would be much greater if they all were like mine. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... my instrument, I have decided is a freak one-off instrument from this maker as the value of his instruments would be much greater if they all were like mine. 

 

After half a century more practise, maybe all her newer instruments really are all like yours, in which case yours would no longer be a "freak."  In any event,  since I'm sure you've aroused everyone's curiosity, I think you should "do the right thing" and name the maker.  Since yours is so extraordinary, you'd be doing the maker a favor by spreading the good word.  After all, one of the most difficult tasks of even an excellent modern maker is to become known to potential customers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everybody seems to be in agreement about this viola sound.  I'm wondering what sound violists strive for.  To me the video sounds like an alto range violin, not so much sounds I associate specially with viola.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent rendition!  I'd put my modern (1965) viola in his hands and it would not lose anything, I have played it side by side to a Gaspar.  Mine had a larger richer sound that projected better, but the Gaspar was sooo easy to play - give mine 400 years to age perhaps?   However, my instrument, I have decided is a freak one-off instrument from this maker as the value of his instruments would be much greater if they all were like mine. 

 

Any viola that good is a freak.

 

Everybody seems to be in agreement about this viola sound.  I'm wondering what sound violists strive for.  To me the video sounds like an alto range violin, not so much sounds I associate specially with viola.

 

This is the sound.  For me.  It's just a marvelous contralto sound.  The tone is nasal, but the perfect amount.  It is powerful across all registers.  The core to the sound is sweet and clear.

 

Maybe you think a viola should have a little less core, a little more nasal, a little sweeter.  Here's that viola I mentioned in the other thread, I just discovered this recording, and it is killing me.  Until I heard Grosz's da Salo, I think this Tuttle/Dunham da Salo was my favorite viola:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^What an interesting video.  Song with viola obbligato. 

 

Have you ever heard Walter Trampler's recording of the Schumann sonata #1 for violin?  It was my favorite version of that before I heard Kavakos.

 

What do you think of this viola?  It reminds me a lot of a cello.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^What an interesting video.  Song with viola obbligato. 

 

Have you ever heard Walter Trampler's recording of the Schumann sonata #1 for violin?  It was my favorite version of that before I heard Kavakos.

 

What do you think of this viola?  It reminds me a lot of a cello.

 

I haven't heard that Trampler recording.  I bet it's fabulous.  I'll look for it.

 

The MacDonald sounds unexceptional to me.  It's interesting that you hear violas as either sounding like a violin or like a cello.  Both the da Salos and this Strad sound very viola-ish to me even though they sound so different from each other.

 

PS-  If you're unfamiliar with these Brahms Songs than you are probably unfamiliar with this recording:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't heard that Trampler recording.  I bet it's fabulous.  I'll look for it.

After I had had that recording for awhile I was fortunate enough to hear him as part of I think it was the Juilliard Quartet and it was very nice, and free, being a student.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it was the Juilliard Quartet

 

I'm jealous you got to hear him!  I don't think he played with Juilliard unless he was subbing.  He played in the Yale Quartet in the 70s.

 

Juilliard had Raphael Hilliard and Samuel Rhodes before Roger Tapping.  Interestingly, viola is the most stable position in that quartet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think our generation of violists cherish a sound that is distinct as possible from the violin and cello, especially violin. I think other generations wanted more of a match. If any of that makes any sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have put the instrument to the test.   While I was at Congress of Strings in 1979, a group of my friends gathered about 8-9 quality violas and had an extraordinary violist (now a member of the NYP) play them on stage in a large concert hall (University of Washington).  We all went up to the balcony and listened.  I will admit up front that none of the instruments were old Italians and most were modern, but many from highly reputable makers.   The result even surprised me.  My instrument was hands down, by leaps and bounds, better than all the others, by unanimous consent. It was rich, balanced, and filled the large hall with sound.  In that same hall we played the Vaughn WIlliams' Variations on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and I played the viola solos.  After the concert I got asked by dozens of people about my instrument.  Conductors have frequently commented on it's sound.  Robertson's and Sons who did a set up for me raved about the instrument,  A luthier that I had do some work on the instrument for me was also very impressed, saying that the has worked on many of the great old violas including Primroses strad (now owned by Carlos Diaz) and that mine was superior in sound and projection, and after hearing Diaz play the Bartok, I would have to agree that my instrument would have probably projected better.  I'm not saying that my instrument is easier to play than these great old instruments, but that it has a wonderful and big sound, but I do like the slender neck he put on it - not that fat heavy neck you find on most violas. 

 

The instrument is a Theo Glasel, (deceased) Markneukircken Germany, 1965, 16 5/8 inches.  It was part of a batch of instruments made for William Moennig and Sons to sell in their Philadelphia shop, which is where i got it in the mid 70s for $1500.  The most I have seen a Theo Glasel go for is $8K, most closer to $4K.  The only flaw on the instrument is a very brittle spirit varnish that chips off way too easily.  In fact it is the viola shown in my profile photo.

 

I won the lottery when this instrument showed up at my door.  I have long thought that since it will never have great monetary value, but is such a fine instrument, I would like to find a wonderful professional violist to give it to, who would put it to good use, with the condition that the instrument would perpetually be passed on to a worthy violist as a gift when they retire or find another instrument they prefer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think our generation of violists cherish a sound that is distinct as possible from the violin and cello, especially violin. I think other generations wanted more of a match. If any of that makes any sense.

Most violas I pick up give me the sensation of having cotton in my ears.   It's hard to find one that sounds open, but still has that rich masculine voice distinct from a violin, leaning more towards a cello, but with a richness cello does not have in the violas mid-register and a C- String that speaks (which is the hardest quality to find). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most violas I pick up give me the sensation of having cotton in my ears.   It's hard to find one that sounds open, but still has that rich masculine voice distinct from a violin, leaning more towards a cello, but with a richness cello does not have in the violas mid-register and a C- String that speaks (which is the hardest quality to find). 

 

Yes.  Exactly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have long thought that since it will never have great monetary value, but is such a fine instrument, I would like to find a wonderful professional violist to give it to, who would put it to good use, with the condition that the instrument would perpetually be passed on to a worthy violist as a gift when they retire or find another instrument they prefer.

 

What about donating it to UNT or Rice (or any other music school you might have allegiance to)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about donating it to UNT or Rice (or any other music school you might have allegiance to)?

I'd rather chose who gets it, not just a school instrument.  Of course, a Carlos Diaz and most others won't want it because it is not an old Italian, doesn't have that old Italian silky feel.  On the other hand the Guarneri Cannon is not so easy to play, requires more work than say the Soil Strad, but it also has greater reward.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.