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Must Read.........Bell on Huberman Strad


Roger Hill

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Great story!

Sadly, contemporary makers can't compete with that, if the market is highly story-oriented. Perhaps they can say, "I just finished this instrument, try it, maybe you'll like it". if they're brutally honest. Or if they are more creative, they can come up with something about going through the forest, tapping on trees, listening to the tree spirits, or using wood from the ceiling  beams of the Parthenon, or wood salvaged from one of the phone booths in which Clark Kent transformed into Superman. :)

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Huberman sounded awful.  My first teacher was his pupil once removed, and we inherited some of that.

The story is a two-edged sword.  It will always be the Huberman, not the Bell.  Huberman-Bell at best.  A new fiddle on the other hand, you can call it whatever you want.  Plus he can never be its first owner.  First owner -- how dim and mysterious is that in the world of Stradivaris...  Now you're rolling.

I once read a great story on the Julian Altman character.  I tried to find it for you...  I guess he was as devious as they get.

 

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

Great story!

Sadly, contemporary makers can't compete with that, if the market is highly story-oriented. Perhaps they can say, "I just finished this instrument, try it, maybe you'll like it". if they're brutally honest. Or if they are more creative, they can come up with something about going through the forest, tapping on trees, listening to the tree spirits, or using wood from the ceiling  beams of the Parthenon, or wood salvaged from one of the phone booths in which Clark Kent transformed into Superman. :)

That's true , it's a GREAT story. But Josh Bell didn't buy the violin because of the story. He bought it because it suddenly opened for him endless possibilities, the instrument stopped being an obstacle in expressing his deeper emotions, the most subtle nuances of tone and instead became an almost equal participant in the creative act. And not that he did not try a cart load of violins before. :)

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23 minutes ago, Bill Merkel said:

Huberman sounded awful.  My first teacher was his pupil once removed, and we inherited some of that.

The story is a two-edged sword.  It will always be the Huberman, not the Bell.  Huberman-Bell at best.  A new fiddle on the other hand, you can call it whatever you want.  Plus he can never be its first owner.  First owner -- how dim and mysterious is that in the world of Stradivaris...  Now you're rolling.

I once read a great story on the Julian Altman character.  I tried to find it for you...  I guess he was as devious as they get.

 

I've several recordings of Huberman--very fine playing!

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Here is the rest of the story about my posting:  In my first career I was a physicist and worked exclusively on defense problems.  On one of my frequent trips to Washington, D.C. (perhaps '69-'70) my flight arrived early enough to go out to dinner.  The restaurant I chose was in mid-rise hotel building  near downtown and was supposed to be good.  I got there at maybe 9:30pm  and  was the only customer in the place.  They had an old violinist playing any request so I heard more than enough of my requests.  Try coming up with enough requests for a solo violin when you haven't yet learned much about classical music (I was perhaps 26-28 at the time).  Plus, even to my untrained ear the violinist wasn't particularly good and he certainly wasn't very enthusiastic about what he was doing.  When the story of the Huberman came out (perhaps 30 years later) I learned from the story that the violinist was almost certainly Altman, who was definitely not Joshua Bell. A disguised Bell could, of course, open for a rolling stones concert and be enthusiastically received by the most tin-eared groupie in the hall.  I did tip the violinist all I could reasonably afford, but did so mostly out of pity.  He really wasn't much of a showman or musician.

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1 hour ago, carl stross said:

That's true , it's a GREAT story. But Josh Bell didn't buy the violin because of the story. He bought it because it suddenly opened for him endless possibilities, the instrument stopped being an obstacle in expressing his deeper emotions, the most subtle nuances of tone and instead became an almost equal participant in the creative act. And not that he did not try a cart load of violins before. :)

I don't think we can know for sure all of the reasoning behind his purchase, although for sure it worked for him.  What we don't know is if he came across some other violins that worked as well, but didn't have the name or story.

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1 hour ago, Don Noon said:

1. I don't think we can know for sure all of the reasoning behind his purchase, although for sure it worked for him.  

2. What we don't know is if he came across some other violins that worked as well, but didn't have the name or story.

1. Very true. We don't know all the reasoning and he might've forgotten some of it.

2. That's an easy one - send him an email and ask. Nobody seems to want to do that. Not that would be of any relevance, bloke might've been just unlucky and not come across that special one with no name and no story. Menuhin was once asked if he found a modern violin as good as his workhorse and said he found some really excellent ones, quite promising.

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