All Features articles

  • Boxout pic - Willemotte V Titian Spectra 9th
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    1734 Stradivari violin ‘Willemotte’: Late… but worth the wait


    Made when Antonio Stradivari was 90 years old, the 1734 ‘Willemotte’ bears all his hallmarks including a deep, complex tone quality. Sam Zygmuntowicz examines the violin and compares its design features with other gems of the great master 

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    Vieuxtemps cadenzas: Following the clues


    The recent discovery of another cadenza to the first movement of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, likely by Vieuxtemps, sheds an interesting light on the early performance history of the work, writes Martin Wulfhorst 

  • 5. Magnus Johnston (front) with Navarra Quartet
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    Teaching chamber music: light-bulb moments


    Giving formal chamber music training to students during their school years is vital for fostering a lifelong commitment to the art, writes Graham Oppenheimer , senior chamber music tutor at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester

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    Session Report: No holds barred


    For Amandine Beyer and her Gli Incogniti period ensemble, the string symphonies of C.P.E. Bach represented an opportunity to record difficult but exhilarating repertoire. Charlotte Gardner recalls attending the 2019 sessions, as the album nears its release following Covid-19 delays 

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    The viola d’amore: For a sympathetic ear


    The viola d’amore is undergoing a resurgence in popularity among early music groups, with a wealth of repertoire still to be rediscovered. Rachael Durkin tracks the development of this unique instrument, examining its many precursors along the way

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    Evolving interpretations: The long and winding road


    The development of the great violinists from fresh young artists to profound musical thinkers can be charted through their recorded interpretations. Nathaniel Vallois uses his time in lockdown to examine changes in the playing style of some of the best-known names

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    Dover Quartet: United in sound


    After twelve years together, the Dover Quartet is marking its graduation to the ranks of mature ensembles with a new Beethoven recording cycle and a residency at the Curtis Institute. The players speak to Charlotte Smith from the Bravo! Vail Music Festival

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    The Spice of Life: Teaching different styles


    Too often string teachers shy away from embracing styles outside the Western classical canon, but in doing so they’re ignoring a wealth of useful skills and techniques, not to mention repertoire, writes Julie Lyonn Lieberman

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    Carlo Bisiach: Dispatches from the front line


    Gennady Filimonov examines the letters between Carlo Bisiach (1892–1968) and his American representative Leo D. Larsson, which provide a fascinating perspective on the violin trade in the 1930s and 40s, as well as an insight into the Italian luthier’s working methods

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    Leonard Rose: All about the bow


    American cellist Leonard Rose was a consummate performer and pedagogue, whose velvety tone was the result of complete mastery of the bow arm. Oskar Falta explores some of his bowing theories and speaks to former students about his teaching techniques

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    Hollywood Bow Makers: Unsung heroes of the silver screen


    Lasting from the late 1920s to 1960, Hollywood’s golden age was a boom time for musicians, and those who catered for them. Raphael Gold tells the stories of some of the era’s best-regarded LA bow makers, and reveals why their work should be better known today

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    Session Report: American dreams


    On his latest album, German violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann devotes himself to the works of Bohuslav Martinů and Béla Bartók, two immigrants to the US in the wake of the Second World War, as Tom Stewart reports

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    Midori: Active Listener


    From getting to the core of new works to appreciating her students’ motivations, Midori is on a constant search for understanding. Toby Deller finds out how the Japanese-American violinist communicates this passion to those around her

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    Ensemble Diderot: Hidden Gems


    This month Ensemble Diderot releases The Berlin Album, the latest in its ‘cities’ recording series, juxtaposing works by established 17th- and 18th-century composers alongside those of lesser-known contemporaries. Ensemble founder and violinist Johannes Pramsohler speaks to Pwyll ap Siôn about why these works deserve greater attention

  • Paolo Sorgentone
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    Empty Chairs at Empty Tables: Lutherie and Covid-19


    Violin makers worldwide were hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreak as the customers dried up – nowhere more so than in Italy. Peter Somerford speaks to makers in Cremona, Florence and Modena to find out how the industry is gradually getting back on its feet

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    Session Report: Early Inspirations


    Violinist Tessa Lark’s new collaborative album, The Stradgrass Sessions, brings together the musical influences of her childhood, fusing bluegrass, folk, jazz and classical styles. The project might easily have been delayed by Covid-19, but her musical partners were only too happy to record remotely

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    Not Quite Cinderella: The Viola in Late-Georgian Britain


    Britain during the late Georgian era was fertile ground for the viola as a serious chamber and solo instrument – and witnessed a flourishing in standards of playing and making, writes Kevin MacDonald

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    The Lost Art of Cremonese Violin Archings


    The old Cremonese luthiers’ method of designing violin archings has been lost in the mists of time. Andrew Dipper uses evidence from 18th-century manuals to propose how they might have done it, through a system encompassing string lengths, internal forms… and a lot of mathematics

  • Benedetti Sesisons_Glasgow_mass perfromance_credit Alister Firth
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    All for one: Nicola Benedetti


    When violinist Nicola Benedetti launched her Benedetti Sessions at the beginning of this year she had no idea that the mass-participation workshops for string players and teachers would be stalled by Covid-19. Undeterred, she moved the programme online, which, as she tells Peter Somerford, was no bad thing

  • Ida Haendel  Jelle Pieter de Boer 6
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    Ida Haendel: Grande dame of the violin


    Following Ida Haendel’s death at the age of 96 in July, Tully Potter surveys the career of an exceptional performer and a remarkable woman