Isabelle Faust on decoding Mozart’s musical language in her new violin sonatas album

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January 2019 issue

The Strad January 2019 issue is out now in which acclaimed German violinist Isabelle Faust, currently recording a set of Mozart sonatas, tells us about getting to grips with the composer's musical language.

We interview Daniel Müller-Schott about the inspiration behind his latest project, a disc of Russian music that takes him back to his earliest years as a cellist; and Australian double bassist Lloyd Swanton of jazz trio The Necks tells us about free improvisation and making his music accessible to new audiences.

We also take a look at the latest music teaching and learning technology, from apps to accessories; and feature full reports from the Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition in Hanover and the ARD Competition in Munich.

In our regular sections:

In Focus features a violin by Guarneri 'filius Andreae' that also bears the distinctive hand of 'del Gesù'Gabriela Guadalajara details her method for bending a viola da gamba back in Trade Secrets; My Space looks at the workshop of the husband-and-wife lutherie team of Mira Gruszow and Gideon Baumblatt; and in Making Matters we hear from Steven Sirr and John Waddle on mass, density and CT scans in the second of a two-part focus on 'longitudinal arch structure'.

Our monthly Masterclass is from Lynn Harrell on Beethoven's Cello Sonata no.4; Tracy Silverman shows how to adapt guitar technique for jazz and pop violinists in Technique; Anne-Sophie Mutter tells us her Life Lessons; plus bassist Rick Stotijn on his affection for a little-known work by Joseph Marx in Sentimental Work.

We also bring you news of the latest competitions, products and auctions, and comprehensive reviews of concerts, CDs and books.

In the January 2019 issue

  • tracy 1

    Technique: strum bowing

    A guitar technique adapted for violin, to help bowed string players plug into their inner groove. By Tracy Silverman, electric violinist, author of The Strum Bowing Method, string faculty member at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and jazz clinic and workshop tutor worldwide

  • viola 5

    Trade secrets: bending the slope on a viola da gamba back

    Care and accuracy are both essential for this delicate part of the making process. By Gabriela Guadalajara, luthier based in New York, NY, US

  • guarneri 3

  • hanover 1

    Postcard from Hanover: close, but no cigar

    The tenth Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition boasted a celebratory atmosphere and some fine performances, but for Charlotte Gardner, the finals were a little underwhelming

  • circles 7-9

    Universal Harmony: the ‘Four Circles’ system of violin making

    Luthiers over the past three centuries have used a vast number of patterns for their instruments – but the basic geometric principles remain constant across them all. Kevin Kelly explains his ‘Four Circles’ system for instrument design, adaptable to violins, violas and cellos

  • necks 1

    Lloyd Swanton on the art of free improvisation

    As double bassist of long-running Australian trio the Necks, Lloyd Swanton is an expert in group improvisation. He speaks to Andy Hamilton about his inspirations, maintaining creativity, and making contemporary improvised music accessible

  • tech 2

    Smart learning: technology in the classroom

    Advances in technology over the past few years have led to an explosion in apps and online platforms designed to aid instrumental teaching and practice. Peter Somerford looks at some of the most useful – but cautions that such tools should never be used to substitute rhythmic and aural skills

  • russia 2

    Daniel Müller-Schott: souvenir of Russia

    Cellist Daniel Müller-Schott reveals how his album of Russian repertoire draws on the inspiration he felt as a participant in the 1992 International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians

  • bacchetta 1

    Renzo Bacchetta, a legend in the making

    Renzo Bacchetta’s wide-ranging influence on Cremona’s violin making culture and the promotion of Stradivari cannot be overstated, but as Luca Bastiani reveals, there is a darker side to the story, centring around Italy’s National Fascist Party

  • faust 4

    Isabelle Faust: clarity and insight

    German violinist Isabelle Faust is known for the precision and intelligence of her performances. She talks to Amanda Holloway about how her new album of Mozart sonatas has brought her face to face with the enigma of the composer’s musical language

  • IMW_ARD_2018_Finale Viola_Diyang Mei_(c) Daniel Delang_3915

    Postcard from Munich: the 2018 ARD International Music Competition

    The viola and piano trio category winners of the Munich event demonstrated an exceptional level of maturity and insight, writes Chloe Cutts

  • Lynn Harrell main picture

    Masterclass: Beethoven’s Cello Sonata no.4

    Cellist Lynn Harrell considers challenges and contemporary concepts in the first movement of a sonata conceived entirely in the imagination of a deaf composer

  • Anne-Sophie Mutter

    Life Lessons: Anne-Sophie Mutter

    The German violinist talks about the women who shaped her playing and the challenges for classical musicians posed by social media

  • lhp-00462-final

    Beyond Bach: 12 tips for better Baroque playing

    A thorough knowledge of Baroque repertoire apart from the works of Bach is so important if modern players are to gain a proper understanding of Classical and Romantic works, writes Adrian Butterfield

  • Rick Stotijn

    Sentimental work: Rick Stotijn on Joseph Marx's Adagio

    The Adagio by the little-known Austrian composer Joseph Marx provides a unique inspiration for the Dutch double bassist – and an opportunity to perform alongside his sister Christianne