The Shanghai Quartet talks to us about celebrating their 35th anniversary, China, Beethoven, and their instruments

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May 2019 issue

The Shanghai Quartet is the cover star of The Strad’s May 2019 issue, out now. The pioneering ensemble celebrates its 35th anniversary during the 2018/19 season by performing eight complete Beethoven cycles around the world. The players talk to us about forming at a time when Western chamber music was barely understood in China, and about promoting the art form to Chinese audiences and students today

Julia FischerVadim Gluzman and Gidon Kremer join us for a discussion about Shostakovich’s violin works; in our Session Report we join Trio con Brio Copenhagen in the studio as they work on their 20th-anniversary project, a recording all of Beethoven’s piano trios; plus we learn about useful parallels between the principles of Yoga and string playing technique.

We also report from Stradfest, our first event for young string players.

In the first of two articles, Philip Ihle and Andrea Zanrè present the results of a survey matching up Antonio Stradivari’s violins with the twelve surviving moulds from his workshop; plus, by analysing instrument fragments, a team led by Marco Malagodi reveals the secrets of varnishes by Stainer, Maggini, Gasparo da Salò and others

In our regular sections:

Our monthly Masterclass is from Philippe Graffin on Ravel’s Violin Sonata no.2 in G major; violinist Ilya Kaler gives his thoughts on playing continuous vibrato in Technique; violist Maxim Rysanov tells us his Life Lessons; plus Rivka Golani’s love of Michael Colgrass’s viola concerto Chaconne in Sentimental Work.

In Focus features a violin made in 1937 by the Genoa-based luthier Paolo De BarbierWilliam Castle’s detailed and intricate method for cutting f-holes in Trade Secrets; My Space features the workshop of Dutch luthiers Jaap Bolink and Annelies Steinhauer; and in Making Matters we hear the story of an opulent case that once housed the ‘Lady Blunt’ Stradivari.

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

In the May 2019 issue

  • stradfest 3

    Postcard from London: a new generation

    Stradfest, The Strad’s first live event for budding musicians, tackled a range of issues connected to building an interesting career – and brought together a wide variety of young and enthusiastic string players, writes Charlotte Smith

  • Timothy+Ridout+1a+credit+Kaupo+Kikkas

    Opinion: going international

    Despite the large number of young and talented British string players, few seem to make an impact as leading soloists on the world stage. Charlotte Gardner explores the reasons for this phenomenon

  • golani 2

    Sentimental work: Rivka Golani on Michael Colgrass’ Chaconne

    As well as giving the first performance of Michael Colgrass’s Chaconne, the Israeli violist provided the initial spark of inspiration – with the help of her own paintings

  • exercise 1

  • graffin

    Masterclass: Ravel’s second violin sonata

    Philippe Graffin explores how to create an orchestra of abstract colours and characters in the first movement of the French composer’s last chamber work

  • f holes 2

    Trade secrets: cutting f-holes

    A methodical way of completing this elegant but delicate part of the making process by WILLIAM CASTLE, luthier based in Whitchurch, Shropshire, UK

  • debarbieri1

    In focus: a 1937 violin by Paolo De Barbieri

    Paolo De Barbieri was born in 1889 in Genoa. In 1902, aged 13, he left a note on the kitchen table which read ‘Back in a minute’: he left home for about six years to work as a cabin boy. He completed his military service in the navy and in ...

  • yoga tadasana

    Yoga and string playing: …And breathe…

    There is a close connection between yogic principles and string playing technique, says cellist Ruth Phillips, who illustrates this with postures chosen in collaboration with her colleague Jane Fenton, and reveals how both Pablo Casals and yoga guru Vanda Scaravelli have informed her musical ideas

  • arvedi

    Varnish analysis: shining examples

    Identifying the varnish recipes of the early makers has been a long-held dream among researchers. Now, a team at the Arvedi Laboratory of Non-Invasive Diagnostics, headed by Marco Malagodi, has used a new form of micro-CT scanning to delve further into an instrument’s coatings than ever before

  • trio con brio

    Session report: zooming in on Beethoven

    Trio con Brio Copenhagen is marking its 20th anniversary by recording the complete Beethoven piano trios. Andrew Mellor attends a session for the group’s third volume, including the monumental ‘Archduke’

  • Gluzman

    Standing Strong: Shostakovich’s violin works

    Fifty years ago David Oistrakh premiered Shostakovich’s Violin Sonata, written for the violinist’s 60th birthday. Only two further works by Shostakovich for solo violinist survive: the concertos, both for Oistrakh. Andrew Morris examines all three pieces, uncovering their interpretative challenges in conversation with Gidon Kremer, Julia Fischer and Vadim Gluzman

  • Stradivari moulds Table 3

    Stradivari’s moulds: Variations on a theme

    Twelve violin moulds from Antonio Stradivari’s workshop still survive, but how do they correspond to the master’s oeuvre? In the first of two articles,Philip Ihle and Andrea Zanrè present the results of an exhaustive survey to match forms to finished instruments

  • Shanghai Quartet 2 CROP

    Shanghai Quartet: Musical Emissaries

    The Shanghai Quartet celebrates its 35th anniversary during the 2018–19 season by performing eight complete Beethoven cycles around the world. The players speak to Charlotte Smith about forming at a time when Western chamber music was barely understood in their native China, and about promoting the art form to Chinese ...

  • Ukrainian violist Maxim Rysanov

    Life lessons: Maxim Rysanov

    The Ukrainian violist on long pedagogical relationships and the surprises of concert life