Cellist Bruno Philippe talks gut strings, competitions, and the pros and cons of old and new instruments

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There’s a French focus to The Strad’s February 2019 issue, in which cover star Bruno Philippe discusses his progress from promising young musician to fully fledged artist. As he releases his first album as an official Harmonia Mundi cellist, he chats with us about the merits of gut strings, old instruments versus new ones, inspirational teachers, his public image – and leaving behind the competition circuit to focus on real life.

We learn about Jacques-Pierre Thibout, the most successful violin maker of his family, and examine the evolution of his style through ten instruments; and unearth the extraordinary story of Eugène Sartory’s long-running legal battle with a US dealer for selling imitations of his work.

Leila Josefowicz tells us about the myriad attractions of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s 1950 Violin Concerto – music that defies categorisation. Philippe Graffin recounts how he chanced upon the original version of Ysaÿe’s Sixth Solo Violin Sonata; and Viktoria Elisabeth Kaunzner uses her eight years of experience teaching South Korean violinists to identify the trends that make them so successful in competitions.

In our regular sections:

In Focus features an 1893 violin by Gustave Bernardel; Nicolas Gilles details his intricate method for making oil varnish in Trade Secrets; My Space looks at the workshop of Noémie Viaud, a French luthier now living and working in Denmark; and in Making Matters we examine the unusual techniques of French violin maker Benoit Joseph Boussu.

In our monthly Masterclass Daniel Hope discusses the second movement of the Franck Violin Sonata; double bassist Alex Henery gives tips on controlling left-hand finger pressure in Technique; François Rabbath tells us his Life Lessons; and Gautier Capuçon reveals why on Schumann’s Fantasiestücke are his Sentimental Works.

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

Plus, in this month’s bumper digital edition:

  • Auctions: view front and back images of some of the top instruments sold at last year’s London sales
  • Bruno Philippe: enjoy clips from the French cellist’s latest CD of Rachmaninoff and Myaskovsky while reading what he has to say about them
  • Eugène Sartory: documents from the notorious court case, including the certificates Sartory produced to prove his claims
  • Philippe Graffin: clips from the version of Ysaÿe’s Sixth Violin Sonata that were recently uncovered and recorded by the French violinist
  • In Focus: more of this month’s featured instrument, an 1893 violin by Gustave Bernardel
  • From the Archive: female violinists demonstrate the latest fashions, to accompany an article from 1919
  • More from the Polish concert at Carnegie Hall, where three string quartets joined forces to celebrate the country’s Independence Day
  • And of course, hear snippets of the three recordings which earned this month’s ‘The Strad Recommends’ labels 

The digital magazine and print edition are on sale now