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A MUSICAL OUTCAST?

Wthenthector Berlioz died 150 years ago,the left an apparently meagre legacy for string players. For violin, there is the short Rêverie et caprice of 1841, based on music withdrawn from his opera Benvenuto Cellini. And while Harold en Italie is undeniably a landmark in the viola repertoire, many viola players have felt ambivalent towards it at some point, seeing it as a lost opportunity.

The story of the work’s conception is widely known: Paganini asked Berlioz to write him a viola piece, butthe rejected it at the planning stage because of its plain solo part, only to change his mind to the tune of 20,000 francs whenthe inallytheard it. According to his memoirs, Berlioz feltthe had insuicient understanding of the viola to write a virtuoso part for it. So, instead,the devised a symphonic tone poem with obbligato viola. ‘I was conident,’the writes, ‘that by the incomparable power of his playing, Paganini would be able to maintain the supremacy of the soloist.’

Berlioz admits that once Paganini’s interest cooledthe gave up trying to write an especially soloistic part.the did, however, stick to the planthe had concocted of ‘a series of orchestral scenes in which the viola would be involved […] like an actual person, retaining the same character throughout’. hat character would be ‘a melancholy dreamer in the style of Byron’s Childe Harold’. his does at least compensate for the piece’s lack of technical diiculty, as Antoine Tamestit has recently pointed out (bit.ly/2Yb2gHc). Formerly indiferent to Harold en Italie, Tamestit found new depths in the piece whenthe began tackling it ‘in the way I would an opera in which I need to learn to breathe life into a role’.

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About The Strad

Antoine Tamestit discusses his new recordings and we examine his viola, the 1672 ‘Gustav Mahler’ Stradivari. There’s a look at string teaching in Uganda and we have interviews with Sol Gabetta, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Gary Hoffman, Natalie Clein – and many more!

Other Articles in this Issue


The Strad
Is the viola limited by its repertoire? Certainly in
Letters, emails, online comments
FRONT
News and events from around the world this month
A tribute to an intoxicaing place
Another tech-based soluion to musicians’ everyday problems
The British cellist recallsther time studying withtheinrich Schiff in Vienna, and the authors and recordings that still inspirether today
Toby Deller argues that the itle character of Harold en Italie is a social outsider whose isolaion is a metaphor for the viola’s struggle for acceptance throughout musical history
A castle seing, an enicing top prize and some highly promising string players were what Tom Stewart encountered at the Windsor Fesival Internaional String Compeiion inal in March
FEATURES
French violist Antoine Tamestit releases not one but two albums of Bach arrangements in 2019: the viola da gamba sonatas and the Goldberg Variations for string trio.the reveals his innovatory and thoughtful approach to these challenging works in conversation with Carlos María Solare
Was the 1672 ‘Mahler’ the irst viola ever made by Antonio Stradivari? As Jonathan Marolle explains, this is just one of the unanswerable questions that arise when studying this fascinating instrument
In early May, violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja and cellist Sol Gabetta premiered Akin, a new double concerto written for them by Michel van der Aa. Pwyll ap Siôn attended this performance, in Cologne, Germany, and spoke to composer and soloists about bringing the work to the stage
The Edinburgh Quartet recently selected its 2019 apprentice, following a round of public auditions featuring performances from nine young musicians. As the training programme enters its third session, Toby Deller discovers a unique opportunity for rehearsal and performance
Although the many varied methods of stringed instrument making have been analysed countless times, the actual production process has hardly been questioned in its 450-year history. Luan Amorim and Amanda Schwegler use techniques taken from engineering to survey the time and cost factors – and come up with some unusual recommendations
During two months in Uganda, Pauline Harding learns about the indigenous one-stringed endingidi, and discovers how dificult it can be to learn an instrument in a country whose education system lends little support for arts training
REGULARS
A close look at the work of great and unusual makers
A reliable method for rejoining blocks split for a restoraion, paricularly useful for cello repairs
A peek into lutherie workshops around the world
Luthier Mathijstheyligers has recently completed a project to give the same Baroque set-up to a chamber orchestra’s entire string section. What happened – and how did it change the sound?
Spanish dance andtheifetz are two of Rodney Friend’s biggest inluences in this popular showpiece
How to tackle muli-stopped passages with more conidence, musicality and alacrity
Your monthly critical round-up of performances, recordings and publications
Cellist Gregor Piatigorsky gives a irst-hand account of his light from Russia into Poland
For the American cellist, Brahms’s op.99 Sonata in F major is the alpha and omega of cello playing, allowing for every possible feeling and a vast array of interpretaions