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67 MIN READ TIME

BACH RENEWED

Violist Antoine Tamesit performs Bach with harpsichordist Masato Suzuki at the 2018 Wimbledon Internaional Music Fesival, UK
JOHN YIP

The first words Ithear from Antoine Tamestit upon arriving for our meeting at Teldex Studio Berlin come through the loudspeakers:the is worried that the harpsichord might be too loud for his viola in a certain passage of Bach’s D major Sonata BWV1028. After producer Martin Sauer reassures him that this is not the case, and Tamestit has ingered his way through a particularly knotty passage on his own, a last take is called, after which the musicians inally emerge from the studio, tired but happy following their day’s work. While the technicians are putting away their paraphernalia, Tamestit and I sit down to talk about his latest projects, both of which feature the music of Bach.

Although I play the Cello Suites and the D minor Violin Partita, I ind Bach’s hree Viola da Gamba Sonatas BWV1027–9 to be closest to the viola: they cover almost the same register, and even employ the same alto clef,’ says Tamestit, who has been in love with the sound of the viola da gamba since watching Alain Corneau’s ilm Tous les matins du monde (1991) as a child.the soundtrack was recorded by Jordi Savall, who, in Tamestit’s words, ‘brings forth sounds that are very special for me and really get under my skin, particularly in the music of Marin Marais that is so prominently featured in the movie.these remain some of the most touching musical sounds that I know.’these are the sounds that Tamestit is now looking for when performing Bach on the 1672 ‘Mahler’ Stradivari, strung with covered-gut C and G strings and naked-gut D and A strings, and played with a Baroque bow (based on a Nicolas Pierre Tourte model) made for him in 2011 by Parisian archetier Arthur Dubroca. his set-up, which Tamestit feelsthelps him to emulate the gamba’s sound world, is not without problems, the uncovered D string being particularly tricky. ‘Even with a good brand, not all strings are equal, and you have to get used to the fact that pressure changes their sound. In a way it’s beautiful, because pressure becomes a means of expression; you get interesting kinds of vibrations – but it also alters the pitch, and that can be a problem!’

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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