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66 MIN READ TIME

A HUMAN HEART

Jacqueline du Pré records the Elgar Cello Concerto with John Barbirolli conducting the London Symphony Orchestra at Kingsway Hall, London, in 1965
COURTESYWARNER CLASSICS

The years 1917–19, which saw the end of the Great War, were the last period of intense creativity by Edward Elgar, and it was during this time that he composed his very last major work, the Cello Concerto in E minor (1918–19). This piece, written in an unfamiliar introverted style that was very different from the Elgar that the public had grown to expect and love, received its premiere at the Queen’s Hall, London, 100 years ago this month. But although it was subsequently played by many of the finest cellists of the time, including Pablo Casals and Beatrice Harrison, it took many years for it to be widely recognised and loved for the masterpiece that it is – for it to become the most popular concerto for the cello, and the most frequently played.

The early years of the war had seen an increasing burden of pressure, ill health and worry settle on Elgar, which produced in him ever increasing restlessness and a need for escape. This was answered in May 1917, when he and his wife Alice rented Brinkwells, a cottage near Fittleworth in West Sussex. The property was rented from the landscape painter Rex Vicat Cole, who had built a large studio in the garden. Elgar found this studio to be the perfect place to compose, surrounded as he was by many of Cole’s powerful and individualistic paintings. Brinkwells became a haven for the Elgars, and it was here that the composer was inspired in his last great creative surge of composition, after which he completed nothing more of real substance before dying in 1934.

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About The Strad

We mark 100 years of Elgar’s Cello Concerto and examine Sgarabotto’s violins. Plus interviews Boris Kuschnir, Daniel Müller-Schott and Richard Tognetti, and our annual Cremona supplement.

Other Articles in this Issue


The Strad
To mark a centenary is to celebrate the very great
(Technique, page 84) is a jazz violinist and tutor
Letters, emails, online comments
Mayor Gianluca Galimberti explains why the beating heart of the city is represented by its horde of talented luthiers
NEW ENHANCED SUBSCRIPTION PACKAGE AVAILABLE NOW
The Museo del Violino is hosting a special exhibition of some of the National Music Museum’s finest Cremonese instruments while the US institution is closed for renovations
Fausto Cacciatori reports on a Museo del Violino project to analyse and restore a unique collection of instruments from the Ospedale della Pietà, the Venetian orphanage where Vivaldi taught
Fausto Cacciatori previews an exhibition in Croatia that explores the doctor and luthier Franjo Kresnik’s deep connection with Cremona and its violin making tradition
Cremona’s Cultural District of Violin Making brings together violin makers and municipal, academic and scientific institutions to promote lutherie education and research, writes Chiara Bondioni
Museo del Violino general director Virginia Villa celebrates the museum’s latest anniversary, and introduces a newly acquired masterpiece by Lorenzo Storioni
Paolo Bodini introduces an exhibition of Cremonese masterpieces in Puebla, the capital of Mexican Baroque
The Friends of Stradivari project celebrates ten years of hosting great instruments in Cremona
Cremona’s STRADIVARI festival features debut performances by leading violinists as part of a two-week musical feast, writes Roberto Codazzi
The Cremona Musica exhibition, held every year in September, has become an unmissable showcase of contemporary lutherie from around the world
FRONT
With the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looking increasingly likely, what are the real ramifications for musicians - and what steps can be taken to minimise the impact?
Dutch cellist Anner Bylsma died on 25 July at the age
The UK’s Yehudi Menuhin School (YMS) is to set up its
Conjuring a puzzle out of thin air
An instrument with a detachable neck to make air travel easier
The Australian violinist on Crowded House, ‘classical’ music and the importance of the Antipodean perspective
A high-profile premiere might help young composers launch their career, but the story shouldn’t end there, says Tom Stewart
At this year’s quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Competition, the judges awarded the $30,000 first prize in both the violin and cello categories. Tim Homfray attended the violin section in Moscow, while Andrew Mellor visited St Petersburg to hear the cellists - and both were impressed by what they saw
Four of the six finalists in the cello discipline of
FEATURES
To mark the centenary of the completion and premiere of Elgar’s Cello Concerto, cellist Raphael Wallfisch reflects upon the period and circumstances surrounding the work’s creation and subsequent life
Jacqueline du Pré’s 1965 recording of Elgar’s Cello Concerto set the benchmark for every cellist who followed her. Tully Potter explores the enduring popularity of her powerful and iconic performance
At this year’s Suntory Hall Chamber Music Garden festival in Tokyo the Kuss Quartet performed a complete Beethoven cycle on the ‘Paganini’ quartet of Stradivaris, on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation. Gavin Dixon spoke to the players about this very special project – and learnt a little more about the Suntory phenomenon
Gaetano Sgarabotto was renowned for making replicas of old Italian instruments – and left numerous records of his research on their makers’ styles. Focusing on his replica scrolls, Andrea Zanrè examines the secrets of Sgarabotto’s success
Burgundy’s Musique & Vin festival has quickly grown from its humble origins to encompass a rich diversity of elements, not least first-rate performances from international artists and an instrument loan scheme for young musicians. Charlotte Gardner spoke to those involved in this unique project
In the first of two articles looking at instrument set-up, Joseph Curtin examines the acoustic roles played by the tailpiece and fingerboard in affecting vibration, frequency and resonance
REGULARS
A close look at the work of great and unusual makers
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A peek into lutherie workshops around the world
The great 19th-century French bow makers had to produce a large amount of stock to make a living. Christophe Landon explores how their working methods differed from ours, as he makes ten simultaneous copies of one Peccatte bow
Daniel Müller-Schott looks at the importance of connection, colour and line in the work’s third movement
Exercises to train your brain and fingers, to help you become a more fluent performer and improviser
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ABRSM Initial Grade:
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For the Austrian violinist, Mozart’s Violin Concerto no.4 in D major K218 brings back fond memories of David Oistrakh - and a less salubrious recollection of the Tibor Varga Competition