“And while we are discussing the physical aspects of the instrument there is the ‘chin rest.’ None of the great violin makers ever made a ‘chin rest.’ Increasing technical demands, sudden pyrotechnical flights into the higher octaves brought the ‘chin rest’ into being. The ’chin rest’ was meant to give the player a better grasp of his instrument. I absolutely disapprove, in theory, of chin rest, cushion or pad. Technical reasons may be adduced to justify their use, never artistic ones. I admit that progress in violin study is infinitely slower without the use of the pad; but the more close and direct a contact with his instrument the player can develop, the more intimately expressive his playing becomes. Students with long necks and thin bodies claim they have to use a ‘chin rest,’ but the study of physical adjustments could bring about a better cooerdination between them and the instrument. A thin pad may be used without much danger, yet I feel that the thicker and higher the ‘chin rest’ the greater the loss in expressive rendering. The more we accustom ourselves to mechanical aids, the more we will come to rely on them.... But the question you ask anent ‘Violin Mastery’ leads altogether away from the material!
“To me it signifies technical efficiency coupled with poetic insight, freedom from conventionally accepted standards, the attainment of a more varied personal expression along individual lines. It may be realized, of course, only to a degree, since the possessor of absolute ’Violin Mastery’ would be forever glorified. As it is the violin master, as I conceive him, represents the embodier of the greatest intimacy between himself, the artist, and his medium of expression. Considered in this light Pablo Casals and his ’cello, perhaps, most closely comply with the requirements of the definition. And this is not as paradoxical as it may seem, since all string instruments are brethren, descended from the ancient viol, and the ’cello is, after all, a variant of the violin!”
JOACHIM AND LEONARD AS TEACHERS
Tivadar Nachez, the celebrated violin virtuoso, is better known as a concertizing artist in Europe, where he has played with all the leading symphonic orchestras, than in this country, to which he paid his first visit during these times of war, and which he was about to leave for his London home when the writer had the pleasure of meeting him. Yet, though he has not appeared in public in this country (if we except some Red Cross concerts in California, at which he gave his auditors of his best to further our noblest war charity), his name is familiar to every violinist. For is not Mr. Nachez the composer of the “Gypsy Dances” for violin and piano, which have made him famous?