Violin Mastery eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 196 pages of information about Violin Mastery.

“You ask about my compositions?  Well, Eddy Brown is going to play my Second violin concerto, Op. 36 in B flat, which I wrote for the London Philharmonic Society, next season; Elman the Nardini concerto in A, which was published only shortly before the outbreak of the war.  Thirty years ago I found, by chance, three old Nardini concertos for violin and bass in the composer’s original ms., in Bologna.  The best was the one in A—­a beautiful work!  But the bass was not even figured, and the task of reconstructing the accompaniment for piano, as well as for orchestra, and reverently doing justice to the composer’s original intent and idea; while at the same time making its beauties clearly and expressively available from the standpoint of the violinist of to-day, was not easy.  Still, I think I may say I succeeded.”  And Mr. Nachez showed me some letters from famous contemporaries who had made the acquaintance of this Nardini concerto in A major.  Auer, Thibaud, Sir Hubert Parry (who said that he had “infused the work with new life"), Pollak, Switzerland’s ranking fiddler, Carl Flesch, author of the well-known Urstudien—­all expressed their admiration.  One we cannot forbear quoting a letter in part.  It was from Ottokar Sevcik.  The great Bohemian pedagogue is usually regarded as the apostle of mechanism in violin playing:  as the inventor of an inexorably logical system of development, which stresses the technical at the expense of the musical.  The following lines show him in quite a different light: 

“I would not be surprised if Nardini, Vivaldi and their companions were to appear to you at the midnight hour in order to thank the master for having given new life to their works, long buried beneath the mold of figured basses; works whose vital, pulsating possibilities these old gentlemen probably never suspected.  Nardini emerges from your alchemistic musical laboratory with so fresh and lively a quality of charm that starving fiddlers will greet him with the same pleasure with which the bee greets the first honeyed blossom of spring.”


“And now you want my definition of ‘Violin Mastery’?  To me the whole art of playing violin is contained in the reverent and respectful interpretation of the works of the great masters.  I consider the artist only their messenger, singing the message they give us.  And the more one realizes this, the greater becomes one’s veneration especially for Bach’s creative work.  For twenty years I never failed to play the Bach solo sonatas for violin every day of my life—­a violinist’s ’daily prayer’ in its truest sense!  Students of Bach are apt, in the beginning, to play, say, the finale of the G minor sonata, the final Allegro of the A minor sonata, the Gigue of the B minor, or the Preludio of the E major sonata like a mechanical exercise:  it takes constant study to disclose their intimate harmonic melodious

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Violin Mastery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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