Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oh to touch a Stradivarius...

photo credit: Wikipedia

note: if there wasn't a copyright on so many photos, would of loved the 1 of them on the Brooklyn Bridge...more on their official webpage if you're really curious & then too there are the YouTubes (see below for a few links)

Link to their Offical webpage...

Tokyo String Quartet:

Martin Beaver, violin

Kikuei Ikeda, violin

Kazuhide Isomura, viola

Clive Greensmith, cello


Thanks to the Nippon Music Foundation, the Tokyo String Quartet performs on "The Paganini Quartet," a group of renowned Stradivarius instruments named for legendary virtuoso Niccolò Paganini, who acquired and played them during the 19th century.

On loan since 1995, the Tokyo String Quartet has had the great pleasure of recording with these special instruments. Their Mozart disc on the Biddulph label and their new Beethoven disc on Harmonia Mundi marks the first time in 30 years that all 4 instruments have been featured together on recordings.


the Program:

Haydn - Quartet in G Major Op 77 No 1 "Lobkowitz" (1732 - 1809)
Allegro moderato
Menuet: Presto *
Finale: Presto

(*note: yes, as in the dance & it does sound like they should have period costumed folks behind them on the stage twirling around as they play - or - sitting in a Victorian parlor, ladies w/fans in their hands as they all listen raptly to the strings...)

Szymanowski - Quartet No 1 in C Major Op 37 (1882 - 1937)
Lento assai, Allergro moderato
Andantino semplice
Scherzando alla burlesca: Vivace

(note: I have never heard anything like this before, it was so very modern & almost discordant for the composer to have lived in those times, maybe in Poland as he was Polish...per Wikipedia--am thinking he was ahead of his times in any case...also he was a pianist & a composer so am wondering too how that translated to the strings instead...whatever/however I enjoyed it, all the odd but lovely sounds & bow work, made it very interesting to watch & listen to...I want to hear more & am curious if my piano playing friend for the Ballet in Houston has ever heard of him/played any of his pieces, hmmm...)

Link to a YouTube where the Royal String Quartet is playing...

(note: of course they are 'not' playing on Stradivarius instruments either?! the first string is so high pitched & loud, it's no where as beautiful as the Tokyo String Quartet & first string on his Stradivarius violin - am hoping I may one day find the piece being played again on one of their CD's, at the concert here only Beethoven on their CD's for sale & their latest CD was sold out by the time I made it to the table in the lobby...)


Schumann - Quartet in A minor Op 41 No 1 (1810-1856)
Introduzione: Andante espressivo; Allegro
Scherzo: Presto

(note: a German composer & the MC for the night loves him as I think he said he was German - it's very romantic, as he mentioned very happy he was determined to bring this world class string quartet to Lafayette to the AcA for their first time in Louisiana & I was living here again to hear it?!)

Dubussy - but I can't repeat the details of what they played, as I'm not a classical musician
 (1862 - 1918)

note: perhaps they were playing, as their YouTube video I found, Dubussy's Tres Modere - link following...

You Tube Link to another Tokyo String Quartet recording, different composer than what appears to be their favorite - Beethoven, as most of their CD's are of this composer's works...
playing Debussy String Quartet; 4. Très modéré - in G minor Op.

Link to Wikipedia for Dubussy - where at the bottom there are Media boxes to have a listen to his fantasy, dreamy, clouds type pieces...but again find he's a pianist & here they were playing strings as a quartet, curious...

(note: had an Arts Class once in college & they played his, Clouds piece I think it was called & fittingly so...I see it on YouTube videos as Noctures - Clouds... link: )

Link to local newspaper, The Advertiser, article...

Link to Iberia Bank - they're presenting this event...

"Lafayette audiences will have the unique opportunity to see, hear and be in the presence of a priceless set of instruments at this performance...The opportunity to get up close and personal to instruments of this quality and historic significance is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

"This performance will have you experience the excitement of works by groundbreaking composer Belá Bartók, alongside the classical splendor of Joseph Haydn, known as “the father” of the string quartet."


You Tube Link to a current concert played at festival in Montreal, Canada...
playing Beethoven String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, op. 135

note: they don't rest their chins directly on the Stradivarius, but on a linen/handkerchief first
(me, I'd be afraid to touch the instrument at all?!)

Link to when they played on Sesame Street, with Oscar in his trashcan...
(note: I love they were on Children's TV on Sesame Street)

Link to video on Sesame Street webpage where Big Bird & Snuffy dance the minuet to the Tokyo String Quartet playing...

(note: Oh how I loved Sesame Street, you can tell when my boys were kids...Come & Play--Everything's A-OK...Can you tell me How to Get, How to Get to Sesame Street?!)


Link to Wikipedia...

Antonio Stradivari, by Edgar Bundy, 1893: a romanticized image of a craftsman-hero
(photo credit: Wiki)

Links to read more about the instruments - Stradivarius...

note: love this..."On 21 June 2011, a 1721 Stradivari violin known as "Lady Blunt" was bought by an anonymous bidder for £9,808,000 ($15,932,115) with all proceeds going to help the victims of the Japan earthquake."

The Antonio Stradivari violin of 1703 on exhibit, behind glass, at the Musikinstrumentenmuseum, Berlin (photo credit: Wiki)

note: I think the closest viewing of a Stradivarius in a museum in the US would be either the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the US Library of Congress...

I've always wanted to see Itzhak Perlman play, any violin, let alone a Stradivarius...
"The Soil of 1714 is owned by virtuoso Itzhak Perlman."

black & white photo (some of my fav's are in b/w)
from Itzhak Perlman's webpage - the one on Wiki is in color,
I like this one better (am hoping it's OK to borrow it just his once?!)
And is this a Stradivarius? Is this his 1714 the Soil?!

Itzhak Perlman's webpage link...

Adored this film, for the red violin alone - only now am reading this about the movie...
[The film The Red Violin was inspired by one of Stradivari's violins, the Red Mendelssohn (1721),which is currently played by Elizabeth Pitcairn, heiress to the PPG Industries fortune, whose grandfather purchased it for her 16th birthday for $1.7 million at auction at Christie's London. She is one of the few soloists who performs the Red Violin Chaconne composed for the film by John Corigliano. The notion that the fictional violin is red because it is painted with the blood of the maker's wife, who died during childbirth, is a creation of the filmmaker and is yet unsubstantiated. The real violin is called "The Red Mendelssohn" because of a unique red stripe on its top right side, but how the stripe came about is unknown.]

movie poster borrowed from Wiki
thank you - photo credit

Link to the Wiki about The Red Violin...
(note: I swear there's a Wiki for everything on the planet & then some?!)

Link to the woman who was a girl who would own 'the' Red Violin...
note: read more about her Stradivarius there...
here (below) this glorious photo of her dressed in red playing the Red Violin -
would love Love LOVE to see her play this violin in concert now
[why oh why did I start looking all this up about the Stradivarius violins... :o( ]

Elizabeth Pitcairn
In Concert The Riverside Symph
photo credit: her webpage, thank you!!!
(I think I'm in love--w/the violin right, what else?!)

from her Calendar I see on: Sept 24, 2011
she'll be in Ft. Collins, CO playing at the Lincoln Center there
closest to either me or a relative - will have to send my niece to go
w/her camera phone?! (mwah hah hah...)


And this is why I love the sound of a really well played violin...
I use to play as a kid - see following photos for proof...

the Elementary School student violin/case...

not a Stradivarius...sigh...

not the/The Red Violin...sigh...

Oh my--this case is from the 5th or 6th grade of Elementary School...
enough said, but am thinking maybe I tried to patch it up years later with this colored electric tape...
(isn't there a song in that--it's the artist in me?!)

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