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Some lighter or humorous stuff related to stringed instruments

Beethoven, God and us poor violin players...

ImageIt is said that Beethoven truly believed that he was communicating with God while composing. According to one legend a violinist (not a violist!) once complained to him about a very difficult passage in one of his compositions. Beethoven allegedly replied:

"When I composed that, I was conscious of being inspired by God Almighty," Beethoven replied. "Do you think I can consider your puny little fiddle when He speaks to me?"


Paul Dateh: violinist of the 21st century

ImageOne of the most interesting violinists currently is the jazz/hip hop phenomenon called Paul Dateh. He was planning to enrol in the violin performance programme at the Southern California Thornton School of Music, but switched to the Jazz course on his first day. He hasn't looked back - his youtube videos have drawn millions of views. Enjoy!


Sometimes it is better to just pay...

Image(Click on the picture to enlarge)






Vuillaume's octobass

octobassThe French luthier, Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, built this monster around 1850. It is 3.48 meters high and required two musicians to play - one to bow and one to stop the strings through an elaborate system of lever and pedals. It still exists and can be seen in the Cité de la Musique just outside Paris. I'd love to hear it growl... 

A more modern take on this can be heard on a recording of a work by the composer Roscoe Mitchell.

(Click on the thumbnail to enlarge)


A Famed Violin's Fantastic Journey

ImageThis article first appeared in the Dallas Morning News and was written by Mark Wrolstad. It tells the story of a famous violin and its astonishing journey. Enjoy!

The mystique of the name Stradivarius has resonated beyond classical music for generations, finding a place in the popular imagination and even urban legend. You don't have to know a violin from a viola to know the stories - some apocryphal - about one of the exquisitely rare instruments turning up in an attic or junk shop. Now add another stanza to what may be the most contorted tale of all the world's prized violins - a masterwork lost for half a century, today in the hands of a new master.


Bach with a difference...

Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli and Eddie South Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli and Eddie South...




One Russian is an anarchist, two Russians are a chess game, three Russians are a revolution, and four Russians are the Budapest String Quartet.   Jascha Heifetz


Top Billing

Noted violinist Jascha Heifetz, who often played with pianist Arthur Rubinstein and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, often complained that Rubinstein always got top billing. "If the Almighty himself played the violin," he once remarked, "the credits would still read 'Rubinstein, God, and Piatigorsky - in that order."


String Fever video

With their electric instruments and unique sound, the worlds first genetically modified string quartet combine exceptional musical skill with a real talent for involving and engaging audiences to provide you with an experience you’ll never forget.


Mummy - something to send shivers down the spine....

I recently strolled into a second-hand bookstore and came across a book entitled “Artists’ Pigments c. 1650-1835” by R.D. Harley. It looked like an excellent reference for the trials and tribulations of a violin maker and I promptly bought it. I would like to share with you a section from this book that is probably worthless from a violin making point of view … on second thought, we are dealing with a craft where terms like dragon’s blood, cat gut, tail-hair of Mongolian mare are not uncommon.

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e-mail: albertus@bekkerviolins.com