I was listening to Luigi Alberto Bianchi’s recording of the Paganini viola sonata a few days ago, and decided to Google his viola, the 1595 Brothers Amati “del Crocifisso”. It was stolen in 1980 and as far as I knew never recovered, but I was surprised to find an article from April that claimed the instrument was recovered in Milan, about 26 years after it was lost.
So I posted on the viola list yesterday, thinking I had found the cheapest strings in the country, when someone responded and told me that Concord Strings is cheaper. So don’t I feel stupid now.
Today I found out about Prodigy Instruments, a musical instrument shop located in Maryland somewhere. They appear to have about the cheapest strings anywhere in the country, so I ordered a set of strings and decided to post a quick blog entry here about them in the hopes of promoting their awesomely cheap strings. I just bought a full set of Evah Pirazzi stark viola strings for $58.99 (presumably also plus tax, but I forgot to check) and free shipping. Not bad, considering that Shar sells the same set for $66.90 and Southwest Strings sells it for $67.23.
So, Special K has ordered her bow from Thomachot now and she wanted to have it made very much like mine. So she asked him if he can make it the same weight as mine, but I guess he doesn’t have all the measurements of my bow on record so she asked if I could send her the
weight of the bow. I pulled out a little measuring scale from the kitchen and it said the bow is 70g. But that scale isn’t very accurate, and the little markers on it go to the nearest 5g. I just measured it with that out of curiosity. But today I went back to Arlington and took the bow to Mike Sherriff, a bow maker there, because he has a scale that measures to 0.1g accuracy.. and it turned out that the bow was 70.0g. Go figure.
So I just found out from Yi-Ping today that György Ligeti died in Vienna last Monday, on June 12. I had just been sitting around talking to Amirosh and Dr. Walters about Ligeti and his music sometime last week, when Amirosh asked if he was still alive. Dr. Walters and I both said he was, although he has been sick for a long time so we thought he may not live much longer. But it turned out by that time we were already wrong.
I really like Ligeti’s viola sonata, although it’s way too difficult for me to attempt to play any time soon. But I can still listen to it and enjoy it. I have heard some of his chamber music as well, and really enjoyed it a lot.
I got the recording by Sigiswald Kuijken and have been listening to it. It sounds really weird at first because I think it’s supposed to be more of an “authentic” performance. The strings are probably gut or something, and it has a very dead sort of sound. Dead as in, the quality of tone coming from the strings; it doesn’t have the strength of modern silver or steel strings or whatever. But it sounds very beautiful, and I’m enjoying this recording a lot.
I’m sort of frustrated by other chamber musicians. I am constantly
trying to assemble a quartet to work on Beethoven, and for some sick
reason nobody ever seems interested. Seriously, this drives me near the
edge of madness and I just may have to kill someone soon if they won’t
agree to do a Beethoven string quartet.
Don’t fuck with someone who names his viola VLA THE IMPALER.
We had a piano quintet performance this morning that didn’t go so well.
Hopefully it’ll be much better next time. It didn’t help that I
couldn’t rehearse with the group all week because of my opera stuff in
Sarasota, but I think there were bigger problems than that. Bartok
concerto is also coming along much better now, and I’m really enjoying
So apparently there was a review in the local newspaper of Lesley’s masters recital at UCSB. Like Lesley said, it’s pretty fluffy looking. But I don’t doubt it was a great recital. Congrats, Lesley!
Yes, I did finally get a new viola bow. It’s by Stéphane Thomachot, from Paris. I really like this bow. I took it to my old teacher, Vicki Chiang, a couple weeks ago and she really loved it. She even sounded like she was thinking of buying one now. Later today I’m taking it to my old quartet teacher, Maria Lambros. She already has a Thomachot bow, but she’s already ordered a second one.
So finally i have a really good bow to go along with VLA THE IMPALER, my beautiful viola by Hiroshi Iizuka. This Thomachot is the new Weapon of Choice.