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A Musicology of Performance

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Dorottya Fabian

3. Violinists, Violin Schools and Emerging Trends

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  • 1 For instance, David Milsom, Theory and Practice in Late Nineteenth-Century Violin Performance: An E (...)
  • 2 Ornoy, ‘Recording Analysis,’ Table 2, section 2.1.3.

1To introduce and contextualize the recordings analysed in chapters four to five and to account for cultural, personal and educational influences this chapter starts off by surveying the violinists whose Bach performance is in the focus of attention. Almost all discussions of violinists and their playing visit the issue of violin teachers and schools.1 As noted by some of these studies, the usefulness of such accounts is doubtful even regarding earlier violinists, but given the greater mobility and internationalization of musical training since the second half of the twentieth century, sorting out influences and delimiting stylistic boundaries are of interest in the present study only to the extent to which these inform the discussion of homogeneity versus plurality of styles or the possible blending of HIP and MSP. While Milsom largely deals with earlier artists, Ornoy provides a “genealogy” of teachers and schools of most of the violinists considered here.2 Biographical information on most of them is also readily available on the internet and various encyclopaedias. Therefore I provide only a very basic overview, focusing on those violinists who will be mentioned more frequently and on information regarding their Bach-playing. I cite potentially decisive influences and events as well as some violinists’ opinions on certain issues in the “Influence of HIP on MSP” section, in so far as they seem relevant to the main focus: the musical interpretation of Bach’s Solos for Violin.

3.1. Violinists

  • 3 Kevin Bazzana, Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, (...)

2The recordings under study showcase roughly four generations of violinists (cf. Table 1.1). The smallest cohort is the oldest, born during the first three decades of the twentieth century: Oscar Shumsky (1917-2000), Ruggiero Ricci (1918-2012), Jaap Schröder (b.1925), and Gérard Poulet (b.1938). Out of these, the Philadelphia-born Oscar Shumsky studied with the famed Leopold Auer and, after his death, with Efrem Zimbalist, but as a child prodigy he was also in close contact with Fritz Kreisler. Later he became a teacher at various US conservatories, including the Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia) and also the Juilliard School of Music (New York) from 1953. His Bach recording is interesting because of his reputation among fellow violinists and also because of his association with Glenn Gould through the Stratford Festival in Ontario during the early 1960s. There he played with Gould and the cellist Leonard Rose in all Bach programs as well as other repertoire.3

  • 4 Persinger (1887-1966) was trained in Leipzig but also studied with Ysaÿe and Thibaud. He eventually (...)

3Ruggiero Ricci, like Yehudi Menuhin, was from the West Coast of the United States and, just like him, first studied with Louis Persinger,4 and then went to study in Europe. He chose to go to Berlin, though, to study with Georg Kulenkampff, rather than George Enescu in Paris, as Menuhin did. Thus he was exposed to the German tradition best represented by Adolf Busch. As with most violinists, Ricci studied with others as well, including Paul Stassevich and Michel Piastro. His distinguished career as virtuoso and promoter of nineteenth-century violin repertoire spanned over seventy-five years. He gave master classes all over the world (including at the Mozarteum in Salzburg) and also taught at Indiana University and the Juilliard, among others. His Bach-playing is represented here by concert recordings from 1988 and 1991 of the A minor Sonata and D minor Partita only, both displaying his celebrated sweet tone and romantically inclined expression.

4The Frenchman Gérard Poulet studied at the Paris Conservatoire with André Asselin. After winning the Paganini International Competition in 1956 he continued his studies with a series of renowned violinists of the mid-twentieth century, most of whom were also famed for their Bach interpretations: Zino Francescatti, Yehudi Menuhin, Nathan Milstein and Henryk Szeryng. Poulet’s recording of the complete set from 1996 is interesting as it has many movements that are lightly bowed and clearly articulated while elsewhere his playing exhibits the hallmarks of MSP.

  • 5 Amsterdam Conservatory from 1963; Basel Schola Cantorum from 1973; and also as guest at Yale Univer (...)
  • 6 Jaap Schröder, Bach’s Solo Violin Works: A Performer’s Guide (London: Yale University Press, 2007); (...)

5Jaap Schröder stands out in this oldest group of violinists for being closely associated with the early music movement. He studied at the Amsterdam Conservatory between 1943 and 1947 with Jos de Clerck and with Jean Pasquier at the Ecole Jacques Thibaud in Paris. He joined Gustav Leonhardt, Anner Bylsma and Frans Brüggen around 1960, establishing the Quadro Amsterdam to explore historical performance practices of eighteenth-century music. He became a well-known teacher5 and chamber musician (e.g. Concerto Amsterdam, Quartetto Esterhazy) of the baroque and classical violin, as well as an orchestral leader (e.g. Academy of Ancient Music). Schröder has lectured widely on historical playing conventions and also published on performing the Bach Solos.6 His interpretation will often be referred to as it offers an interesting case. Although he was the oldest violinist among HIP specialists who made a recording of the Solos, he did so quite late in his career (1985) and considerably later than the earliest such versions (1977, 1981). His performance thus provides insights into generational boundaries and developments in period violin technique.

6The pool of the youngest players, hardly in their late twenties as the first decade of the twenty-first century came to its close, is similarly small: Ilya Gringolts (b.1982), Julia Fischer (b.1983), Sergey Khachatryan (b.1985), and Alina Ibragimova (b.1985). The four of them have diverse paths but some shared backgrounds as well.

7Ilya Gringolts went from St Petersburg and the tutelage of Tatiana Liberova and Jeanna Metallidi to the Juilliard and studied with Dorothy DeLay and Itzhak Perlman but then returned to Europe. Currently he resides in Switzerland and is professor of violin at the Basel Hochschule für Musik. In an interview with Inge Kjemtrup in 2011 Gringolts claims that he had been “at a crossroads musically, where I was questioning everything” while he was studying with Perlman. “I was not happy with my playing in many respects,” he says.

  • 7 ‘Ilya Gringolts: The Man, the Myth, the Musician on the Move,’ Interview by Inge Kjemptrup, posted (...)

I was looking around, trying to absorb a lot of influences and trying to make sense of them. I don’t know if any teacher would have helped at that point. He was there for me, but he didn’t really know how to handle me at that time[…].7

  • 8 Available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY-rbsei_rY. Apparently they played the entire set at t (...)

8In this same interview Gringolts states that his Bach Solos recording was a “real transition, meaning that I just started moving in one direction and I was still moving as I was recording. But later I did really explore period performance and Baroque playing.” The “transitory” stage of his approach to Bach at the time of making the recording under study here will be evidenced and commented upon on multiple occasions. His onward move towards HIP can be witnessed in his collaboration with Masaaki Suzuki, performing the Bach accompanied sonatas.8

  • 9 Rob Cowan, ‘Bach: Violin Sonatas and Partitas, BWV1001-BWV1006, Julia Fischer vn, Pentatone PTC 518 (...)
  • 10 Ibid. I am not sure what “period-style asceticism” might be but if it refers to literalism then the (...)

9Julia Fischer mostly remained in her native Germany, her main teacher being Helge Thelen. Her 2005 recording was well received by reviewers who praised the recording’s “immaculate finish” and Fischer’s “ability to trace a smooth, even line” while desiring “more in the way of expressive flexibility.”9 As we will see, her approach on this disk to interpreting Bach is much closer to the traditional MSP style and, like Sergey Khachatryan’s from 2010, somewhat fades into grey eminence in comparison with many others issued around the same time. As the reviewer in Gramophone noted, Fischer’s performances “are in general lightly pressured, leisurely and at times rather austere […] a sort of half-way house between period-style asceticism and a more emotive style associated with the various twentieth-century schools.”10

  • 11 Duncan Druce, ‘Sergey Khachatryan—An Engaging and Persuasively Virtuosic Debut from a Young Violini (...)

10Khachatryan is Armenian but has been living in Germany since 1993, when he was eight, and in 2000 became the youngest ever winner of the Jan Sibelius competition. In relation to his debut compact disk with EMI the reviewer in Gramophone noted already in 2003, that his Bach performance “is impressive […] for its polish and fine rhythmic control but Kachatryan does have something to learn about playing eighteenth-century music—in particular to use the slurs to add light and shade to the phrasing, rather than ironing out the difference between slurred and separate notes.”11 The advice was apparently not taken on board, for the disk of the Six Solos recorded seven years later shows very similar ironed-out traits.

11Of this youngest generation only Alina Ibragimova’s set exhibits the influence of HIP. She was born in Russia and studied with Valentina Korolkova in Moscow before moving to London and joining the Menuhin School under the tutelage of Natasha Boyarskaya. Later she completed her training at the Guildhall and the Royal College of Music (under Gordan Nikolitch). She also studied with Christian Tetzlaff, which is noteworthy given all the observations I will make about his two recordings throughout the book but especially in chapter five. Ibragimova’s interest in HIP is most unequivocally demonstrated by her founding of Chiaroscuro, a period-instrument string quartet that focuses on performing the classical repertoire.

12In between the oldest and youngest performers represented by the recordings, there are two further generations: those born in the 1940s to early 1960s and those born between the mid-1960s and the end of the 1970s. Discussion will inevitably centre on those players who are either better known or contributed interpretations of particular note. From the first group these include Sergiu Luca (1943-2010), Sigiswald Kuijken (b.1944), Gidon Kremer (b.1947), Elizabeth Wallfisch (b.1952), Monica Huggett (b.1953), Viktoria Mullova (b.1959) and to a lesser extent Itzhak Perlman (b.1945), Lara Lev (birth year not known) and James Buswell (not known). From the younger group Thomas Zehetmair (b.1961), Richard Tognetti (b.1965), Christian Tetzlaff (b. 1966), Rachel Podger (b.1968), Lara St John (b.1971), Isabelle Faust (b.1973), Rachel Barton Pine (b.1974), James Ehnes (b.1976) and Hilary Hahn (b.1979) will be repeatedly mentioned.

  • 12 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin (3 vols), Malcolm Bilson, Sergiu Luca. N (...)

13Originally from Rumania, Sergiu Luca lived in Israel from 1950 and later studied with Max Rostal in Europe before emigrating to the United States of America, where he studied with Galamian at the Curtis Institute and won the Leventritt Award before turning to period instruments and becoming a pioneer of HIP. His recordings of Mozart’s sonatas with Malcolm Bilson are no less revolutionary than his solo Bach; each being the first of its kind by far.12 The Belgian Sigiswald Kuijken, on the other hand, remained close to home, joining the innovative Flemish-Dutch branch of the early music movement during the 1960s-1970s. He eventually became a seminal figure not just as one of the first professors of baroque violin and consequently the teacher of many later players, but also as founding conductor of La Petite Bande (1971) and as a chamber musician in several projects involving Gustav Leonhardt, among others.

  • 13 Lindsay Kemp, ‘Going Solo—Monica Huggett on Playing Solo Bach,’ Gramophone, 75/897 (January 1998), (...)

14Monica Huggett first studied at the Royal Academy of Music (London) with Manoug Parikian and Kato Havas and later became one of the first students of Kuijken at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. She was a close associate of Ton Koopman, with whom she established the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and whose influence she frequently acknowledges. Apart from her solo career she is also well known as a professor of baroque violin (in Bremen and, since 2008, also at Juilliard) and as a concertmaster and conductor of period orchestras. Huggett has frequently mentioned in interviews her youthful desire to be a rock musician and her reluctance to conform.13 Her recording from 1995 is infused by this strong sense of individuality through and through. Hence it is worth noting further what she tells us about her life and inspirations.

  • 14 Kemp, ‘Going Solo,’ p. 16.
  • 15 Vittes, ‘From Rock to Bach,’ p. 54.
  • 16 Sadler, ‘Unpredictable Passions,’ p. 595.
  • 17 Ibid.

15As a kid, Hugget’s brother introduced her to jazz giants Charlie Parker and John Coltrane while later she became a fan of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and the Beach Boys. Most importantly, “[f]rom an early age I didn’t like the way that I had to play if I was playing with a big Steinway. It wasn’t my idea of what a violin should sound like and I always felt that the instrument had more possibilities in terms of tone quality and nuance.”14 She felt immediately happier when a friend “said my style would suit a gut fiddle, and she lent me one. “Oh yes,” I thought, “this is really nice.”’15 Huggett also notes how much she admired “Henryk Szeryng’s amazing set of Bach (Sony MP2K 46721) for its “mind-bogglingly [technical] perfect[ion]”16 but how, at the time of recording the set, she rather took inspiration from jazz-rock guitarist John McLaughlin’s album My Goals Beyond. Apparently the “first recording she heard of authentic instruments” was Rameau’s Pièces de Clavecin en Concert performed by Gustav Leonhardt with Sigiswald and Wieland Kuijken (Teldec 9031-77618-2).17 Characteristically Huggett is not afraid to admit listening to and imitating others’ performances and recordings.

  • 18 Kemp, ‘Going Solo,’ p. 16.

I believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I’m not afraid to imitate something that really works. Some musicians have got a thing about not ever sounding like other artists, but that doesn’t worry me at all. If I think somebody else did something really well, I’ll happily copy it. But funnily enough, I generally find that the end result doesn’t sound like any of them.18

16Perhaps most tellingly, Huggett sees

  • 19 Ibid.

Bach as this big North German with huge hands who could stretch a tenth and play all the parts in between, a great big chap who was difficult, passionate, overwhelming and larger-than-life. His music should be full-blooded; you shouldn’t be feeling ‘I mustn’t do this, it’s too much,’ but really go for it!19

17Huggett’s performance of the set certainly “goes for it.” She often takes slow tempos paying attention to every little detail but also joyously plays around with certain dance movements, like the E Major Gavotte en Rondeau, adding a showy cadenza. Elsewhere she deepens the music’s sad or melancholy character through soulful embellishments (e.g. D minor Sarabanda) or rapturous tempo and rhythmic flexibilities. Her unique style will be the focus of attention in the final part of chapter five.

18The similarly flamboyant Elizabeth Wallfisch (only one year senior to Huggett) was born in Australia but also trained in the Royal Academy of Music under Frederick Grinke. Currently residing in England, she became a specialist HIP violinist during the early 1970s, and is renowned for founding the Locatelli Trio and for her appearances with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, the Hanover Band and many other European period-instrument orchestras. She also teaches baroque violin at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and the Royal Academy of Music in London. She recorded the set just a few years after Huggett did and her reading is almost the polar opposite of Huggett’s; much faster, more virtuosic, strongly accented and displaying an entirely different timbre.

19Although approximate contemporaries of the above named players, the artistic trajectories of Perlman, Kremer, Mullova, Lev and Buswell are quite different. Itzhak Perlman was thirteen years old when he was “talent-hunted” from Israel by Ed Sullivan for his touring show, “Cavalcade of Stars,” which eventually led to studies with Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay at Juilliard. He was barely eighteen when he won the Leventritt Award in 1964, an achievement that launched his solo career. For many years he has taught at Brooklyn College and at the Perlman Program, a summer school on Long Island established by his wife. In 1998 he started co-teaching with DeLay at Juilliard, eventually succeeding her.

20Gidon Kremer was David Oistrakh’s prized student before he emigrated to the West, a fully formed virtuoso soloist, in the late 1970s. He followed his own path, playing the staple repertoire of classical and romantic concertos, commissioning and promoting new works, collaborating with diverse conductors (from Herbert von Karajan to Nikolaus Harnoncourt) and chamber orchestras, and eventually forming his own ensemble, Kremerata Baltica, in 1996. He is known for his musical integrity, wide ranging repertoire and promotion of new music.

  • 20 The details of all these recordings are provided in the Discography.

21Lara Lev and Viktoria Mullova could have followed a similar path, both having been trained in Soviet Conservatoires: Lev studied with Yuri Yankelevich and Vladimir Spivakov in Moscow, while Mullova’s teacher was Leonid Kogan. Lev played in orchestras before taking a teaching post in Helsinki during the 1990s and then joining the Chamber Music Faculty of Juilliard in 2008. In contrast, Mullova focused on solo performance: she won the Sibelius competition in 1980 and the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1982, before defecting to the West in 1983. She became an internationally known soloist and over time completely overhauled her playing of baroque music as evidenced by her three recordings under study here, the B minor Partita from 1987, the three Partitas from 1992-1993 and the complete set from 2007-2008.20

22James Buswell, currently professor of violin at the New England Conservatory (Boston, Massachusetts), initially trained at Juilliard with Ivan Galamian and then worked at both the Lincoln Centre in New York and the Music School of Indiana University. His interest in Bach’s Solos led to a documentary for the PBS Network and a recording on the Centaur label. He is highly respected for his dedication to new music and performances of the chamber repertoire. His recording of the Solos is of special interest because he was one of the last teachers of the Canadian Lara St John, whose interpretation will often be mentioned.

23Among the younger group of mid-career violinists Rachel Podger (b.1968) and Ingrid Matthews (b.1966) are baroque specialists while Thomas Zehetmair (b.1961), Richard Tognetti (b.1965), Christian Tetzlaff (b.1966), Benjamin Schmid (b.1968), Lara St John (b.1971), Isabelle Faust (b.1973) and Rachel Barton Pine (b.1974) are not, even though some of them may opt for a baroque bow and gut strings, or speak of being influenced by the tenets of HIP, as I will detail later.

24In terms of his age, the Austrian Thomas Zehetmair could belong to the previous, older group. However, his radical performing style makes it more natural to regard him as belonging to this third generation of violinists. Among non-specialists he was one of the first to “cross-over” and learn from Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s classes while at the Salzburg Mozarteum, eventually making a recording with the conductor (Mozart Haffner Serenade, Teldec 1986). Nowadays Zehetmair works mostly as a conductor but earlier in his career as violinist he undertook master classes with Nathan Milstein and Max Rostal.

25Benjamin Schmid, also an Austrian, is renowned for playing jazz as well as classical music. He tends to mention the influence of Yehudi Menuhin and Stéphane Grappelli, and studied in Salzburg, Vienna and at the Curtis Institute. His recording exhibits an interesting, at times rather idiosyncratic, combination of MSP and HIP features.

26The Germans Tetzlaff and Faust both have international reputations and both play the gamut of the standard violin repertoire. Christian Tetzlaff first studied with Uwe-Martin Haiberg (Lübeck Hochschule für Musik) and then with Walter Levin at the University of Cincinnati. He is a regular soloist with many orchestras and has an extensive discography covering works from Bach to Bartók and beyond. The younger Isabelle Faust is one of the more original players on the current scene. She studied with Denes Zsigmondy and Christoph Poppen, whom she often cites as inspirational. Having established her first string quartet at the age of 11, she continues to be an active chamber musician. In 2004 she was appointed professor of violin at the Berlin University of the Arts. Faust is well-known for her interest in exploring different musical idioms and new repertoires, including contemporary music. She has also collaborated with performers who specialise in baroque and classical music and for her recording of three of the Bach Solos she worked closely with fortepianist-harpsichordist Andreas Staier. The second disk of her Bach Solos (containing the G minor and A minor Sonatas and the B minor Partita) came out only in 2012; too late for me to include it in the current discussion. Suffice to say perhaps, that she tends to choose rather fast tempos in all movements on this second disk that gives the interpretation a rather hurried and somewhat routine feel in spite of the original added embellishments in the A minor Andante and B minor Sarabande movements. The tone could also be warmer although this may reflect recording technology more than her playing. Overall, I find Faust’s first disk containing the D minor and E Major Partitas and the C Major Sonata much more revelatory and convincing. All my comments regarding her interpretation refer to that disk from 2009 unless specifically indicated otherwise.

27One of the first teachers of the Australian Richard Tognetti was William Primrose (1904-1982), the famed viola player, once a pupil of Eugène Ysaÿe. Perhaps more influential were Tognetti’s teachers at the Sydney Conservatorium High School (Alice Waten) and at the Bern Conservatoire (Igor Ozim). Since his return to Australia in 1989 Tognetti has been the leader and artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble that plays a wide variety of repertoire (often especially transcribed by Tognetti or crossing boundaries with world music and other styles) on modern instruments. He has made several recordings as a soloist too, including Bach’s complete works for violin (Solos, Accompanied Sonatas and Concertos). For his recording of the Bach Solos, Tognetti chose lower tuning, gut E and A strings and a classical period bow. Reviewing it for Gramophone, Duncan Druce noted his varied bow strokes, limited use of vibrato and “persuasive ornamentation.” He described Tognetti’s interpretation as conveying

  • 21 Duncan Druce, ‘Reviews: Bach 3 Sonatas and 3 Partitas BWV1001-BWV1006, Richard Tognetti vn, ABC Cla (...)

remarkable freedom and imaginative range, stemming from what is clearly a deep understanding of eighteenth-century performance style. The set, in fact, offers a closer comparison with the best period instrument versions than with a modern player such as Julia Fischer who, by the side of Tognetti, sounds smooth and bland, for all her sensitivity and stylistic awareness. […] His view of the music is so well founded that he is able to communicate with an air of complete spontaneity.21

28In 1992, Chicago-based Rachel Barton Pine became the youngest American to win the gold medal at the Leipzig International Johann Sebastian Bach competition. A virtuoso musician, she performs her own cadenzas; prepares transcriptions and arrangements of all sorts of music; promotes the music of little known composers and black musicians; and plays with heavy metal bands (e.g. Earthen Grave) and early music groups (e.g. Trio Settecento). When performing baroque music, she opts for a period bow and gut strings. She issued one commercial disk containing the G minor Sonata and D minor Partita but she kindly made available to me two of her live concert recordings of the complete set: a series of radio broadcast concerts from 1999 and a marathon single day event (afternoon and evening) in 2007.

  • 22 Los Angeles Times, 9 December 2007. Available at http://www.larastjohn.com/ancalagon#

29Barton Pine’s close Canadian contemporary Lara St John started learning the violin with Richard Lawrence in her home town, London Ontario, and later studied with Linda Cerone in Cleveland and Gérard Jarry in Paris. She received her degree from the Curtis Institute (studying with Felix Galimir and Arnold Steinhardt) and continued at the Moscow Conservatoire. This was followed by further studies at the Guildhall in London (under David Takeno), the Mannes College in New York (again with Felix Galimir) and finally the New England Conservatoire in Boston with James Buswell. Her Bach Solo album was described by one critic as “wild, idiosyncratic, and gripping.”22 Her interpretation of the G minor Adagio and A minor Grave are improvisatory in character and the fugues are light and fast; there are also a few idiosyncratic moments in other movements that I will discuss in chapter four. St John plays with a modern bow but uses little vibrato when playing Bach; her repertoire is wide-ranging but remains primarily within the concert tradition. In that she is less like Barton Pine and closer to Ehnes and Hahn, who represent the most traditional mainstream within this group of violinists.

30James Ehnes studied at the Juilliard with Sally Thomas, graduating in 1997. He is one of the most prolific recording violinists of the past decade, covering mostly nineteenth- and twentieth-century works. According to his website (http://www.jamesehnes.com), The Guardian described his playing as “effusively lyrical […] hair raising virtuosity.” His 1999 recording of the Solos has all the hallmarks of MSP at the end of the twentieth century, but his more recent recording of the accompanied sonatas (with harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour) indicates that he too has started to adopt characteristics of the HIP style.

  • 23 Michael Quinn, ‘Bach to the Future’ [Hilary Hahn Interview], Gramophone, 81/973 (Awards/Special Iss (...)
  • 24 Bach—Violin and Voice, CD. Hilary Hahn (violin), Mattias Goerne and Christine Schäfer (voice), Muni (...)

31In contrast, Hilary Hahn remains true to her upbringing and initial aesthetic ideals. She studied with Klara Berkovich (who taught in the Leningrad School for the Musically Gifted for twenty-five years previously) from the age of five and with Jascha Brodsky for six years at the Curtis Institute. In a 2003 interview Hahn stated that although she “keeps abreast” with her own generation, she feels closer to “an older period, the artists of the same generation of my teacher and musical grand-father, Jascha Brodsky.”23 This is indeed quite clear when listening to her recording of three of the Solos (1999) and also a much more recent disk of Bach arias with violin obligato (2010).24

  • 25 Nevertheless one critic considered the latter his “favourite complete set of these works on either (...)

32Out of the two HIP specialists in this generation of violinists Rachel Podger will feature more than Ingrid Matthews, partly because her disk came out earlier (1998 versus 2001) and also because it contains more variations from the score.25 Both of them have many recordings to their credit but Matthews seems to appear more frequently as leader of ensembles whereas Podger is primarily a soloist and guest director who also teaches at several institutions (including the Guildhall, the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal Welsh College and the Royal Danish Academy of Music). Her teachers at the Guildhall were David Takeno, Micaela Comberti and Pauline Scott. The American Ingrid Matthews studied at Indiana University with Josef Gingold and Stanley Ritchie. She won the Erwin Bodky International Early Music Competition in 1989 and served as leader of the Seattle Baroque Orchestra between 1994 and 2012, which she co-founded with harpsichordist Byron Schenkman. Apart from baroque music she has also made recordings of contemporary works.

3.2. Violin Schools

  • 26 Apart from Auer’s studio in St Petersburg, Piotr Stoliarsky’s classes in Odessa (of which Milstein (...)
  • 27 Auer’s memoir cited in Boris Schwarz, Great Masters of the Violin: From Corelli and Vivaldi to Ster (...)
  • 28 Auer did perform publicly throughout his life, including concerts at Carnegie Hall in his 70s, but (...)

33Having surveyed some of the main violinists in my sample, a few words about so-called violin schools are also in order. Traditionally discussions of violin playing distinguished a German and a Franco-Belgian school of playing, the latter subsuming aspects of the Italian style. Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century representatives of the former were Joseph Joachim and his disciples, while the French school was embodied by Henri Vieuxtemps and Eugène Ysaÿe. The German school was regarded as analytical and sober and was epitomized by the “Berlin circle” and Carl Flesch’s famous studio in the first half of the twentieth century. The French school on the other hand was considered flamboyant and virtuosic, cultivating warmth of sound. Around the turn of the twentieth century a Russian school came to the fore headed by Leopold Auer at the St Petersburg Conservatoire. From his classes came such violinists as Jascha Heifetz, Misha Elman, Efrem Zimbalist, and also Nathan Milstein.26 Auer (1845-1930) himself studied mainly with Joachim, but stated that it was Jacob Dont in Vienna who “gave me the foundation of my violin technique.”27 Auer chose teaching rather than playing at the age of only twenty-three when he was appointed to the St Petersburg Conservatory; and later famously refused to premiere Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, leaving the honour to Adolph Brodsky (1851-1929).28 He remained in his post for nearly 50 years, until the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 forced him to move to the United States. There he continued to teach for another twelve or so years, privately and at the Juilliard School as well as at the Curtis Institute.

  • 29 Nathan Milstein and Solomon Volkov, From Russia to the West: The Musical Memoirs and Reminiscences (...)
  • 30 Milstein, From Russia to the West, p. 23. Milstein’s impression may be correct, but Auer does discu (...)

34According to Nathan Milstein, Auer hardly ever demonstrated during a lesson and neglected to teach technique: he encouraged his students to use their head, not their hands.29 This may be one reason why all his famous students sound so different. Milstein also claims that the students “almost never played Bach in Auer’s class. Bach was not at all popular in Russia then. […] Auer wasn’t interested in listening to Bach. He didn’t know what to say, and he said practically nothing.”30

  • 31 Schwarz, Great Masters, p. 419.
  • 32 See, for instance, Robin Stowell, ‘Technique and Performing Practice,’ in The Cambridge Companion t (...)

35Apparently Auer was “deliberately vague as to how to grip the bow” relying instead on “the physical structure of the student’s arm.”31 Yet the so-called Russian bow hold is often linked to Auer because Carl Flesch observed it in the playing of Heifetz and Elman, two of Auer’s best known pupils. This bow hold places the index finger lower and more over the bow while the Franco-Belgian grip has the index finger positioned so that the bow touches it around the middle joint.32 In an article about his career, Schröder is cited explaining that it was the French tradition of bowing that attracted him to study with Pasquier.

  • 33 Kjell-Ake Harmen, ‘French Master’ [Profile: Jaap Schröder], The Strad, 113/1349 (September 2002), 9 (...)

I observed how their bows not only sang, but also talked and danced. The extreme flexibility of their fingers on the bow shaped the sound with refined articulation. Their bow strokes could abruptly change speed and intensity at any part of the bow; slow languid movements were suddenly followed by biting spiccato produced by the finger joints of the bow hand. Their tone palette was full of surprises, from whispering sounds to an open and bright tone that has always been a hallmark of French string playing. I noticed that Jean’s wrist and elbow were not high, that his index finger was clearly steering the bow and had absolute control over the tone production.33

  • 34 Schwarz, Great Masters, p. 336.
  • 35 Carl Flesch, The Art of Violin Playing: I. Technique in General, trans. by Frederick H. Martens (Ne (...)
  • 36 Ivan Galamian, Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching, 3rd edn, with postscript by Elizabeth A. (...)
  • 37 [Itzhak Perlman], ‘Itzhak on Bow Grip,’ available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r0KN6VM
  • 38 [Aaron Rosand], ‘Aaron Rosand on How to Produce a Beautiful Tone,’ available at http://www.thestrad (...)
  • 39 According to Eales, Paul Rolland’s original thesis, Basic Principles of Violin Playing (American St (...)

36According to Schwarz, photographs show Auer holding the bow with the Franco-Belgian grip (so named by Flesch as well). He also claims that, if anybody, perhaps Wieniawski held the bow the way that came to be known as the Russian grip. He may have introduced it to Russia when teaching at St Petersburg during the nineteenth century.34 Later in his teaching career Flesch advocated the Russian grip; although it makes bowing less flexible, he still regarded it to be superior to the Franco-Belgian and old German grips because it produces a bigger tone.35 The rather uniform bowing typical of much violin playing on record from the second half of the twentieth century may be a result of this grip gaining ground through Flesch’s pupils and their pupils. However, bow hold may not be the main reason. According to pictures in Galamian’s method book, he seems to be teaching the Franco-Belgian grip.36 Perlman also describes his grip as Franco-Belgian.37 Furthermore, some players say they use both types of bow hold. Aaron Rosand, for instance, uses the Franco-Belgian grip for “Mozart, Bach, and pyrotechnical works.”38 Looseness of wrist, bow pressure and speed all contribute to tone and variation in tone.39 Without close study of visual documentation one can only speculate the constituents contributing to the impression of a more uniform style of bowing during the 1950s to 1980s period compared to the beginning of the century and since its last decade. The aesthetic ideal regarding a big, even sound may have been the most important driving force behind it.

  • 40 Allan Kozinn, ‘Jascha Brodsky, 90, Violinist at Curtis Institute’ [Obituary], The New York Times [A (...)

37Many Russian-Jewish violinists escaped to the United States of America at the end of the First World War and thereafter thus making the US the new home of the “Russian school,” whatever that might actually be. Among them was Jascha Brodsky (1907-1997), who became professor at the Curtis Institute, a music academy of equal prestige to the Juilliard School, thus influencing innumerable players (e.g. Hilary Hahn, as noted earlier). It is important to note, however, that Brodsky studied not only with his father but also with Lucien Capet and Eugène Ysaÿe, two key figures of the “Franco-Belgian School,” before moving to Philadelphia in 1930 (on advice from Mischa Elman) to study further with Efrem Zimbalist at the “newly founded Curtis Institute of Music.”40 So perhaps rather than a special technique or grip, the main attribute of the Russian school may well be its fairly stern pedagogical approach, a method that was typical of Auer as well as Flesch and many less famous teachers coming from Eastern Europe. This is related in numerous first-hand accounts and reminiscences, including Perlman’s:

  • 41 Cited in Barbara Lourie Sand, Teaching Genius: Dorothy DeLay and the Making of a Musician (New Jers (...)

With my first teacher, who was of Russian background, I would play something and she would say, “That’s wrong. You do this and you do that.” It was more like you’ll play and I’ll give you instructions, and Galamian was in a sense the same way.41

  • 42 A 1995 interview cited in Sand, Teaching Genius, p. 188.
  • 43 Sand, Teaching Genius, p. 50. Both of these principles had lasting impact on overall performing sty (...)
  • 44 Ibid., pp. 50-51, 53.
  • 45 Ibid., pp. 58, 113-114.

38So the “American school,” dominated by Juilliard and Curtis, essentially became a continuation of the Russian school established by Auer. The two most famous and influential teachers associated with these institutions were Ivan Galamian (1903-1981) and Dorothy DeLay (1917-2002). According to Perlman, who studied at the Juilliard School with both of them for about seven years, “they had different approaches to teaching, but similar systems technically speaking, especially with the bow and the way it works. The goals of the two were basically similar—certainly technically they were.”42 Both DeLay and Galamian placed special emphasis on tone production and projection. According to Arnold Steinhardt, a pupil of Galamian, his students “were given two basic principles which he delivered with a heavy Russian accent: one was ‘More bow’ and the other was ‘Play so that the last person in the last row of the hall can hear you.’”43 Other pupils also emphasized this aspect of Galamian’s teaching: “He stressed warmth and good sound,” noted David Nadien, while James Buswell stated: “Galamian had a revolutionary technique for the bow arm […] the ability to project the violin sound at a time when halls are getting bigger […] has become ever more critical.” DeLay agreed that Galamian’s “students had good sound. Big healthy sounds.”44 DeLay seemed to have shared this principle with Galamian as her training routine focused a lot on developing sound, including vibrato. Cornelius Duffalo remembered how when he first came to her, he was directed to develop “a clean sound, a nice, clean, beautiful sound. Then we worked on vibrato.” Peter Oundijan also noted that DeLay gave him “terrific vibrato exercises,” while he “never heard [Galamian] teach vibrato.” According to Duffalo, DeLay expected her students to “work on every note so that every note has a beautiful beginning, a beautiful middle, and connects beautifully into the next note.”45

  • 46 Ibid., p. 43, emphasis added.
  • 47 Galamian in Samuel Applebaum, The Way They Play: Illustrated Discussions with Famous Artists and Te (...)
  • 48 Stern is cited in Sand, Teaching Genius, p. 55. Apart from Sand’s book such information transpires (...)

39Where they differed was their pedagogy. The Armenian Galamian was educated in pre-revolutionary Moscow at the Philharmonic School by former Auer student, Konstantin Mostras, followed by a brief period with Lucien Capet in Paris between 1922 and 1924. Although he performed for a while, his focus had soon become teaching, first at the Russian Conservatory in Paris and from 1937 in New York. He eventually joined the faculties of both the Juilliard School (1946) and the Curtis Institute (1944) where he remained until his death in 1981. According to Sand, he “instructed and intimidated two entire generations of violinists” during his near forty years of tenure, and “his influence on performance style continues undiminished.”46 Sources agree that his teaching style was “old school authoritarian,” focusing on technical work and leaving nothing to chance. He believed that anybody could become a fine violinist if only they practised (“suffered through exercise”) and therefore “the first goal must be perfect control of the instrument.”47 According to Isaac Stern “it was never his forte or basic interest to teach a very large musical style” because he believed that the violinist’s musical personality could be developed later, once their technical command had been achieved.48

40These aesthetic ideals and pedagogical views are important factors contributing to the much lamented homogeneity in classical music performance during the second half of the twentieth century. Leaving nothing to chance, focusing on technique rather than style and expression hinders spontaneity and exploration of what a composition may require to sound unique. Assuming that many other teachers had similar approaches, it becomes questionable whether it was primarily the demand of the recording industry that fostered uniformity and precision and discouraged risk-taking and experimentation in performance. Conservatoires and competition judges might have played a more crucial role.

  • 49 Sand, Teaching Genius, p. 53.
  • 50 Ibid., pp. 57-58, 44.

41Although sharing a similar aesthetic and technical outlook, the American DeLay was the complete opposite of Galamian when it came to pedagogy. She was motherly and had a holistic approach to developing not just technique but the musician and the personality as well. Not that she was less methodical or lenient. She provided her charges with practice sheets that mapped out the tasks of a five-hour daily routine.49 But she was interested in teaching her students how to think and how to become independent musicians. She would constantly probe them with questions like “Well, what do you think of that phrase? What could the composer want with such a passage? Why should it sound like this? Why don’t you experiment a little with bowing until you are satisfied with the sound?” She also routinely advised them “to get hold of as many recordings of a work as they can […] to compare the various performance styles.”50 Comparing her approach to Galamian’s, DeLay once remarked that having come from a traditional Armenian family where

  • 51 Ibid., p. 52.

the father’s word is law […] Mr Galamian felt that formalities must be adhered to and that in a situation with a child, he was the authority—that children were there to do as they were told. I just don’t feel that way about children, but then I’m an American and I’m a woman, and I have two children of my own.51

  • 52 Ibid., p. 42.

42Her goal was to get inside the pupil, to help them find their own solution. Whether her students ended up being or sounding more individual than those who only studied with Galamian is beyond the scope of my investigations here because very few of them have recorded the Bach Solos. The lesson that bears significance for the present discussion is DeLay’s and Galamian’s shared principle of aesthetics and technique, which was rooted in a beautifully controlled, even, well-projected, warm sound. Given the reputation of the Juilliard School as “the real seat of stringed instrument power” in terms of “producing solo virtuosos,” the influence of this ideal should not be underestimated.52

43Meanwhile, on the European Continent the pre-war era was dominated by the equally famous Carl Flesch in Berlin and George Enescu in Paris. After the Second World War various renowned music institutions have carried the torch for international “best practice” in violin playing and pedagogy. As the biographies above show, the most important of these have been the Guildhall, the Royal College and Royal Academy of Music; the Salzburg Mozarteum, and the conservatories in Amsterdam and The Hague. The last two institutions were also instrumental in pioneering the institutionalized training of historical performing practices.

  • 53 Some of its history is recaptured in Dorottya Fabian, Bach Performance Practice, 1945-1975: A Compr (...)
  • 54 Babitz published several Early Music Bulletins during the 1960s and 1970s and a few peer-reviewed a (...)
  • 55 Monika Mertl, Vom Denken des Herzes. Alice and Nikolaus Harnoncourt—Eine Biographie (Salzburg and V (...)

44The very first school to teach specialization in “early music” was the Schola Cantorum in Basel (established in 1933), where Leonhardt completed his studies in 1950.53 The Schola developed curricula; provided a forum for workshops, master classes and concerts; and brought together many continental musicians interested in reviving earlier performing practices. It was there that the Los Angeles based Sol Babitz, a much neglected and maligned violinist pioneer of the movement, was given the opportunity to demonstrate his findings regarding articulation and bowing. These masterclasses inspired the post-war generation. He was also invited by the Kuijken Quartet to give lecture demonstrations in The Hague.54 This openness and rapid embracing of the period instrument movement on the Continent meant that during the 1970s and early 1980s Amsterdam and The Hague were the places to go if one wanted to study harpsichord playing or to learn to play the baroque version of a string or wind instrument. From 1973 the Salzburg Mozarteum also offered courses in early music theory taught by Nikolaus Harnoncourt.55

  • 56 Gerhard Persché, ‘Authentizität ist nicht Akademismus—ein Gespräch mit Chrtistopher Hogwood,’ Opern (...)

45Decca saw the commercial success of the continental groups and, apparently, wanted to recreate it in England. Christopher Hogwood recounted in an interview how the company recruited him to create an orchestra that would specialize in performing the music of the eighteenth century on period instruments.56 Of course there were many scholars and musicians in England, attached to various universities and cathedrals, who had been engaged with the early music movement all along. Yet formal training opportunities were not introduced until the 1980s and many of these institutions’ future leaders and first teachers had to gain specialist qualifications in the Netherlands. By now, however, most conservatoires around the world have an early music department. Many offer full degrees specifically in period instruments while others reserve the learning of such instruments for post-graduate training or as an optional or supplementary opportunity. The extent to which HIP has become accepted is demonstrated by the institutional recognition that knowledge of HIP maximises a musician’s employment prospects, thus it needs to be an essential part of tertiary or post-tertiary training. When the bastions of tradition like the Juilliard consider it important to introduce such a program at least at the graduate level as happened in 2008, then we can be certain that HIP is here to stay—it is current, it is fashionable, it is the contemporary style of playing baroque music.

46As this brief overview shows, HIP is exerting an increasing influence on MSP not just at the individual but also at the institutional level. This may lead to a possible relaxing of dogma on both sides of the divide regarding how a piece of music “should go.” Music schools are establishing early music departments and many younger players are interested in or feel obliged to gain specialist knowledge, to diversify. I now turn to tracing the qualitative details of this trend.

3.3. The Influence of HIP on MSP

47Chronologically speaking, the period under discussion shows an initial decline in the number of recordings made by MSP violinists of the Bach Solos during the 1980s and 1990s with a concurrent increase in those made on period instruments, especially during the 1990s. By the mid-2000s however this is reversed, with several non-specialists releasing complete sets. What is important to note, as mentioned earlier, is the fact that quite a few of them use a baroque bow (and often gut strings as well) or acknowledge in interviews or compact disk liner notes the inspiration gained from discussions and collaborations with period performance practitioners and musicologists (e.g. Barton Pine, Faust, Gringolts, Ibragimova, Mullova, Poppen, Schmid, Szenthelyi, Tetzlaff, Tognetti, Zehetmair). How far each of them goes or in what sense they adopt period performing aesthetics varies considerably and provides a fascinating landscape of performing Bach’s Solos at the beginning of the new millennium. I will discuss individual differences in more detail later on.

  • 57 By metric-harmonic articulation I mean a delivery that is governed by the bass line and the pulse o (...)
  • 58 John Butt, Playing with History: The Historical Approach to Musical Performance (Cambridge: Cambrid (...)
  • 59 Observed also by Daniel Leech-Wilkinson in ‘Recordings and Histories of Performance Style,’ in The (...)

48In general, the influence of HIP manifests most clearly in bowing and articulation, in vibrato use, and in an increase in added ornaments and embellishments during repeats. Recordings of period violinists also show this trend as their playing becomes more locally nuanced, metrically and harmonically articulated and richer in ornamentation.57 In both the HIP and MSP versions of more recent years one can observe greater flexibility in the timing of notes and shaping of phrases. This is largely due to the stronger articulation of smaller musical units and rhythmic groups. The trend towards a more interventionist (or less literal) approach reflects increased freedom and subjectivity and results in a pluralism that may be linked to the postmodern condition observed by Butt, among others.58 This development becomes even more apparent when the findings of the examination are ordered according to the age of the violinists rather than the recording date (cf. Table 1.1). The very strong correlation between similarities in performance characteristics and date of birth indicates, first and foremost, that soloists develop their distinctive interpretations early in their career and divert from it only rarely.59 This, in turn, assists us to see what the dominant interpretative modes are in any given decade or so; the aesthetic “common ground,” if you wish, that provides the framework for individual differences.

  • 60 This view is put forth most pointedly in Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, The Changing Sound of Music: Appro (...)
  • 61 Reinhard Kopiez, Andreas C. Lehmann, and Janina Klassen, ‘Clara Schumann’s Collection of Playbills: (...)
  • 62 As discussed in chapter two, Richard Taruskin was among the first to formulate an explanation for t (...)
  • 63 However, even at Juilliard HIP is now present. An advertisement in the October 2010 issue of The St (...)

49The much lamented “Urtext mentality” of the post-war era can be observed in recordings of violinists born between approximately 1945 and 1960 (e.g. Perlman, Mintz, Kremer 1980). The few even older players (e.g. Shumsky, Poulet) also displayed a similarly literal approach to the works, supporting the view that a decidedly literalistic (either “reverential / romantic-modernist” or “objective / classical-modernist”), technically highly polished playing of Bach had become an ideal already by the 1930s. As such readings were also detected in the recordings of four of the youngest MSP violinists (Ehnes, Hahn, Khachatryan, and to a lesser degree Fischer), this aesthetic seems to have a strong grip on the musical psyche of modern performers. It is tempting to think that the horrors of the First and then Second World Wars, followed by a series of radical social and cultural changes, induced lasting shifts in sensibilities or in willingness to exhibit the deeply personal.60 Perhaps less dramatically and unconsciously but in a rather more systematic and inevitable way, essentially musical developments must also have contributed to this new aesthetic. The canonization of the classical repertoire that brought about an increased reverence for composers and their scores had started already in the nineteenth century.61 Yet it seems to have been accomplished only around the 1950s, partly as a drive in historicism and associated preservation of cultural artefacts in the wake of the devastation of the Second World War. The ensuing decades saw further consolidation of this trend through renewed interest in critical editions and musicological dicta based on textual analysis. The more and more formalized and internationalized training of performing musicians—training that emphasized instrumental technique and projection of tone while de-emphasizing the composing and improvising that used to be part and parcel of many earlier virtuosos’ skills (e.g. Kreisler, Busch, Milstein, to name only violinists)—fostered an acceptance of the score’s authority and the performer’s role as an accurate transmitter of the composer’s text.62 Given the very gradual conquest of this ideology and the longevity of musicians’ careers in the twentieth century, it is perhaps not surprising that the professors in some of the most famous institutions (e.g. the Moscow Conservatoire, Royal College of Music, Juilliard and Curtis) still seem to produce musicians whose playing displays this trend that started approximately between the 1920s and 1950s.63

50On the basis of their Bach recordings Hahn, Ehnes, Khachatryan and to a slightly lesser extent Fischer are representative of such violinists. As noted in the previous sections, Hahn and Ehnes were educated at Juilliard and Curtis where famous violin pedagogues (Ivan Galamian, Jascha Brodsky, Sally Thomas, Dorothy DeLay) of a modern “Russian-American” school ruled. It is indicative of Hahn’s style of playing that in a lead article about her that appeared in the Gramophone in 2000, Milstein, Heifetz, Kreisler and Grumiaux were named as the violinists who influenced her the most. The link between her tutelage under Brodsky and her approach to Bach is also hinted at:

  • 64 Adam Sweeting, ‘Hilary Hahn [Cover Story],’ Gramophone, 78/927 (May 2000), 8-13. Importantly, there (...)

He wanted me to bring in Bach every week […] You can’t get away with anything in Bach. You can’t focus on the technique and forget about the phrasing, and you can’t focus on the phrasing and forget the technique because neither will work. You also have to balance voices. It’s a challenge to phrase each voice individually, to play everything the way it should be played technically and make the multiple voices sound like on piece. It takes a lot of thought and a lot of playing to get to where you can feel comfortable with it.64

51In a 2003 interview she added

  • 65 Quinn, ‘Bach to the Future.’

Bach is the composer I’ve played the most—he’s the touchstone that keeps my playing honest […] As long as he is played with good intentions, some thought and an organised approach he will always grab people’s attention. Bach never gets old. Something about him is always identifiable.65

52Julia Fischer, who started with the Suzuki method under the guidance of Helge Thelen in her native Munich, similarly looks to older generations, in particular Oistrakh and Menuhin, when asked to name her idols. She considers Sophie Mutter to be “the greatest German violinist today” and admires Oistrakh because he was

  • 66 Martin Cullingford, ‘The Experts’ Expert—Violinists,’ Gramophone, 82/986 (November 2004), 46.

one of the most honest musicians in the world—a real medium between the composer and the listener. He was never, not in one [musical] phrase, on stage to show off, but only to be a servant to music and the composer.66

53Regarding performing Bach Fischer states:

  • 67 Harriet Smith, ‘Interview: Julia Fischer,’ Gramophone, 83/993 (June 2005), 19.

Bach has been part of my daily diet for years, and recording the Sonatas and Partitas is something I’ve long wanted to do. One of the things that I love most about Bach is that you can have absolutely your own view—there’s no unbroken performing tradition that you’re up against.67

54This seems to be a view shared by the Armenian Khachatryan, another young violinist playing in a decidedly MSP (according to some reviewers “old school”) style. When asked about his view on period performance he responded:

  • 68 Anonymous, ‘One to Watch: Sergey Khachatryan, Violinist’ [For the Record], Gramophone, 80/962 (Janu (...)

People move with the times. In the Baroque period repertoire was played in the way that was modern at that moment. But in time new techniques and new methods have been developed, and if you continued playing Baroque instruments, you’d kind of stagnate. We should approach the pieces from our knowledge now, rather than staying at that earlier level.68

55What emerges from these quotes is the impression that these violinists have made a deliberate choice regarding their MSP approach to playing Bach and that the decision has been deeply influenced by spending their formative years in musical environments where traditions of mid-twentieth-century aesthetics—including the notion of “letting the music [composer] speak for itself” and thinking of current instruments and playing modes as being all-round better than their period versions—are upheld strongly. Mullova describes these ideals succinctly when she writes,

  • 69 Viktoria Mullova, ‘Liner Notes; Bach: 6 Solo Sonatas and Partitas,’ CD recording on a 1750 G. M. Gu (...)

When I was at the Conservatory in Moscow [the rules of playing Bach] were based on a widely-held approach of the time that combined a standardized beautiful sound, broad, uniform articulation, long phrasing, if possible, and continuous and regular vibrato on every single note.69

56She also explains the main differences between her Bach playing then and now:

  • 70 Mullova, ‘Liner Notes,’ n.p.

During those years [in the Moscow Conservatoire] my Sonatas and Partitas became stiff, monotonous and even more difficult to perform […] I used to play them with very little articulation, and without the distinction between strong and weak beats that is so naturally linked to bow-strokes. But most of all, I didn’t understand the harmonic relationships, which are fundamental to a feeling of freedom and involvement in the musical argument.70

57In her biography she adds information about the MSP style of bowing typical throughout the second half of the twentieth century:

  • 71 Viktoria Mullova, and Eva Maria Chapman, From Russia to Love: The Life and Times of Viktoria Mullov (...)

I was so proud that I could […] play one note, change the bow up or down on the same note and you couldn’t hear the join. That was one of the things I had to technically master very young and I was brilliant at it. But now I don’t use this technique when I play Baroque music.71

  • 72 According to information in another of Mullova’s compact disks, she has been “nurturing” a period a (...)

58Whereas Mullova has changed her approach radically since her first solo Bach recording in 1987—due to musical encounters with HIP musicians who lured her back to the repertoire which she had abandoned out of frustration, as recounted in the quoted liner notes—it remains to be seen if Hahn and the others cited above ever will and if so, why.72

  • 73 ‘Ilya Gringolts in Conversation with Jeremy Nicholas,’ Liner Notes to Gringolts’ recording of two p (...)
  • 74 Jed Distler, ‘Review: Bach 3 Sonatas and 3 Partitas, BWV1001-BWV1006, Gidon Kremer vn, ECM New Seri (...)

59Apart from playing on modern violins with modern bows, the common characteristics of the recordings of Shumsky, Ricci, Perlman, Kremer (in 1980), Mintz, Ehnes, Hahn, Khachatryan and to a slightly lesser extent Poulet and Fischer are the predominantly literal approach to tempo (besides slowing down to mark the end of phrases), rhythm and dynamics; a tendency to use even, portato strokes; projecting longer melodic lines played on a single string as much as possible; not adding ornaments; and playing with regular accenting and an even, vibrato tone. In short, all the features that Mullova so aptly summarized in her liner notes cited above. Other violinists who seem to belong to this modernist school include Gähler, Ughi, Edinger, and to a lesser extent Buswell, Kremer (in 2005), Schmid, Szenthelyi, Schröder, and Kuijken (especially in 2001). Kremer is different in that his interpretation can be linked to his Russian schooling. For instance it is rather intense, serious and grand, a style that upholds Gringolts’ opinion that the Russians “always played everything in a romantic manner. Their […] Bach has a tendency to sound a bit on the never-ending side—a lot of melodic line, shapeless.”73 In Kremer’s second version a reviewer heard a “seeming determination to bypass his instrument in pursuit of musical truths” through the “hard hitting, raw, squeezed-out quality of many notes above the stave and loud broken chords.” The critic also noted that “[t]he utterly unprettified G minor [is] brisker and grittier than what one usually hears.”74 Nevertheless, this later recording also shows signs of more recent approaches to baroque music performance adopted in an idiosyncratic way, as I will show in chapters four and five. Similarly, Buswell and Szenthelyi attempt to invoke HIP articulation and bowing but these are usually evident only in the opening bars or phrase of a movement and not across all movements. Schmid’s version seems fairly hybrid, with emotionalized dynamics and tone but the pulse often being strong and the articulation detailed. He uses varied bow strokes.

  • 75 The term “authentistic” was coined by Richard Taruskin to describe the “modernist” approach to HIP. (...)

60The surprise names in the above list are Schröder and Kuijken, both of them being associated with period performance practice and both playing with period apparatus. Kuijken’s first version (recorded in 1981 and issued on compact disk in 1983) is also the most often chosen HIP-comparative recording in reviews published in the Gramophone. Nevertheless the evenness of their tempos (Schröder tends to play rather slowly, too), the fairly limited presence of metrical inflections, rhythmic freedom, and additional ornaments, together with a pervasive vibrato, long-range phrasing through dynamics, and occasionally rather sturdy, heavy bowing make their recordings sound quite similar to some of the more “stylish” MSP (alias “authentistic”) rather than to the full-blown HIP versions.75

  • 76 Harmen, ‘French Master,’ p. 955.
  • 77 Jaap Schröder, ‘Jaap Schröder Discusses Bach’s Works for Unaccompanied Violin,’ Journal of the Viol (...)
  • 78 Sol Babitz, Early Music Laboratory Bulletin, 12 (1975-1977), n.p. These yearly Bulletins were writt (...)

61Again, the age of the artists and the time of their formative years may provide the explanation. As stated earlier, Schröder was born in 1925 and has been associated with the early music movement since the 1960s, especially for his performances of classical string quartet music and for promoting little known seventeenth- and eighteenth-century works for violin. He once told Kjell Harman that “changing to the Baroque violin was a gradual transition, and in my case it was never complete”; it is well known that even in the early 2000s he was still playing “both the Baroque and Classical violin and occasionally an instrument set up in accordance with modern requirements, but he never uses different instruments in the same programme.”76 In my view, Schröder’s published statements regarding historically informed violin playing are much more illuminating and in line with how other period instrumentalists now perform baroque music than his own renderings.77 This echoes what Sol Babitz reported about the state of early music performance at The Hague in the mid-1970s: “They teach unequal playing to their students, but they don’t do it themselves.”78

  • 79 Alternatively, this “turning back” could also indicate the loosening of dogma because such a revers (...)

62Kuijken, although some twenty years Schröder’s junior and thus belonging to the next generation of Flemish and Dutch musicians who spearheaded period instrument performance during the 1970s, plays the pieces in a similar fashion. As I will show later, his interpretations go only a little further than Schröder’s in the direction of HIP (for details see also Table 3.2). Kuijken’s recordings with La Petite Bande display much more clearly the characteristically HIP style of closely articulated and metrically orientated playing than either of his two albums of solo Bach (1981, 2001). Perhaps he acquainted himself with the Solos too early in his violin studies to be able to fully shed ingrained readings and executions. The finding that his later recording is even less HIP-sounding than the first may indicate that as musicians age, the musical conventions and techniques ingrained during their early training could easily resurface.79

  • 80 It remains under the radar in spite of its exceptional qualities. For instance it is not mentioned (...)
  • 81 Stoddard Lincoln, ‘Bach in Authentic Performance: The Technically Impossible Becomes Merely Difficu (...)
  • 82 Many reviews in The Strad or Gramophone and other magazines could be listed. Perhaps Stowell’s revi (...)
  • 83 Sergiu Luca, ‘Going for Baroque,’ Music Journal, 32/8 (1974), 16-34.

63Contrary to Sigiswald Kuijken, his close contemporary Sergiu Luca (1943-2010) provided listeners with a radically different style of playing Bach’s Solos when he recorded them with a period bow and period violin in 1976. His was the first such recording yet it is rarely mentioned in the sources and was never reviewed in Gramophone.80 Although in the USA it stirred some positive reactions—for instance a reviewer voiced his astonishment at hearing the works in such a new light81—by and large later recordings tended to be compared to Kuijken’s 1981 version as if that was a yardstick for period practice.82 In many ways Luca’s version was so radical and advanced for its time that only recordings from the mid-1990s started to match it in terms of articulation, bowing, added embellishments, rhythmic flexibility and expressive freedom. His story is somewhat similar to Mullova’s conversion as related in her liner notes. They both exemplify the rare case when a musician radically changes his or her approach to a composition. The Galamian-trained Luca, who was also playing Sibelius and other late romantic concertos at the time, found inspiration in recorded performances of Gustav Leonhardt and discussions with Alan Curtis, another important harpsichordist. Together they helped him to discard tradition and allow his baroque bow to guide him in finding possible sonic equivalents of written descriptions found in eighteenth-century treatises.83

64While the recordings of Schröder and Kuijken still showcase many characteristics of the authentistic-modernist MSP style typical of the mid to late twentieth century, younger players born after about 1965, demonstrate an influence of HIP. An interest in recreating eighteenth-century performing practices had started already at the beginning of the twentieth century with publications by Dolmetsch and Landowska. It gained increased momentum from the mid-1950s and eventually became a radical alternative approach and style by the 1980s. Since then it has gradually lost its controversial status. Rather, as the observations in this book also demonstrate, it is the dominant way baroque music is performed nowadays. Some of the violinists born between 1940 and 1960 in the current sample had become leading figures in propelling the HIP aesthetics to the fore (Kuijken, Luca, Wallfisch, Huggett, Beznosiuk, Holloway). This influence is clearly seen in the more lifted bowing of Lev, Mullova, Zehetmair, Schmid, Tetzlaff, Tognetti, Faust, St John, Barton Pine, Gringolts, and Ibragimova. It is also evidenced in their rhythmic and tempo flexibilities, limited use of vibrato, approach to polyphony, and delivery of multiple stops that tend to be (almost) arpeggiated, rather than played as chords. Some of them also embellish the music freely (e.g. Mullova, Tognetti, Tetzlaff, Faust, Barton Pine, Gringolts).

65From a broad perspective I found little difference between the general interpretative vocabulary of these players and their contemporary HIP specialists playing on period instruments (Brooks, Podger, Matthews; see Figure 3.1). Short bow strokes with rapid note decay, rhythmic inflections, strong projection of pulse, closely articulated small motivic cells, over-dotting, arpeggiated multiple stops, bouncing, lively dance movements, and dynamic nuances within a basic, “average” volume can be observed in all of these recordings to a greater or lesser extent. The recently released (2008-2010), entirely HIP-sounding, lavishly ornamented performances of Faust (volume one) and, even more so, the much older Mullova are further testaments to this transformation of interpretative style within pockets of MSP. Closer inspection reveals differences in kind (e.g. vibrato or no-vibrato tone, accent rather than metric stress; short but not inflected bow stroke) as well as in degree (e.g. long-range dynamics even if motivic cells are articulated, legato / longer strokes that are nonetheless inflected and varied). These differences will be discussed in the next section.

  • 84 Nick Shave, ‘Star of the North [Zehetmair],’ The Strad, 116/1377 (January 2005), 18-22.
  • 85 Lawrence A. Johnson, ‘An Interview with Rachel Barton,’ Fanfare, 21/1 (September-October 1997), 81- (...)
  • 86 Rachel Barton Pine, On-line biography, available at: http://industry.rachelbartonpine.com/bio_mediu (...)

66Noting the similarities, it is intriguing to ponder why these players show such a strong influence of HIP while others of their generation (Ehnes, Hahn, Edinger, Fischer) do not, as discussed earlier. Zehetmair mentions in an interview the decisive influence of attending Harnoncourt’s classes in Salzburg and later performing with the conductor.84 Tetzlaff, Tognetti and Barton Pine are also on record acknowledging the aural appeal of HIP performances of baroque music and, in the cases of Tognetti and Barton Pine, the benefits of using a period bow.85 But perhaps it is also noteworthy that none of them studied at the Juilliard or the Curtis Institute, not even the American Barton Pine, who is based in Chicago and studied with Roland and Almita Vamos at the Oberlin Conservatory.86

  • 87 Edward Greenfield, ‘Itzhak Perlman talks to Edward Greenfield,’ Gramophone, 66/787 (1988), 967; And (...)
  • 88 As noted above, Hahn’s recent collaboration with Mattias Goerne and Christine Schäfer on Deutsche G (...)

67Members of the Juilliard-Curtis Schools, in particular Perlman (himself a pupil of Galamian and DeLay, as mentioned before) are well known for their anti-HIP pronouncements.87 This has likely impacted on the musical horizon of their students, at least at the beginning of their careers when they recorded the Bach Solos.88 The musical-aesthetic “baggage” that the Solos seem to have accumulated since their re-introduction to the concert repertoire by Joachim in the nineteenth century is manifest even in the much more contemporary-minded Isabelle Faust’s reflection. Her goal being “to get into what the composer wants,” she worked closely with harpsichordist-fortepianist Andreas Staier, as mentioned earlier, to learn more about baroque performance practice before making the recording. Nevertheless, she admits to finding the process difficult.

  • 89 Lorence Vittes, ‘Profile: Violinist Isabelle Faust,’ Strings, 168 (April 2009), available at http:/ (...)

[Bach is] a unique man in his time and his field […] and it’s hard to digest it all. I want to get as close to Bach as I possibly can, and yet still transform it into something that’s my own personal vision. Whether to follow rules or be flexible can be very confusing. Still, it’s been a fantastic time trying to stretch, at least a little, my approach to Bach. […] The truth is, with Bach you’re never there.89

3.4. Diversity within Trends and Global Styles

  • 90 The spectrum of approaches and allegiances has also been explored by Ornoy through a large-scale qu (...)

68Notwithstanding the broad trends summarized so far, an examination of the details show great diversity and at times less clear-cut distinction between HIP and MSP characteristics in a given recording.90 In certain dance movements (especially the Gavotte en Rondeau of the E Major Partita and the E Major and D minor gigues) almost all violinists adopt a lively, rhythmically orientated performance that projects the pulse and articulates the harmonic-metric units clearly. The final fast movements and the E Major Preludio, on the other hand, tend to sound more MSP because of a uniformly virtuosic approach. Although the violinists may employ some accenting to underscore certain structurally, harmonically or figuratively important notes, overall they deliver these movements as virtuosic show pieces (see chapter five for a detailed discussion). The fugues and slow movements of the Sonatas are different, some tending towards MSP, others towards HIP depending on tempo choice, the over-emphasis or not of fugal subjects, and the way polyphony and multiple stops are handled. In case of the lyrical slow movements, the MSP style is reflected in a predilection for phrasing longer melody lines and building major melodic climaxes. Intensification of vibrato and long-range dynamic arches contribute to the effect.

  • 91 Most recently by Bruce Haynes, The End of Early Music: A Period Performer’s History of Music for th (...)

69Various authors have identified how the MSP and HIP styles differ along performance scales such as contrasting approach to phrasing, articulation, bow strokes, multiple stops, ornamentation, rhythmic flexibility, dotted rhythms, and rubato. I summarized my definition of these issues in Table 3.1.91 Nevertheless, describing the differences in kind often remains elusive and not just because of the subjective nature of perception. For instance, it is generally agreed that in baroque music it is important to articulate smaller rhythmic-melodic units that reflect the beat hierarchy of the meter as well as the harmony implied by a real or imagined bass line. But the execution remains subject to taste within the broadly established parameters. In his seminal study of Bach interpretation, John Butt quotes Leopold Mozart whose advice leaves many doors open for subjective interpretation:

  • 92 John Butt, Bach Interpretation: Articulation Marks in Primary Sources (Cambridge: Cambridge Univers (...)

One must first know how to make all variants of bowing; one must understand how to introduce weakness and strength in the right place and in the right quantity: one must learn to distinguish between the characteristics of pieces and to execute all passages according to their own particular flavour.92

  • 93 Lawson and Stowell, Historical Performance Practice, pp. 55-56. See also Johann Joachim Quantz, Ver (...)

70Lawson and Stowell also discuss articulation and accenting at length, highlighting the importance of distinguishing between strong and weak beats (“good” and “bad” notes in Quantz’s expression) and linking it to bowing, tonguing and fingering patterns.93

71The trouble is that such articulation can be achieved in a variety of ways with diverse performance features and techniques interacting in seemingly endless degrees of contribution: a bow stroke can be short and light yet not create inflections in terms of dynamic shade-nuance or rhythmic stress; harmonic-metric groups can be created by dynamic accents (such as little sforzandos or fortepianos) rather than timing or “agogic” stress (that is, slight elongation of certain notes or slight delay before sounding the note). Such playing often results in a regular accentual pattern rather than a constantly shifting, nuanced, “hierarchical” one. By the same token relatively longer, more sustained bow strokes can nevertheless sound “lifted” because of tiny swells or decays in the sound produced. Phrases articulated in small metric-harmonic groups can still be legato and project a longer line, yet be heard as completely different to a “continuous legato phrase.” This latter is achieved primarily through sustained note-lengths (bowing) and a long-range dynamic arch of gradual crescendo and increasing tension followed by decrescendo and rallentando. Furthermore, the less intense tone (lighter bow pressure, less conspicuous vibrato) and looser flow (slight metrical stresses, more decay between notes, not too slow tempos) seem to contribute to the perception that Poulet’s, Buswell’s and Fischer’s recordings are less strictly MSP in style than those of Shumsky, Perlman, Kremer (1980), Mintz, Hahn, Ehnes, or Khachatryan. But in the case of Khachatryan the major difference may be the use of dynamics that create “emotionalized” phrasing, as his bowing is not that intense or heavy even though he uses long bow strokes, often combined with sustained legato. Moreover, the agogic stresses he introduces highlight the harmony or create rhythmic inflections. There are several Audio examples in chapters four and five that will illustrate these subtle and not-so-subtle differences.

72Importantly, different movements bring up different issues and possibilities that indicate performance style. In certain movements it is more the phrasing, in others more the bowing and bow pressure; elsewhere it may be the articulation or accenting that seems to determine the perceived style. To put it more accurately, any of these could be the performance feature through which the style can be best described.

73Fast movements (E Major Preludio and the finales of the three sonatas) are often just accented and played rapidly with short, non-legato bows even by period specialists. At times these specialists (e.g. Podger) and certain HIP-inspired violinists (e.g. Tognetti, Mullova) relish in the resonances produced by the open gut strings. This creates a fundamentally different effect to the technical brilliance and virtuoso perpetual motion of the typical MSP style. However, to complicate things further, period specialists (e.g. Wallfisch) may also adopt this virtuosic approach as shown in chapter five.

74Slow movements (e.g. the C Major Largo and A minor Andante) tend to be played legato yet articulated by several violinists (e.g. Buswell, St John, Barton Pine)—or phrased into longer units through dynamic and tempo arches even by HIP and HIP-inspired players (e.g. Kuijken, Holloway, Tetzlaff). Apart from the kinds of dynamics used, it is often the tone production—intensity of vibrato and bow pressure—that seems to create the real difference. Broader bow strokes and slower tempos may counteract the impact of articulation, especially if this calls upon accenting rather than a projection of meter or pulse. At the same time longer lines may still be heard as “hierarchical-rhetorical” if the small rhythmic values (such as in the G minor Adagio and A minor Grave) are played with some freedom: Flexibility creates a series of gestures that build up to a longer phrase.

75So, even if one manages to define the meaning of descriptive categories (e.g. phrasing, articulation, etc.; see Table 3.1), the degree to which the performance features of a given interpretation fit these definitions remains subjective. The overall perceived effect depends on the dominant elements within the interaction of bowing, accenting, articulation, timing, tempo, dynamics, tone and vibrato.

  • 94 Violinists whose performance represents “clearly” or “obviously” MSP or HIP are not included in Tab (...)
  • 95 I am indebted to Adrian Yeo in devising Table 3.3, which takes his original idea further and adapts (...)
  • 96 Ornoy (‘In Search of Ideologies’) lists these and some additional parameters as essential issues to (...)

76With this in mind, I attempt to summarize my results. Table 3.1 lists the performance features referred to throughout the analyses and my definitions of them. Table 3.2 summarizes the tendency of selected performers to cross over to HIP or MSP styles in particular movements.94 Table 3.3 provides a more detailed overview of the extent to which HIP and MSP stylistic features are present across all the movements of the more closely studied recordings.95 It is important to reiterate, however, that styles are necessarily “fuzzy” categories; they often overlap and my discussion of the details in chapters four and five is essential to justify and unpack my judgement tabulated here. As not even movements of a similar type (e.g. fugues, slow movements, opening adagios, allemandes, gigues etc.) are necessarily delivered in a similar vein, I decided to rate each recording as a whole for each category along a ten point scale (10 = maximum) to indicate the consistency of the examined features across all movements in a given recording. These are cumulative scores calculated from rating individually each of the performance features in every movement of the selected recordings and then averaging the result of each scale to obtain the final cumulative score listed in Table 3.3. This way one can see the degree to which a particular performance feature of a given recording belongs to the MSP or the HIP category; how prominently each manifests in any of the studied albums. Shading the ratings with progressively darker colours aims to aid the visual grasping of the differences. As the categorization is based entirely on repeated listening, issues of instrumental apparatus (e.g. period bow), tuning, choice of score, and artistic intention (if known) are disregarded in this tabulation.96

Table 3.1. Definition of stylistic features as listed in column headings in Table 3.3.

Table 3.1. Definition of stylistic features as listed in column headings in Table 3.3.

Table 3.2. Movement by movement tendency of selected violinists’ interpretative styles listed in DOB order. “H” stands for HIP, “M” stands for MSP. The selection was based on Table 3.3, to provide further information on a few “clear-cut” recordings and most of those displaying a “mixed” approach. This Table was prepared on the basis of renewed listening some 2 years after preparing data presented in Table 3.3. Styles listed in parentheses indicate that the stylistic features are not strong and that characteristics of the other style (or some idiosyncratic style) are also present.

Table 3.2. Movement by movement tendency of selected violinists’ interpretative styles listed in DOB order. “H” stands for HIP, “M” stands for MSP. The selection was based on Table 3.3, to provide further information on a few “clear-cut” recordings and most of those displaying a “mixed” approach. This Table was prepared on the basis of renewed listening some 2 years after preparing data presented in Table 3.3. Styles listed in parentheses indicate that the stylistic features are not strong and that characteristics of the other style (or some idiosyncratic style) are also present.

Figure 3.1. Collated scores expressed as percentages of performance features according to style categories (MSP [dark red] versus HIP [light red]) in 40 recordings made between 1976 and 2010 and listed in order of performers’ date of birth.

Figure 3.1. Collated scores expressed as percentages of performance features according to style categories (MSP [dark red] versus HIP [light red]) in 40 recordings made between 1976 and 2010 and listed in order of performers’ date of birth.

Table 3.3. Summary of MSP and HIP performance features (as defined in Table 3.1) in 40 selected recordings, expressed as a score out of 10 reflecting data collapsed across all movements of the 6 Solos and listed in DOB order.

Table 3.3. Summary of MSP and HIP performance features (as defined in Table 3.1) in 40 selected recordings, expressed as a score out of 10 reflecting data collapsed across all movements of the 6 Solos and listed in DOB order.

* In 1987 Mullova only recorded the B minor partita.
† Only 3 or fewer works recorded by these violinists. For detail refer to Discography.

77The overall results listed in Table 3.3 are presented graphically in Figures 3.1. This shows the outcome of the subjective rating of performance features expressed as a percentage of the total score. This way it is easy to see the relative presence of MSP and HIP characteristics in each version and to place the recordings of the past thirty years along the continuum of ever changing performance styles. Ordering the data according to the violinist’s date of birth assists seeing the relationship between the age of the artist and stylistic trends and shows both similarities and differences across generations.

3.5. Overall Findings and Individual Cases

78Looking at the results for particular violinists (Figure 3.1), the following recordings show the greatest mixture of styles: Schröder, Kuijken (both), Schmid, Kremer 2005, Mullova 1993, Beznosiuk, Zehetmair, Tetzlaff (esp. 2005), Khachatryan, and to a lesser extent Lev, Buswell, Brooks, and Fischer. Although Table 3.3 provides the information regarding which performance features contribute most strongly to this overall result, it is worth commenting on these recordings further.

79In the case of Schröder, his phrasing, articulation and delivery of multiple stops are the clearest signs of HIP, whereas his bowing and use of tempo rubato tend to be closer to the MSP style. The table also indicates that in terms of rhythm and tone his performance is neither MSP nor HIP. Kuijken’s two recordings do not seem to differ much according to the rating in Table 3.3. Most of the scales show a fairly even distribution between the two styles, with ornamentation, the delivery of multiple stops, and a tendency to curtail the use of vibrato being the three main HIP features.

  • 97 Some reviewers registered similar criticism. See, for instance, Jed Distler, ‘Review: Bach 3 Sonata (...)

80At times aspects of Kremer’s (2005) and Schmid’s recordings, but also Lev’s and Zehetmair’s, sound like a somewhat mannered imitation of the HIP style. This impression comes about because of the exaggerated tempos, dynamics, heavy accents and a squarer, less well-integrated rhythmic flexibility and phrasing. Although Kremer’s two versions show many similarities, the ratings in Table 3.3 clearly indicate a shift towards this self-styled HIP phrasing and articulation. These ratings need to be qualified: In his second recording Kremer’s use of nominally HIP characteristics (such as the locally nuanced rhythmic flexibility) sound mannered and unintegrated. I do not perceive the many forceful accents and tempo fluctuations as natural, but almost like a parody of HIP.97 Just like Kremer, Schmid’s style is also rather “hybridized.” His interpretation offers strong pulse, detailed articulation and varied bowing. However, dynamics and tone often sound overtly expressive, especially in slower movements where extremes of soft or intense playing and vibrato are common. In Lev’s recording, it is again primarily phrasing and articulation that makes it sound HIP-like at times. The mixture of styles in Zehetmair’s recording is due to his vibrato, playing of chords, and use of tempo rubato on the one hand, and his HIP-like phrasing, articulation, bowing, rhythm and dynamics, on the other.

81Mullova still tends towards longer phrases in 1993 but her articulation and tone are rated as closer to HIP than MSP. Her bowing has also become shorter, her rhythm more inflected and she started adding embellishments. Importantly, there are no signs of tempo rubato. Instead, her playing has gained an improvisatory feel.

  • 98 Apparently he studied at the Royal Academy of Music and also with Szymon Goldberg before enrolling (...)

82Interestingly, Brian Brooks, a young period violinist who has worked with several British period orchestras, has a fairly neutral style, leaning towards the HIP because of his non-vibrato tone, locally nuanced articulation and dynamics.98 In contrast, in the playing of another period violinist and orchestra leader, Pavlo Beznosiuk, it is phrasing and dynamics that contribute the most to the MSP effect, whereas his articulation and delivery of rhythm utilize elements of both styles. However, he also plays without vibrato, his bowing tends to be inflected (given his baroque bow, this is not surprising), and he renders ornamental rhythmic gestures in a flexible manner while also adding ornaments and embellishments here and there. An approximate contemporary of Beznosiuk, James Buswell is a mainstream violinist scoring only somewhat higher on those scales than Beznosiuk. Buswell’s playing shows considerable influence of HIP, especially in terms of articulation and tone but also because of his gestural playing of ornamental rhythmic groups.

83The ratings for Tetzlaff’s two recordings show his turning away from the earlier influence of HIP in 2005. In 1994 his phrasing, articulation, bowing and tone were all closer to what is considered the period style than in the later version. Tetzlaff’s second recording offers a return to longer phrases, waving dynamics, vibrato tone, weak pulse in slow and dance movements, while the faster movements are often played too fast to keep HIP attributes obvious. The only aspect of his interpretation that may be regarded more HIP-like in 2005 is ornamentation, especially the addition of embellishments and a slightly greater sense of improvisational delivery of rhythmic groups.

84Fischer’s and Khachatryan’s interpretations have many similarities in phrasing, articulation, bowing, dynamics, tone and the use of tempo rubato. However, Khachatryan tends to play chords more lightly, often with arpeggiation, and inflects rhythmic cells more strongly, thus gaining HIP attributes. At the same time his vibrato is more conspicuous. In contrast, Fischer’s blended MSP style is reinforced by a lack of rhythmic projection and the chordal playing of multiple stops. How these attributes influence the styles of particular movements in these recordings is summarized in Table 3.2.

Trends in Particular Movements

85Although I have already mentioned some general observations regarding trends in individual movements, it may be useful to communicate further detail because these are not decipherable from the tables and figures. The performance style of the Fugues, the fast sonata finales (Presto, Allegro and Allegro Assai), the E Major Preludio as well as the D minor Allemanda and Corrente and also the E Major Gavotte tend to converge: HIP players may also play with accents and MSP players also highlight harmonic groups at times through agogic stress. This can be true of the two gigues as well (D minor, E Major). The B minor Tempo di Borea may also be primarily accented rather than inflected. The Doubles in the B minor Partita are often played very similarly, too; just lightly accented and mostly shaped through dynamics. However, HIP versions use more agogic stresses to inflect harmonically important moments.

86The dotted rhythm as well as the texture and tempo of the C Major Adagio and to a (much) lesser extent the B minor Allemanda provide for very similar readings across the recordings. The C Major Adagio tends to be played very legato, sustained and with a gradual building of dynamics and intensity (tension) which starts anew in bar 15 and again in bar 27 although this time not quite from the previous low point. The real difference among the versions seems to be found in the performance of the chords (together or lightly arpeggiated) and the linear-ornamental bars (bb.12-14; 39-47), namely, whether these gestures are delivered literally or in a more improvisatory manner. Very few violinists emphasize, or make audible, the paired slurs Bach wrote out on every dyad in thirteen similar bars. Likewise, there seems to be little differentiation between the dotted dyads and those of equal quavers slurred in pairs. The legato style as well as the multiple stops for the first notes of each pair make those notes longer and more weighted, whether dotted or not.

87In contrast, the A minor Andante, C Major Largo, and especially the E Major Loure tend to diverge: MSP players perform them more lyrically and “phrased,” often at a slower tempo and with more use of long-range dynamics. The two Sarabandes show this trend as well, with HIP and HIP-inspired violinists delivering lighter, freer, more forward-moving music than the slower, more measured, intense, and sustained style of MSP players. Other dance movements (esp. the E Major Menuet I and II) may also show clear differences, as HIP violinists tend to play around with the rhythm and pulse much more.

  • 99 Period violinists tend to choose lower positions which requires more string crossing than when a vi (...)

88The style of the opening slow movements (G minor Adagio, A minor Grave) seems to depend on bowing (sustained, weighted or inflected, lifted), dynamics, and tone (combination of bow pressure and vibrato, choice of fingering impacting on timbre).99 These features become crucial in creating differences because the basic interpretative approach is similar: most of the younger violinists play these movements with a degree of “improvisatory” freedom rather than literally as was the MSP custom until the 1990s. Nevertheless, and even though the somewhat fragmented nature of the musical material may also foster a freer interpretation, the versions by MSP players tend to have longer lines and phrases created through dynamics and sustained or longer bow strokes. These become particularly noticeable when bowing is weightier and the timbre more intense and uniform. In contrast, HIP players allow more decay between the first and last notes of the bar or half-bar-long gestures. They also seem to limit dynamic variation to the length of such gestures through bowing inflection; they do not link these gestures into longer phrases by progressively building dynamics or intensity but use lifted bow strokes, creating uneven timbre and dynamics.

89In the following chapters I will discuss further the reasons for these ratings and evaluate the lessons that can be gained from inspecting the scores in Table 3.3 or the graph in Figure 3.1. Ultimately they provide evidence for the complex interactions of performance features demonstrating stylistic and interpretative diversity. They support my theory that music performance is a dynamical system that needs to be analysed in a complex, non-linear way. There is only one more point I need to highlight here as an important finding of this overview.

The Importance of Ornamentation

  • 100 Fabian, Bach Performance Practice.

90In my earlier work on Bach performance practice in the twentieth century I argued that ornamentation, together with the use of period instruments, was a less important matter in establishing the style of a performance than rhythmic projection and articulation.100 I came to this conclusion in relation to performances from the 1950s to the 1970s and to that extent I still stand by my opinion. However, in the examination of the current body of recordings, ornamentation turned out to be one of the most rewarding aspects of study. Not just in terms of providing thrill and pleasure while listening but also because it emerged as an important indicator of how far the HIP movement has developed. In effect I am now inclined to claim that ornamentation is perhaps the most obvious signifier of advanced HIP style.

91I have already discussed why the choice of apparatus and specialising in baroque repertoire may not be adequate criteria for categorizing violinists into stylistic camps. This was true for most recordings of Bach’s music up to the 1980s as well. In performances from the 1950s to the 1980s articulation (phrasing) and approach to rhythm and pulse proved most useful in distinguishing between styles. The current analyses indicate that by now these and several other aspects of the two basic interpretative approaches may converge (e.g. the use of accents and metrical stresses; dynamics and bowing; tempo and rhythmic rubato), making it difficult to distinguish between the HIP and MSP styles (cf. Tables 3.2, 3.3 and Figure 3.1).

  • 101 What the historical treatises say and whether Bach’s music differs from that of his contemporaries (...)

92In this situation ornamentation becomes crucial in establishing a possible dividing line. To be precise, it is the level and kind of ornamentation, the way it is delivered, that makes the difference. Actually it is not even accurate to call it simply ornamentation because this word is supposed to refer to grace notes: trills, appoggiaturas and various other types of short figures eighteenth-century sources indicated (or not) by signs. Although it is pleasing and certainly in line with historical practice to add such decorations at cadence points, on accented notes and at other appropriate moments, their occasional use does not make a huge difference to the overall effect of a performance. In contrast, when smaller note values are played with quasi improvisatory freedom; when such smaller notes are added as embellishments to smooth out or decorate melodic lines; to fill or emphasize larger leaps and dissonances; to add energy or weight to structurally important notes; or to vary oft repeated melodic turns, then the music gains stylistic affiliation and character because it sounds freer, more gestural, affect-centred, impulsive, possibly improvised—all desirable characteristics as theorized in eighteenth-century treatises. The richer such details are and the more spontaneous-sounding their delivery, the more they appear to match eighteenth-century performance aesthetics as we understand them today.101

  • 102 Obviously this book lists only violinists who issued recordings of the Bach Solos. Therefore it may (...)

93It is clear from the scores in Table 3.3 that there is still a long way to go to resurrect the baroque practice of embellishing during performance and to make it common in our contemporary practice. The whitest section (i.e. lowest scores) in Table 3.3 are the three columns relating to ornamentations. Apart from Luca only fellow HIP specialists, Huggett and Podger go some way in this regard and only in a few select movements during the twentieth century (for a list of embellished movements and the violinists involved, see Table 4.5).102 What is even more significant is the finding that since the mid-2000s, non-specialist violinists are leading the way (e.g. Barton Pine, Gringolts, Tognetti, Tetzlaff), with Isabelle Faust’s and Viktoria Mullova’s very recent recordings taking the palm.

3.6. Conclusion

  • 103 Working with small labels often means the musicians having to invest their own money in the recordi (...)

94Although the recordings differ in myriads of details (to be discussed specifically in the next chapter), two overarching trends can be established already at this point: the influence of HIP on MSP performance practices (and not vice versa), and a gradual shift towards a more flexible way of playing. As we progress from the 1980s to the end of the new millennium’s first decade the pluralism of the era leaves its indelible mark on recordings of Bach’s Solos as well. In the context of a saturated and shrinking classical music market and the healthy cross-fertilization of musical styles readily available to all who are interested, young players are looking for individual distinguishing features, their own voice, rather than some authoritative tradition that is not only stultifying but has ceased to offer opportunities for “sticking out of the crowd.” Furthermore, with the decline of the large classical record labels the industry is undergoing major change. The mushrooming small or specialist labels many young performers use might actually foster a different mentality, one that embraces and encourages experimentation, individuality and risk taking.103

  • 104 Ornoy, ‘In Search of Ideologies and Ruling Conventions.’
  • 105 Ibid., p. 17.

95This preliminary discussion shows similar results to Ornoy’s study conducted between 1996 and 2000.104 Through his survey of over two-hundred HIP musicians from across Europe and the Americas he found that most time is spent on fine-tuning technical-idiomatic factors rather than related concepts, including formal analysis. This perhaps explains the similarities across the recordings. Differences on the other hand could stem from the diverse attitude to reading historical sources and learning about / practising ornamentation. More pertinently for my purposes here, Ornoy also found that older, more senior participants showed more “positivistic” traits (e.g. being “pedantic” about instrument choice, researching repertoire, scores / manuscripts etc.). They were more inclined to “claim the transmission of ‘objective’ messages than those who view[ed] their role as enabling the transmission of individual messages.”105

96The fact that the influence of a more flexible HIP is observed at the turn of the twenty-first century rather than the opposite flow from “modernist” MSP adds an important layer to the debate regarding the similarities and differences between HIP and MSP. Even if HIP is a twentieth-century aesthetic invention it is the newer, the alternative to the “modern,” and as such it “wins out” because ultimately it reflects better our accumulated hunger for “vitalist” music making.

97The investigation also shows the passing of time and arrival of newer generations and trends: HIP and MSP versions of late are more interventionist and idiosyncratic than before. This gives rise to differences within the respective groups of performing styles as well as across styles. The expressive vocabulary is enlarged; extreme dynamics, extra strong accents and inflections, copious ornamentation and other flexibilities are part and parcel of most recordings since the mid-1990s (Huggett, Podger) but especially since 2005 and in HIP-inspired MSP versions (Gringolts, Tognetti, Tetzlaff, Barton Pine, Faust, Mullova), as the parenthetical list of names indicates. The importance of pulse and metric hierarchy has been recognized just as much as the significance of harmony and harmonic goals. The variation in interpretation now tends to stem from how these elements are treated and used to shape the various movements on the small as well as large-scale. And since both the harmony and meter tend to be localized in baroque music (i.e. they affect the bar, half-bar or pairs of bars rather than eight or sixteen-bar periods as in later music), the differences in interpretation are also localized and subtle, observable in the degree of nuance and detail (cf. examples from G minor Fuga, for instance, or differences between Huggett’s and Gringolts’ E Major Menuet II discussed in subsequent chapters).

  • 106 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (London: Bloom (...)

98These results resonate with the point Deleuze and Guattari make when discussing “refrain” and what they call the “deterritorialising impulse”: The moment a territory [in our context a “style of performance”] is established it is already in the process of changing and transforming itself.106 As soon as HIP became established and formulised by the 1990s it has started to deterritorialise, to move away from order and rules. This process of transformation is clearly audible in the recordings studied here and even more strongly in evidence in performances since the mid-2000s. Instead of molar lines (whether MSP or HIP) we find increasing signs or examples of “rhyzomic molecular lines” and “lines of flight.” These break up the mould of the “One,” the accepted and expected standards of performance characteristics when playing Bach’s Violin Solos. Their “minoritarian tendencies” have a “deterritorialising” effect creating the current mix of styles that is infused with personal subjectivities and inconsistencies. Therefore the changes observed are not a pendulum swing! Rather, they occupy the “space in-between” and are the engines of the process of change. They are witnesses of becoming, of transformation. Through them we encounter new ways of thinking-hearing and doing.

  • 107 Bernard Sherman lists twenty-six complete set recordings of the Bach Solos just from the period bet (...)
  • 108 Taruskin, Text and Act; Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, ‘What We Are Doing with Early Music is Genuinely Au (...)
  • 109 Butt, ‘Bach Recordings since 1980,’ p. 191.
  • 110 Mullova writes in her liner notes to her 2009 album (Onyx 4040, recorded 2007-2008): “The injection (...)

99Perhaps it is just a skewed effect of available recordings, but in the current sample non-specialist violinists seem to be more daring in their freedom of interpretation than period instrument players.107 If one compares Brooks’ recording with Gringolts’s, for example, one is tempted to agree with the results in Ornoy’s above mentioned study that HIP ideology has remained somewhat rigid and normative in spite of the more relaxed narrative that has developed in the wake of criticism by Richard Taruskin and others.108 The fact that ornamentation and embellishment are much more abundantly found in recordings of non-specialists (Gringolts, Tognetti, Mullova, Faust) is another indicator. These players seem to choose to play how they like—to the extent of changing to a baroque bow and freely nit-picking effects and HIP conventions of their liking. Is it possible that many baroque specialists are still weighed down by rules and musicological prescriptions? That they all believe Bach wrote out the ornaments he wanted so nothing more should be added even when all repeats are performed, often without any change? The point that “As soon as it becomes acceptable to dislike what Bach might have done it is easier to allow [choices]”109 may be a greater liberating force among MSP violinists inspiring them to cross over and embrace what they like about HIP without feeling the need to become experts and dogmatic about it. Their playing certainly sounds as if they “owed” the music, rather than simply transmitting it with due reverence for composer, work and style. Although most of them collaborated with and learnt from period specialists,110 they are essentially MSP soloists. Yet it is often in their playing that the HIP style has gained depth through liberation from dogmatic views so typical until at least the 1990s.

Notes

1 For instance, David Milsom, Theory and Practice in Late Nineteenth-Century Violin Performance: An Examination of Style in Performance, 1850-1900 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003); Eitan Ornoy, ‘Recording Analysis of J. S. Bach’s G minor Adagio for Solo Violin (Excerpt): A Case Study,’ JMM: Journal of Music and Meaning, 6 (Spring 2008); Walter Kolneder, Amadeus Book of the Violin, trans. by Reinhard G. Pauly (Pompton Plains, NJ: Amadeus Press, 1998); Dorottya Fabian and Eitan Ornoy, ‘Identity in Violin Playing on Records: Interpretation Profiles in Recordings of Solo Bach by Early Twentieth-Century Violinists,’ Performance Practice Review, 14 (2009), 1-40.

2 Ornoy, ‘Recording Analysis,’ Table 2, section 2.1.3.

3 Kevin Bazzana, Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2003), pp. 210-211.

4 Persinger (1887-1966) was trained in Leipzig but also studied with Ysaÿe and Thibaud. He eventually succeeded Auer (in 1930) as professor of violin at Juilliard. Apart from Menuhin and Ricci he also taught Isaac Stern and, more importantly for this study, Almita Vamos, Rachel Barton Pine’s teacher.

5 Amsterdam Conservatory from 1963; Basel Schola Cantorum from 1973; and also as guest at Yale University and the Helsinki Sibelius Academy, for instance.

6 Jaap Schröder, Bach’s Solo Violin Works: A Performer’s Guide (London: Yale University Press, 2007); idem, ‘Jaap Schröder Discusses Bach’s works for Unaccompanied Violin,’ Journal of the Violin Society of America, 3/3 (Summer 1977), 7-32.

7 ‘Ilya Gringolts: The Man, the Myth, the Musician on the Move,’ Interview by Inge Kjemptrup, posted in February 2011, available at http://www.allthingsstrings.com/layout/set/print/News/Interviews-Profiles/Ilya-Gringolts-The-Man-the-Myth-the-Musician-on-the-Move [last accessed October 2015].

8 Available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY-rbsei_rY. Apparently they played the entire set at the Verbier Festival in 2010. I thank Daniel Bangert for both these references.

9 Rob Cowan, ‘Bach: Violin Sonatas and Partitas, BWV1001-BWV1006, Julia Fischer vn, Pentatone PTC 5186072 (150 minutes DDD),’ Gramophone, 89/993 (June 2005), 72.

10 Ibid. I am not sure what “period-style asceticism” might be but if it refers to literalism then the recordings should be labelled classical-modernist. It is not at all in what is regarded HIP style and such slippage can contribute to considerable misrepresentation.

11 Duncan Druce, ‘Sergey Khachatryan—An Engaging and Persuasively Virtuosic Debut from a Young Violinist to note EMI Debut 575684-2 (71 minutes DDD),’ Gramophone, 80/962 (January 2003), 56.

12 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin (3 vols), Malcolm Bilson, Sergiu Luca. Nonesuch Digital 9 79112 (New York: Electra/Asylum/Nonesuch, 1985). Luca’s untimely death in December 2010 cut short his plan to record the Beethoven sonatas, which I for one was awaiting with great expectations and curiosity.

13 Lindsay Kemp, ‘Going Solo—Monica Huggett on Playing Solo Bach,’ Gramophone, 75/897 (January 1998), 16; Naomi Sadler, ‘Unpredictable Passions—Monica Huggett [Profile],’ The Strad, 110/1310 (June 1999), 595. Shulamit Kleinerman, ‘A Mix of Images: Women in Baroque Music,’ Early Music America, 10/4 (Winter 2004), 28-34 (pp. 31-32); Laurence Vittes, ‘From Rock to Bach—Monica Huggett,’ Strings, 21/6 (January 2007), 53-57.

14 Kemp, ‘Going Solo,’ p. 16.

15 Vittes, ‘From Rock to Bach,’ p. 54.

16 Sadler, ‘Unpredictable Passions,’ p. 595.

17 Ibid.

18 Kemp, ‘Going Solo,’ p. 16.

19 Ibid.

20 The details of all these recordings are provided in the Discography.

21 Duncan Druce, ‘Reviews: Bach 3 Sonatas and 3 Partitas BWV1001-BWV1006, Richard Tognetti vn, ABC Classics CD ABC 4768051 (145 minutes: DDD),’ Gramophone, 84/1010 (October 2006), 80.

22 Los Angeles Times, 9 December 2007. Available at http://www.larastjohn.com/ancalagon#

23 Michael Quinn, ‘Bach to the Future’ [Hilary Hahn Interview], Gramophone, 81/973 (Awards/Special Issue 2003), 30-31.

24 Bach—Violin and Voice, CD. Hilary Hahn (violin), Mattias Goerne and Christine Schäfer (voice), Munich Chamber Orchestra, Alexander Liebreich (conductor), Deutsche Grammophon 477 8092.

25 Nevertheless one critic considered the latter his “favourite complete set of these works on either period or modern instruments” and praised Matthews’ version as a “superb recording” and “top recommendation” (Joseph Magil, ‘Bach: Solo Violin Sonatas and Partitas’ [Ingrid Matthews], American Record Guide, 63/4 (Jul/Aug 2000), 83-84.

26 Apart from Auer’s studio in St Petersburg, Piotr Stoliarsky’s classes in Odessa (of which Milstein was a “graduate”) also contributed significantly to the notion of a Russian School, especially since his star pupil, David Oistrakh, remained in the Soviet Union and continued the tradition locally, developing it into a national “industry” while nurturing many competition-winning virtuosos.

27 Auer’s memoir cited in Boris Schwarz, Great Masters of the Violin: From Corelli and Vivaldi to Stern, Zukerman and Perlman (New York: A Touchstone Book, 1983), p. 414.

28 Auer did perform publicly throughout his life, including concerts at Carnegie Hall in his 70s, but his fame rested on his reputation as a pedagogue.

29 Nathan Milstein and Solomon Volkov, From Russia to the West: The Musical Memoirs and Reminiscences of Nathan Milstein (New York: Limelight Editions, 1990), p. 22. This opinion contrasts that of Carl Flesch, who believed “that for Auer violin playing came first, while musical considerations were of subordinate significance. Technique and tone were his main concerns; rhythm, agogics and dynamics took second place. The typical Auer pupil values sensuous sonority and an attractive smoothness of tone much more highly than the differences between strong and weak beats and the shaping of musical ideas as such.” Carl Flesch, The Memoirs of Carl Flesch, trans. by Hans Keller (Bois de Boulogne: Centenary Edition, 1973), p. 254.

30 Milstein, From Russia to the West, p. 23. Milstein’s impression may be correct, but Auer does discuss the Bach Solos (especially the Ciaccona) in his book on violin repertoire. See Leopold Auer, Violin Master Works and their Interpretation (New York: Carl Fischer, 2012), pp. 21-29.

31 Schwarz, Great Masters, p. 419.

32 See, for instance, Robin Stowell, ‘Technique and Performing Practice,’ in The Cambridge Companion to the Violin, ed. by Robin Stowell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 122-142 (p. 134).

33 Kjell-Ake Harmen, ‘French Master’ [Profile: Jaap Schröder], The Strad, 113/1349 (September 2002), 954-957 (p. 954).

34 Schwarz, Great Masters, p. 336.

35 Carl Flesch, The Art of Violin Playing: I. Technique in General, trans. by Frederick H. Martens (New York: Carl Fischer, 2000), p. 51.

36 Ivan Galamian, Principles of Violin Playing and Teaching, 3rd edn, with postscript by Elizabeth A. H. Green (Englewood-Cliff: Prentice Hall, 1985 [1962]), pp. 45-53.

37 [Itzhak Perlman], ‘Itzhak on Bow Grip,’ available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r0KN6VM

38 [Aaron Rosand], ‘Aaron Rosand on How to Produce a Beautiful Tone,’ available at http://www.thestrad.com/latest/blogs/aaron-rosand-on-how-to-produce-a-beautiful-tone. I am indebted to Daniel Bangert for this and the previous references. He also cautioned about attributing too much to a potential preference for the Russian bow hold during the second half of the twentieth century.

39 According to Eales, Paul Rolland’s original thesis, Basic Principles of Violin Playing (American String Teacher’s Association, 1959), provides “superlative descriptions” regarding the “physical factors of tone-quality” including “proximity to fingerboard, bow speed, bow hair, bow distribution, vibrato, bow weight and finger articulation, as well as instruments and accessories.” Adrian Eales, ‘The Fundamentals of Violin Playing and Teaching,’ in The Cambridge Companion to the Violin, ed. by Robin Stowell (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 92-121 (p. 104).

40 Allan Kozinn, ‘Jascha Brodsky, 90, Violinist at Curtis Institute’ [Obituary], The New York Times [Arts], 6 March 1997. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/1997/03/06/arts/jascha-brodsky-90-violinist-at-curtis-institute.html

41 Cited in Barbara Lourie Sand, Teaching Genius: Dorothy DeLay and the Making of a Musician (New Jersey: Amadeus, 2000), p. 58.

42 A 1995 interview cited in Sand, Teaching Genius, p. 188.

43 Sand, Teaching Genius, p. 50. Both of these principles had lasting impact on overall performing styles contributing to a kind of homogeneity in interpretations that stems first and foremost from the aim to project a big, even sound (see also Mullova’s and Gringolts’ comments cited later in this chapter).

44 Ibid., pp. 50-51, 53.

45 Ibid., pp. 58, 113-114.

46 Ibid., p. 43, emphasis added.

47 Galamian in Samuel Applebaum, The Way They Play: Illustrated Discussions with Famous Artists and Teachers, Book 1 (Neptune, NJ: Paganini Publications, 1983), p. 340.

48 Stern is cited in Sand, Teaching Genius, p. 55. Apart from Sand’s book such information transpires from articles in The Strad and also Time Magazine (‘Violinists: Cry Now, Play Later’ (06 December, 1968), available at http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,844647,00.html; and in Schwarz, Great Masters. Galamian’s teaching is also discussed by Pauline Scott, former teacher at the Guildhall, on The Strad blog site, posted on 26 February 2013, available at http://www.thestrad.com/cpt-latests/pauline-scott-recalls-ivan-galamians-inspirational-teaching/

49 Sand, Teaching Genius, p. 53.

50 Ibid., pp. 57-58, 44.

51 Ibid., p. 52.

52 Ibid., p. 42.

53 Some of its history is recaptured in Dorottya Fabian, Bach Performance Practice, 1945-1975: A Comprehensive Review of Sound Recordings and Literature (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), pp. 30-31. See also Hans Oesch, Die Musikacademie der Stadt Basel (Basel: Schwabe, 1967).

54 Babitz published several Early Music Bulletins during the 1960s and 1970s and a few peer-reviewed articles which created controversy but in retrospect seem quite insightful. See Fabian, Bach Performance Practice, p. 49.

55 Monika Mertl, Vom Denken des Herzes. Alice and Nikolaus Harnoncourt—Eine Biographie (Salzburg and Vienna: Residenz Verlag, 1999).

56 Gerhard Persché, ‘Authentizität ist nicht Akademismus—ein Gespräch mit Chrtistopher Hogwood,’ Opernwelt, 25/2 (1984), 58-61.

57 By metric-harmonic articulation I mean a delivery that is governed by the bass line and the pulse of a movement and highlights metric-harmonic units rather than longer melodic phrases as is customary in many nineteenth-century and later compositions.

58 John Butt, Playing with History: The Historical Approach to Musical Performance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) and also John Butt, ‘Bach Recordings since 1980: A Mirror of Historical Performance,’ in Bach Perspectives 4, ed. by David Schulenberg (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1999), pp. 181-198. Increased flexibility and pluralism is also observed in recent performances of Bach’s Suites for Cello. See Alistair Sung and Dorottya Fabian, ‘Variety in Performance: A Comparative Analysis of Recorded Performances of Bach’s Sixth Suite for Solo Cello from 1961 to 1998,’ Empirical Musicology Review, 6 (1), 20-42.

59 Observed also by Daniel Leech-Wilkinson in ‘Recordings and Histories of Performance Style,’ in The Cambridge Companion to Recorded Music, ed. by Nicholas Cook et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 246-262. See also Eitan Ornoy, ‘In Search of Ideologies and Ruling Conventions among Early Music Performers,’ Min-Ad: Israel Studies in Musicology Online, 6 (2007-2008), 1-19.

60 This view is put forth most pointedly in Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, The Changing Sound of Music: Approaches to Studying Recorded Musical Performance (London: CHARM, 2009) and in Leech-Wilkinson, ‘Recordings and Histories of Performance Style.’

61 Reinhard Kopiez, Andreas C. Lehmann, and Janina Klassen, ‘Clara Schumann’s Collection of Playbills: A Historiometric Analysis of Life-span Development, Mobility, and Repertoire Canonization,’ Poetics, 37 (2009), 50-73.

62 As discussed in chapter two, Richard Taruskin was among the first to formulate an explanation for this modernist turn that favours the notated score rather than the performer’s creative instincts. (Richard Taruskin, Text and Act: Essays on Music and Performance [New York: Oxford University Press, 1995], pp. 90-154). See also Eitan Ornoy, ‘In Search of Ideologies.’

63 However, even at Juilliard HIP is now present. An advertisement in the October 2010 issue of The Strad promotes a graduate program for Period Instrument Performance with “full tuition guaranteed.” The names on the faculty include Monica Huggett, Cynthia Roberts (violin), Phoebe Carrai (cello), Robert Nairn (double bass), Robert Mealy (chamber coaching) and annual residency with Jordi Savall and William Christie.

64 Adam Sweeting, ‘Hilary Hahn [Cover Story],’ Gramophone, 78/927 (May 2000), 8-13. Importantly, there are also signs that improvisation may again be an important part of the curriculum of high-end classical performance training. The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London has started offering courses and masterclasses led by David Dolan with contributions from Robert Levin, among others. See also fn. 50 in chapter four.

65 Quinn, ‘Bach to the Future.’

66 Martin Cullingford, ‘The Experts’ Expert—Violinists,’ Gramophone, 82/986 (November 2004), 46.

67 Harriet Smith, ‘Interview: Julia Fischer,’ Gramophone, 83/993 (June 2005), 19.

68 Anonymous, ‘One to Watch: Sergey Khachatryan, Violinist’ [For the Record], Gramophone, 80/962 (January 2003), 11.

69 Viktoria Mullova, ‘Liner Notes; Bach: 6 Solo Sonatas and Partitas,’ CD recording on a 1750 G. M. Guadagnini violin with gut strings; baroque bow by W. Barbiero (Onyx 4040, 2009).

70 Mullova, ‘Liner Notes,’ n.p.

71 Viktoria Mullova, and Eva Maria Chapman, From Russia to Love: The Life and Times of Viktoria Mullova as told to Eva Maria Chapman (London: Robson Press, 2012), p. 248.

72 According to information in another of Mullova’s compact disks, she has been “nurturing” a period approach to baroque repertoire since 2000 while performing and touring throughout the world with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Il Giardino Armonico (Viktoria Mullova: Vivaldi [with Il Giardino Armonico], Onyx 4001, p. 14). However, her recordings of the 3 Partitas in 1992-1993 already show a strong transformation of style as will be discussed later. In the case of Hahn and Fischer their subsequent Bach recordings do not show such signs of transformation (see their respective disks of the concertos or Hahn’s 2009 “Violin and Voice” [DG 477 8092]); Ehnes’ recording of the accompanied sonatas, issued in 2005 shows more change of style (Analekta AN 2 9829 and AN 2 9830), whereas Khachatryan’s Solo Bach was released in 2010, just at the end of the period under consideration. See also footnote 88.

73 ‘Ilya Gringolts in Conversation with Jeremy Nicholas,’ Liner Notes to Gringolts’ recording of two partitas and one sonata for solo violin (Deutsche Grammophon 474 235-2, 2002), p. 5.

74 Jed Distler, ‘Review: Bach 3 Sonatas and 3 Partitas, BWV1001-BWV1006, Gidon Kremer vn, ECM New Series 4767291 (131 minutes: DDD),’ Gramophone, 83/1001 (January 2006), p. 63.

75 The term “authentistic” was coined by Richard Taruskin to describe the “modernist” approach to HIP. See his Text and Act (esp. p. 99ff). My description of Schröder’s and Kuijken’s style on these recordings is less valid for Kuijken’s first version than his second, and is particularly true of Schröder’s recording of certain movements. See Table 3.2. Official reviews tend to be formulated in too general terms to really back up my claim here but I will provide justification in chapters four and five. Published criticism tends to be levelled at technical proficiency and intonation (e.g. Heather Kurzbauer’s ‘Reviews CDS: Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin BWV1001-BWV1006, Sigiswald Kuijken (violin) Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 775 272,’ The Strad, 113/1341 (January 2002), 81). But in a review captioned “Kuijken’s wonderful simplicity of playing allows these works to speak for themselves,” Duncan Druce expresses similar views to mine. He finds Kuijken’s two interpretations “very similar” but claims that the “more deliberate speed” of the second version “brings a feeling of laboriousness.” He continues by saying, “Kuijken’s great virtues as a Bach player are his firm grasp of the music’s character, particularly its rhythmic character, and his often intense feeling for the overall shape of each piece. Compared to many baroque players, his performances seem very straightforward. […] the Correnta [sic] of the First Partita gives a good example of their contrasted styles—Podger, with vividly varied bowings and lots of little hesitations to mark the phrase breaks […] Kuijken much simpler, yet alive to everything in the music that promotes its spirited, dancing character.” See ‘Reviews: Bach 3 Sonatas and 3 Partitas, BWV1001-BWV1006, Sigiswald Kuijken vn, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 775 27-2 (135 minutes: DDD),’ Gramophone, 79/947 (2001), p. 93. In my defence, and to clarify my evaluation, I note that perceptual dispositions must be kept in mind. When I listen to Schröder and Kuijken’s recordings together with other HIP versions I find them “conservative,” but compared to Shumsky or Perlman, for instance, both Schröder and Kuijken are perceived as quite obviously HIP. In chapter five I will consider in detail the differences between Kuijken’s 1981 and 2001 recordings that will further tease out my reasoning.

76 Harmen, ‘French Master,’ p. 955.

77 Jaap Schröder, ‘Jaap Schröder Discusses Bach’s Works for Unaccompanied Violin,’ Journal of the Violin Society of America, 3/3 (Summer 1977), 7-32; Jaap Schröder, Bach’s Solo Violin Works: A Performer’s Guide (London: Yale University Press, 2007).

78 Sol Babitz, Early Music Laboratory Bulletin, 12 (1975-1977), n.p. These yearly Bulletins were written and published by Babitz from his home in Los Angeles and circulated to subscribers; see Fabian, Bach Performance Practice, pp. 48-49.

79 Alternatively, this “turning back” could also indicate the loosening of dogma because such a reverse trend can also be observed in Tetzlaff’s two recordings. In spite of added embellishments in certain movements, Tetzlaff’s 2005 version sounds much more MSP than the 1994 one, primarily because of slower slow movements, longer phrases, weaker pulse, more vibrato tone, and dynamic climaxes (see Table 3.2 for a difference in the proportion of movements sounding HIP or MSP in the two versions).

80 It remains under the radar in spite of its exceptional qualities. For instance it is not mentioned at all in Elste’s otherwise exhaustive study of Bach performing practice since 1750. See Martin Elste, Meilensteine der Bach-Interpretation 1750-2000: Eine Werkgeschichte im Wandel (Stuttgart: Metzler; Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2000). The 1990 Penguin Guide does not mention Luca’s recording either (Ivan March, Edward Greenfield, Robert Layton, The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs (London: Penguin, 1990)). Boris Schwarz, on the other hand, includes Luca in his magisterial book Great Masters, pp. 608-609, praising him for “branching out into a field of specialization ignored by most virtuosos” and for his “[remarkable] ability to switch from one piece of equipment to the other.”

81 Stoddard Lincoln, ‘Bach in Authentic Performance: The Technically Impossible Becomes Merely Difficult (Recording),’ Stereo Review, 40/4 (April 1978), 86-87.

82 Many reviews in The Strad or Gramophone and other magazines could be listed. Perhaps Stowell’s review of Tetzlaff’s first recording could be cited as typical (Robin Stowell, ‘Review: CDs—J. S. Bach: Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin BWV1001-BWV1006, Christian Tetzlaff,’ Strad, 106/1261 (May 1995), 541-542) or Druce, who stated “Kuijken’s 1981 recording convinced us that this music needs a period instrument” (Duncan Druce, ‘Review of Bach 3 Sonatas and 3 Partitas, BWV1001-BWV1006, Sigiswald Kuijken,’ Gramophone, 79/947 (October 2001), 93. One reason for this oversight could be record label distribution, although Deutsche Harmonia Mundi (Kuijken 1981) does not impress as obviously more prominent on the market than Nonesuch (Luca 1977). Daniel Leech-Wilkinson confirmed in a personal communication that Luca’s recording was readily available in London at the time of its release (in LP format).

83 Sergiu Luca, ‘Going for Baroque,’ Music Journal, 32/8 (1974), 16-34.

84 Nick Shave, ‘Star of the North [Zehetmair],’ The Strad, 116/1377 (January 2005), 18-22.

85 Lawrence A. Johnson, ‘An Interview with Rachel Barton,’ Fanfare, 21/1 (September-October 1997), 81-84; Robin Stowell, The Early Violin and Viola (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p. 6.

86 Rachel Barton Pine, On-line biography, available at: http://industry.rachelbartonpine.com/bio_medium.php

87 Edward Greenfield, ‘Itzhak Perlman talks to Edward Greenfield,’ Gramophone, 66/787 (1988), 967; Andrew Farach-Colton, ‘Perlman,’ The Strad, 116/1387 (November 2005), 44-51. Pinchas Zukerman, a violinist not studied here because he did not record the Bach Solos as far as I know, has been perhaps the most outspoken. I heard him talk about this on ABC Classic FM in November 2013. Unfortunately the interview is no longer available online.

88 As noted above, Hahn’s recent collaboration with Mattias Goerne and Christine Schäfer on Deutsche Grammophon’s Bach Violin and Voice disk shows no real change in her style of playing (DG 4778092, 2010). Ehnes, on the other hand, plays in a much lighter and more articulated manner on his set of Bach’s Sonatas for violin and harpsichord, recorded in 2004-2005 (Analekta, AN 2 2016-7). It is very likely that his chamber partners, Luc Beauséjour (harpsichord) and Benoit Loiselle (cello), influenced his approach. The CD booklet does not mention anything in this regard and I was unable to locate any references to Ehnes’s thoughts on performing baroque pieces.

89 Lorence Vittes, ‘Profile: Violinist Isabelle Faust,’ Strings, 168 (April 2009), available at http://www.stringsmagazine.com/article/default.aspx?articleid=23900 [last accessed October 2015].

90 The spectrum of approaches and allegiances has also been explored by Ornoy through a large-scale questionnaire study. See Eitan Ornoy, ‘Between Theory and Practice: Comparative Study of Early Music Performances,’ Early Music, 34 (2006), 233-247.

91 Most recently by Bruce Haynes, The End of Early Music: A Period Performer’s History of Music for the Twenty-First Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007) but see also Colin Lawson and Robin Stowell, Historical Performance Practice: An Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 1999) and Fabian, Bach Performance Practice, among others.

92 John Butt, Bach Interpretation: Articulation Marks in Primary Sources (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 38, citing in German Leopold Mozart, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule (Augsburg, 1756), pp. 254-255 and providing the above English translation. For the original German text see also p. 259 in the 3rd edition of the same book: Leopold Mozart, Gründliche Violinschule. Fascimile-Nachdruck der 3. Auflage, Augsburg, 1789 (Leipzig: VEB Deutscher Verlag für Musik, 1968).

93 Lawson and Stowell, Historical Performance Practice, pp. 55-56. See also Johann Joachim Quantz, Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (1752), trans. by Edward Reilly, On Playing the Flute, 2nd edn (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1985 [1975]).

94 Violinists whose performance represents “clearly” or “obviously” MSP or HIP are not included in Table 3.2, only those whose playing shows both styles to a noteworthy degree.

95 I am indebted to Adrian Yeo in devising Table 3.3, which takes his original idea further and adapts it to my purposes. I am also grateful to Daniel Bangert for additional ideas for improvement and to Dario Sarlo for the recommendation to use gradients. See Adrian Yeo, ‘A Study of Performance Practices in recordings of Bach’s Violin Sonata BWV1003 from 1930-2000’ (BMus (Honours) Thesis, Edith Cowan University, 2010).

96 Ornoy (‘In Search of Ideologies’) lists these and some additional parameters as essential issues to consider when scaling violinists along the MSP to HIP spectrum. I have noted publicly available information regarding apparatus and general intentions earlier and in the Discography. These tables and figures are indicative of the aurally perceivable outcomes along established performance characteristics typically claimed to define HIP versus MSP.

97 Some reviewers registered similar criticism. See, for instance, Jed Distler, ‘Review: Bach 3 Sonatas and 3 Partitas, BWV1001-BWV1006, Gidon Kremer vn, ECM New Series 4767291 (131 minutes: DDD),’ Gramophone, 83/1001 (January 2006), 63.

98 Apparently he studied at the Royal Academy of Music and also with Szymon Goldberg before enrolling in the doctoral programme at Cornell University. In his native England he performed with leading period ensembles such as the English Baroque Soloists, the London Classical Players, and the English Concert. Available at http://www.sarasamusic.org/aboutus/musician-bios/BrianBrooks.shtml

99 Period violinists tend to choose lower positions which requires more string crossing than when a violinist opts for shifting and thus remaining on the same string for a unified tone of a given melody.

100 Fabian, Bach Performance Practice.

101 What the historical treatises say and whether Bach’s music differs from that of his contemporaries in this regard will be discussed in the Ornamentation section of chapter four.

102 Obviously this book lists only violinists who issued recordings of the Bach Solos. Therefore it may be that many more names could be added if recent recordings of the entire baroque violin repertoire were considered. However, my casual listening to cello suite recordings does not indicate this; there are hardly any where added graces can be heard and basically none with added embellishments (e.g. Angela East on Red Priest Recording RP006 from 2009 [Rec 2001-2004]) and David Watkin on Resonus RES10147 from 2015 [Rec.: 2013]).

103 Working with small labels often means the musicians having to invest their own money in the recording and running financial risks. However, they have more say in what they want to record and with whom. If the label secures good distribution it can be a win-win situation, as Viktoria Mullova explains in relation to her work with the Onyx label, “I own all the rights and get much more in return” (Mullova and Chapman, From Russia to Love, p. 237).

104 Ornoy, ‘In Search of Ideologies and Ruling Conventions.’

105 Ibid., p. 17.

106 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 311-350.

107 Bernard Sherman lists twenty-six complete set recordings of the Bach Solos just from the period between 2000 and 2010. Out of these there are eleven (two HIP and nine MSP) that I have not heard. See http://bsherman.net/BachViolinGlutofthe2000s.htm. Other recordings might have been re-issued but not made during this period (e.g. Paul Zukovsky’s 1971-1972 Vanguard [VSD 71194/6] recording remixed and remastered for release by Musical Observations in 2005).

108 Taruskin, Text and Act; Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, ‘What We Are Doing with Early Music is Genuinely Authentic to Such Small Degree that the Word Loses Most of its Intended Meaning,’ Early Music, 22/1 (1984), 13-25; Authenticity and Early Music, ed. by Nicholas Kenyon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988). One of the first to note a relaxation of rhetoric was Michelle Dulak, ‘The Quiet Metamorphosis of “Early Music”,’ Repercussions, 2/2 (1993), 31-61.

109 Butt, ‘Bach Recordings since 1980,’ p. 191.

110 Mullova writes in her liner notes to her 2009 album (Onyx 4040, recorded 2007-2008): “The injection of trust from other Baroque musicians has led me to study intensely and to make the Baroque repertoire central to my artistic life.” (Also cited in Mullova and Chapman, From Russia to Love, p. 253). She has worked and made recordings with Il Giardino Armonico, Venice Baroque Orchestra, Ottavio Dantone, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, among others. In the same Onyx album she acknowledges the initial inspiration and encouragement coming from the bassoonist and continuo player Marco Postinghel (Liner Notes, p. 1).

Table des illustrations

Titre Table 3.1. Definition of stylistic features as listed in column headings in Table 3.3.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1859/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 648k
Titre Table 3.2. Movement by movement tendency of selected violinists’ interpretative styles listed in DOB order. “H” stands for HIP, “M” stands for MSP. The selection was based on Table 3.3, to provide further information on a few “clear-cut” recordings and most of those displaying a “mixed” approach. This Table was prepared on the basis of renewed listening some 2 years after preparing data presented in Table 3.3. Styles listed in parentheses indicate that the stylistic features are not strong and that characteristics of the other style (or some idiosyncratic style) are also present.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1859/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 512k
Titre Figure 3.1. Collated scores expressed as percentages of performance features according to style categories (MSP [dark red] versus HIP [light red]) in 40 recordings made between 1976 and 2010 and listed in order of performers’ date of birth.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1859/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 372k
Titre Table 3.3. Summary of MSP and HIP performance features (as defined in Table 3.1) in 40 selected recordings, expressed as a score out of 10 reflecting data collapsed across all movements of the 6 Solos and listed in DOB order.
Légende * In 1987 Mullova only recorded the B minor partita.† Only 3 or fewer works recorded by these violinists. For detail refer to Discography.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/1859/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 888k

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