Sunday, August 03, 2008

Norrington 'goes too far'

Big piece in today's Observer, resulting from a furious letter from veteran violinist Raymond Cohen telling it like it is about Roger Norrington's Elgar.

Please pardon my French, but the you-must-not-vibrate-ever-ever-ever movement is a load of utter bollocks. I don't know how people have been duped by it for so long. Has everyone forgotten that Leopold Mozart in his mid-18th-century treatise provides exercises for practising something that any Grade V violin pupil would recognise as vibrato? (Yes, he calls it 'tremolato' instead, so what?) LM complains about the application of indiscriminate 'tremolato' - the implication being that in the mid 18th century string players didn't use no vibrato: they used too much! That does not mean 'you mustn't use any'. Most irritating of all is that audiences who lap it all up in good faith have been swindled.

Apropos de which, has everyone forgotten, too, that the cut-down forces of the misleadingly-named 'authentic' movement in the 1980s coincided beautifully with political funding slashes which meant fewer musicians need be employed?

Enough, already!

Bravo, Raymond, and happy 89th birthday! Now have a listen to this...

UPDATE: Monday 4 August - here's Stephen Pollard's take on the same issue from today's Times.