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Fwd: Alto Violin

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  • Ann & Bob Frederking
    This is forwarded from Fred Lipsett who has been playing an alto violin ( or upright viola for some time). Ann
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 23, 2006
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      This is forwarded from Fred Lipsett who has been playing an alto
      violin ( or upright viola for some time).

      >From: "Fred Lipsett" <lipsett@...>
      >Subject: Alto Violin
      >Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2006 20:42:25 -0500
      >Dear Ann,
      >Many thanks for your e-mail about the discussion in the Viola List.
      >I looked up some of the messages and found them very interesting.
      >Will you be kind enough to forward the following?
      >Thanks and best wishes
      >Dear Viola/Alto players,
      >Ann Frederking kindly forwarded me her message and news of the
      >discussion of the Alto Violin on the list. I read some of the
      >messages with interest and would like, at the risk of redundancy, to
      >make some remarks.
      >Progress of the New Violin Family. (NVFA)
      >The instruments are spreading. There are now two high level Octets -
      >the Hutchins Consort in San Diego and the recently formed Albert
      >Consort in Ithaca NY. The former plays Hutchins instruments, and the
      >latter instruments made by a one-man wonder, Robert (Bob) Spear. Bob
      >Spear not only makes fine instruments but publishes and writes most
      >of the NVFA Newsletter, and organized the Octet 2005 Conference in
      >Ithaca last October-November.
      >At the Conference the two octets played separately and together. In
      >addition there were two evenings of recitals by soloists and small
      >groups. The music included pieces written specially for the
      >instruments and arrangements of pieces already written. I had heard
      >the Hutchins Consort before but was delighted to hear them again and
      >to meet their Alto player Carolyn Lechusza ( who is also a cellist).
      >All the playing was of the highest standard. The two octets playing
      >together were a wonderful new string orchestra of great power and
      >wonderful new sound, and the small ensembles were equally pleasing.
      >Try to hear them live - CDs are fine but don't convey the richness of sound.
      >The NVFA web site
      >has been mentioned in earlier messages and is worth exploring. So is
      >the site of the Hutchins Consort, given in the NVFA site
      >Personal remarks
      >I am a retired physicist and amateur musician. I first met Carleen
      >Hutchins and members of the Catgut Acoustical Society in about 1969
      >and tried an Alto for the first time. I loved the sound but didn't
      >get one until 1998, after which I became an evangelist for the NVFA
      >instruments. Very few violists take up the Alto because the
      >transition to playing the instrument cello fashion. The
      >transition is far from instantaneous. However Peter Mach made a
      >wonderful instrument for me and I still love the sound.
      >So do people who hear it. One music professor tried it and said
      >"that's how a viola should sound." When I have a chance I give a
      >brief demonstration-lecture about the Alto and its relatives. As a
      >result about nine people have followed my example and purchased Altos.
      >Most were cellists. Although the eight NVFA instruments are all
      >named --- Violin, I think they should be called ----- violin,---
      >cello and --- bass, since there are essentially 3 violins, 3 cellos
      >and 2 basses in the group. (My opinion doesn't seem welcome). The
      >viola falls between two stools, as you can see. Most cellists can
      >play respectably on an Alto within a few minutes, and one eminent
      >cellist, Ener Bylsma, gave a demonstration of my Alto at a public
      >lecture after playing it for about 2 minutes. It never sounded so good.
      >Fred Lipsett
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