Friday Reads (and CDs): violins and fiddles

Highlighting today’s early morning news was the story of a Stradivarius violin once lost (stolen) in 1980, found in 2015, and now fully restored in 2017 from its past of Super Glue and Elmer’s Glue patches. Exactly why does the name Stradivari seem to remain in our vocabulary, usually in conjunction with values in the millions? What is so special about this luthier’s instruments? As it happens, the library has a book that may help with these musings. The Violin, a Social History of the World’s Most Versatile Instrument.  2013 [787.2 SCH] has extensive sections on the Stradivari family and Stradivarius instruments.

If you’re wondering about Mira Wang, the violinist who will perform soon on the above-mentioned recovered Strad, you might want to search for a magazine article about her in our fine arts database, Gale’s Fine Arts and Music Collection.

The book title, The Violin, a Social History of the World’s Most Versatile Instrument, elevates the violin to a rank often bestowed upon the guitar… or maybe the piano. Is the violin really so versatile?? Here is a book on fiddling, another style of violin playing:

The fiddle book; the comprehensive book on American folk music, fiddling, and fiddle styles including more than 150 traditional fiddle tunes compiled from country fiddlers. 1967. [787.2THE].

Dig into our CD collection to sample some of the violin’s many music-making guises from both older classics and newer recordings.  From Classical to jazz to gypsy jazz to country to Acadian folk, all the formats share one thing, a beautiful sounding instrument. Here are a few listening suggestions.

Classical violin: Joshua Bell. The Four seasons. Antonio Vivaldi. 2008. [CD MUSIC Class VIV]

Gidon Kremer. Tracing Astor: Gidon Kremer plays Astor Piazzolla.2001 [CD MUSIC Class KRE]

Jazz Violin:         Stephane Grappelli.  Atlantic jazz. Mainstream. 1986. [CD MUSIC Jazz ATL]

Nigel Kennedy.  Recital. 2013 [CD MUSIC Jazz KEN]

 

Country Fiddle:  Bob Wills (of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys):

Back in the saddle again; American Cowboy Songs. 1983 [CD MUSIC C&W BAC]

 

Acadian Fiddle: The Slippery Stick: Traditional Fiddling From New Brunswick / with Gerry Robichaud,

fiddle and Bobby Robichaud, guitar. 1996 [CD MUSIC Folk ROB]

The ubiquitous “Dummies” books offer the chance to sample the very long and labor-intensive process of learning to play the violin: Fiddle for Dummies : Book + Online Video and Audio Instruction, 2014; is available to borrow online from Axis360. Without a doubt, any smattering of experience playing a violin OR a fiddle would give one an admiring appreciation and understanding of what’s so special about a Strad!

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