25 February 2012

The well-tempered... what?

The BIB editor reports:

Non-bluegrass subjects are usually kept off the BIB as far as possible; so you may well wonder why this little book for players of classical music (first published in Germany when Charlie and Bill Monroe were still playing together) should be mentioned, even if it is one of my long-time personal favourites.

Part of the reason is in the sub-title: A book of counsel and entertainment for all lovers of music in the home. This book is not aimed at professional players in any genre; it is written for devoted 'hobby musicians', which is why many players of bluegrass and old-time music - people who also play string music in small ensembles - should find plenty in it to which they can respond with deep sympathy. The passages about the problems of simply bringing together four players with different personalities, for instance...

Make no mistake: two-thirds of the book are a detailed examination of the published repertoire for string quartets; much of the advice applies only to classical players; and one or two sentences may take modern readers aback. It's out of print, and the secondhand prices I've seen are more than a casual reader might want to pay. But if you come across a copy, give it a try; it's good to be in this environment of people who get together to play demanding music on string instruments without expecting to make a pile of money at it. Does that sound familiar?

Bruno Aulich and Ernst Heimeran, Das stillvergnügte Streichquartett (translated by D. Millar Craig as The well-tempered string quartet).



Post a Comment

<< Home