The Cooper

Albert's Album

Albert’s Album

Albert has made this personal selection of pictures of interest from his collection of copies of the Strad Magazine. Each is complemented by a short extract from the original text

Robert Lindley, Strad Magazine, September 1893

‘After a spell of labour under Cervetto, young Lindley flew away from the Nest- in other words, he left Yorkshire to fill an engagement as 'cellist at the Brighton theatre. By this time, though only eighteen, he had become too bright a star to remain long unnoticed in the provinces, and in 1794 he was brought up to London to succeed Sperati as principal 'cello at the Opera and the leading concerts. So assured was his success that he retained his position as the head of living 'cellists from 1794 until his retirement from professional life in 1851, a period of fifty seven years.’

Joseph Joachim, Strad Magazine, September 1907‘Joachim's connection with England was almost as lasting and as intimate as his association with his adopted country, and he always looked upon London as his " second home." From the time of his first appearance here as a chubby boy in 1844, to his last performance in 1906, he occupied a position second to none in the world of music, and it is safe to say that he has done more to raise and ennoble its standard than any other artist.  He was a familiar figure at the " Pops." from their foundation in 1859 until 1899, and the London season would have seemed incomplete without his annual visit.
The anniversary of his sixtieth appearance in
London was celebrated by a gathering at Queen's Hall at which a strong representative audience assembled to demonstrate their sympathy and affection. Mr. Balfour, then Prime Minister, who has always been a staunch friend and admirer of the artist, was present to bestow on behalf of many subscribers an admirably painted portrait by Sargent, and many were the speeches and tokens of good-will. Nor is this the only mark of esteem that has been shown to England's favourite. In 1877 the degree of Doctor of Music was conferred upon him by the University of Cambridge, and he was the holder of degrees from the sister Universities of Oxford and Glasgow. In 1889 he became the possessor of a magnificent Stradivarius violin (one of three examples of the master's work owned by him), presented by numerous friends who subscribed £1,200 for the purpose.’

Majorie Hayward, Strad Magazine, February 1909

‘Perhaps the outstanding feature in Miss Hayward's playing is her tone. I once heard the epithet “silvery-tongued " applied to it by a contemporary, and it very aptly describes the quality of the sound she produces. 
Technical difficulties she masters with the
greatest ease, her harmonics being bell-like in their clearness, and she has a charming simplicity and refinement of style. It is early days to expect her to have plumbed all the depths of interpretation, and in fact were she to try and force her development in this line half the fascination of her playing would be gone. 
We should certainly hear a good deal of
Miss Hayward in days to come, for she has youth and health as well as talent on her side, and unless her natural diffidence intervenes, there is nothing to keep her from a very successful career, which we wish her heartily. The violinist has two violins, one a Rocca with an exceedingly fine and powerful tone, and the other a Ruggierus, which if less powerful, is very sweet, and answers easily to sympathetic treatment.’

Leila Doubleday, Strad Magazine, July 1914

‘She has been acknowledged as a player of uncommon promise, blessed with a refined musical nature and temperament." You would like to see my violin," she remarks.
It is a Joseph Guarnerius, dated 1741,
a fine specimen, and the history of its acquisition as told to me is interesting. " I was playing with the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra, and Mr. Fletcher, to whom it belonged, kindly lent it to me. A wealthy Australian lady asked if it would not make a great difference to me if I had such a violin. You can imagine my answer.
She entered into negotiations with Mr.
Fletcher, who, having just purchased a Strad, was willing to part with it, and it changed hands for the sum of £1,300. It is known as the Russian Joseph, because it was stolen from. Moscow by one of Napoleon's soldiers during the war.”’

Felix Salmond, Strad Magazine, October 1914

‘It sometimes happens that certain small drawbacks either of character, physique, or temperament, have an important bearing on us by reason of the concentration needed to combat them.  Mr. Salmond found that, being the possessor of an abnormally long arm (he is a very tallman), he was compelled to cultivate an individual style of bowing if he did not wish to use an ungainly pose, and in consequence he devoted so much attention to the science of right arm work that he has raised his bowing to the level of a fine art. One of his endeavours has been to correct the erroneous theory that a loose wrist is the principal asset of good bowing. His maxim is that the bow of a stringed instrument corresponds to the breath control of a singer, and the perfect bowing produces an absolutely even tone from one end of the bow to the other. This is very interesting just now, as of late years so much more attention has been paid to an erstwhile neglected art.’

Eugene Ysaye, Strad Magazine, February 1916

‘Ysaye waxes eloquent and speaks with genuine enthusiasm about music in England. "I am delighted to find that the English School is coming into its own" he says, "and now that your composers are shaking off the German influences which have trammelled them so long, they will I am sure come to great things. .And you have such fine players too. Some of your quartets are excellent indeed, and your viola player, Mr. Tertis, he is certainly the Sarasate of the viola. Nothing has given me greater pleasure than English music and its future."’

Giovanni Barbirolli, Strad Magazine, October 1916

‘The outstanding feature of Barbirolli's playing is undoubtedly his tone, which is pure, musical, and of striking beauty, and which, added to his other qualifications cannot fail to make an impression. It would be absurd to say that he has nothing more to learn at the age of seventeen, but he has everything in his favour, including an artistic nature so far unspoilt by success, and he is certainly on the right road.  
At present
although he is so young he has just been enrolled in Sir Henry Wood's orchestra, but unquestionably his future lies in solo work, and I am glad to hear that he may give a recital before long.’

Albert Sammons, Strad Magazine, June 1917

‘He is now thirty one years of age, and up to the present he has held the post of principal violin in Sir Thomas Beecham's orchestra ,with conspicuous success.  He has established an English quartet which can bear comparison with any of our  foreign visitors, and he has gradually risen to the topmost rung of the ladder as a soloist. As leader of an orchestra he has been in great demand, having been engaged by our best orchestras for special occasions. During the summer preceding the war he was the leader and soloist of the Casino orchestra at Dieppe, a post which has been filled by men like Rivarde and Thibaud. That he was re-engaged for the following season is sufficient proof of his success there, for our neighbours across the channel do not readily admit foreigners to such posts. 
The London Quartet, composed
of Musician Sammons and his associates, is too well known to music-lovers to demand any introduction on my part, nor need I enlarge on his merits as a soloist, for those who have heard him can recognize them easily enough, and those who have not yet heard him play the Beethoven, Elgar, Saint Saens, and Brahms concertos have still a treat in store.’

Paul Beard, Strad Magazine, October 1917

‘Paul Beard is only fifteen years of age, but into his short life he has crowded an amazing amount of work. The Press notices of his playing when only six years of age and later, might have been well calculated to spoil any average youngster, but Paul Beard is the same unaffected British boy he always was. His successes in open competitions in various parts of the country have been phenomenal, in many cases when the competition ages were either open or limited to between fourteen and twenty-one. It was in this latter age limit "that he won against all comers at an open competition (The Broughton Packer, Bath) at the Royal Academy of Music. This secured him a three years' scholarship in London, of which period he has yet a considerable time to run. 
At the Academy he was successful in
winning bronze medals for violin playing and sight singing and the Chairman's prize of £20 for leading the winning string quartette, a remarkable achievement for a boy of fifteen.’

The Birmingham String Quartet, Strad Magazine, January 1923

‘Their progressive spirit is also shewn in their choice of music. It is interesting to know that they have been asked to give the first performance in Birmingham of the new Vaughan Williams Quartet at a meeting of the British Music Society. I have observed during the past twelve months that concerts have been given at the following places, Northampton, Paisley, Colwyn Bay, Ipswich, Helensburgh, Bishop Auckland, Southampton, Bridge of Weir, Glasgow, Ross, Cardiff, Belfast, Malvern, London, Abergavenny, Bromsgrove, Melton Mowbray, Skipton, West Bromwich, Broadway, Rhyl, Charterhouse, Bournemouth, Kilmacolm, Darlington; and without doubt this list is incomplete. Lovers of chamber music and the musical critics of a town unite alike Without question in praise of their work, which is why repeat engagements are so frequent.

Miss Marie Hall, Strad Magazine, September 1924

‘" Wireless is making us all think and talk a lot about sound waves. Those who make violins have to think a big lot about them, but from a different standpoint, because, roughly speaking, the idea is this :—The player causes the strings to vibrate to produce the particular notes required;   the bridge, without seeming to be busy about the matter at all, picks up these vibrations -these sound waves- and passes them on to the little seemingly insignificant soundpost, which stands beneath the treble foot of the bridge to form a rigid centre of vibration, and to permit to the bass foot of the bridge the communication of free vibration. So the sound waves are conducted into the air waves of the soundbox, that is, to the interior of the body; and there they are caught by the delicate and most carefully planned curves which make what we call the peculiarity of the body; and these increase the resonance of the sound waves and purify them, before emitting them through the sound holes—the f shaped apertures on the upper surface of the body. Now all this has to be so planned that the player commands the power to make each sound more or less staccato and more or less sostenuto at will. Anything and everything that affects this controlling power should be carefully considered in making choice of a violin.’

Erica Morini, Strad Magazine, June 1925

‘Although her reputation was made in America, where during four seasons she gave recitals in practically every town of importance, there is little doubt that but for the unsettled conditions that prevailed on the Continent after the War she would have rapidly made a name for herself had she decided to stay in her native land.
Her first public appearance of importance was at the age of eleven
- she is now nineteen—when she played under Nikisch at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig; she was also chosen on more than one occasion to play at the Beethoven Festival in Vienna; surely an unusual honour, for it must be remembered she was quite a child at the time.’

Giant Double Basses, F.A. Hadland, Strad Magazine, June 1925

‘In 1914 I contributed an article to THE STRAD on this subject, and an exhibit at a musical convention in the United States again brings it to the front. Mr. Carl Fischer, of Cooper Square, New York, a short time back was showing in his window two double basses, one of which he had featured during the convention. The annexed illustration will be found interesting, and the dimensions are as follows :--

Full height, 11 2/3 feet.
Weight, about 150 Ib.
Body, 82 inches long.
Width at lower end, 54 inches.
Width at upper end, 41 inches.
Depth, 14 inches.
Depth from top of bridge to bottom of
bass, 28 1/2 inches.
Bridge, 13 inches high.
Bridge, 12 inches broad.
Finger board, 66 1/2 inches.
Bow, 42 inches long.

This puts in the shade the Leinster bass
in our Victoria and Albert Museum, a 3 stringed instrument of 17th-century Italian make, of which the length is 8 feet 7 inches, width 3 feet 6 inches, and length of bow 2 feet 3 inches. This South Kensington bass was bequeathed by Dragonetti to the Duke of Leinster, who gave it to the Museum.
It would be interesting to have
the dimensions of the giant bass played on by Mr. Boyce at the" Westminster Abbey Festival in 1791.
This instrument had been
made to his order, and. was suggested to him by seeing and trying a huge bass made by a man of the name of Martin, who kept a public-house in Leicestershire, and who appears to have made the construction of musical instruments his hobby.
Boyce was
the son of the eminent Dr. Boyce, the great church composer, and was a famous bass-player. We read in Gardiner's entertaining book, " Music and Friends,'" that Mr.Boyce's giant bass " outroared all the other double basses.'' I have been unable to find that a giant bass has been employed in the orchestra in recent times, and should very much like to obtain any information on that point.
The editorial staff of Musical
America are unable to give me an instance.It has been suggested to me that an ultra-modern composer might find the giant bass a valuable novelty in an up-to-date score. But the possibility of getting a contra-double-bass for use in some music stands on a different footing from the employment of whistles, tam-tams, and other " extras," which is sometimes resorted to, and which is, properly speaking, outside a musical scheme. By the extension of the bass compass we should be aiming at legitimate musical effects, and there would appear to be no reason why the orchestra should not have the deepest diapason tone for occasional employment, as a complete organ generally has a 32-foot stop. The perusal of classical scores gives the impression that the great composers would sometimes have called in the aid of an orchestral basso profondo if the necessary instrument had been available.’