A silver and ebony mounted violin bow made by François Xavier Tourte (c.1825) was sold on Monday for a new world record auction price of $288,000 USD. The bow is believed to have been owned by the celebrated Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman and bears his engraved initials on the ferule.
Purchased by a professional violinist, the bow was one of 40 items sold during the auction – including instruments by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, Giovanni Tononi, Ansaldo Poggi, Enrico Rocca, Luigi Piatellini and Peter Greiner, and bows by Joseph Henry, James Tubbs and Eugène Sartory – earning a total of $2.7m.
J & A Beare is delighted to support the 2016 Menuhin Competition, now returning to London for the first time since 2004.
Through Beare’s International Violin Society, the Senior Section winner of the competition this year will be loaned a golden period Stadivarius violin for the duration of one year. Details of the Strad will be announced in early March 2016.
The competition showcases the brightest of upcoming talent, with young violinists of any nationality invited to enter. Many winners have gone on to achieve major international recognition. By loaning a Strad to the winner, Beare’s hopes to give the winner the best start for the beginning their career.
French violinist Maurice Hasson gave what was billed as the final concert of his long and distinguished career at the Wigmore Hall, London on 17th April 2015. He played on a very fine Stradivari violin, known as the ‘Lady Jeanne’, loaned for the occasion by the Beare’s International Violin Society.
Hasson, who turns 81 this year, began playing aged 11 and by the age of 13 had entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he won the Prix d’Honneur and the Grand Prix for chamber music. In 1973 he moved to London, where he played his first recital at the Wigmore Hall with Ernst Lush.
Prior to the concert, Maurice dropped into Beare’s with his accompanying pianist, Tadashi Imai. Reflecting on playing his final concert at the same venue where he first gained an agent, he told us: “I started my career at the Wigmore Hall in 1973. I remember it was in the afternoon and I performed with the great pianist Ernest Lush, who played with all the greatest violinists of that time. It was a great pleasure and so I wanted to give my last concert in London at the Wigmore Hall. But I shall probably play another concert again. I will never stop playing.”
Maurice also talked with us about playing the legendary ‘Lady Jeanne’ Stradivari, loaned for the occasion by Beare’s International Violin Society. Made by Stradivari in 1731, it is believed that its name, ‘Lady Jeanne’, was bestowed on the violin by a previous owner, in honour of his wife.
Hasson is no stranger to the demands of playing such a mighty instrument as the ‘Lady Jeanne’, having played a 1727 Strad throughout his years as a soloist.
Following the concert, he commented on playing it:
“I was very happy to play that immense Strad, the ‘Lady Jeanne’, which gave me the greatest pleasure. I have played Strads for forty years of my life, so I know how to play a Strad. You don’t play a Strad like that from one day to another; you must learn to play them. This one was a very strong Strad, but at the same time it had a great quality of sensitivity and clarity. It was a true pleasure, and in the Debussy [Sonata in G minor], I could not dream of a better instrument because it was so transparent, so impressionistic. And on this Strad I enjoyed enormously the power of the violin; it was enormous, fantastic.”
Maurice Hasson with pianist Tadashi Imai at the Wigmore Hall
Hasson is also due to retire from his teaching post at the Royal Academy of Music this summer, having been professor of violin there for 29 years. The concert, then, was doubly an emotional experience:
“To describe the final concert is pretty difficult. It was very emotional because a lot of my great colleagues were attending, a lot of violinists, my students, family, friends: it was a sold out concert. I enjoy very much playing with Tadashi Imai, the great pianist, a great colleague, and I appreciate very much his work.
Before the concert I was, I must say, under an unusually great pressure, not because of it being the last concert, but because all my friends, my colleagues, my family were there. But we always have pressure before a concert and we need it, that state of emotion and stress.
Great advice was given to me by a great violinist, Henryk Szeryng, my professor, who said that if you love the violin and you love music, you must have a little bit of courage, you must concentrate. If you have the courage to concentrate and to decide to enjoy what you are playing, after a few seconds, you forget the stress. And it happened like that. Immediately, I was into what I was going to do and I wanted to enjoy myself. If you enjoy yourself, the people enjoy [it] also. You transmit what you feel. And personally, I consider that concert that night as one of my best recitals, musically, technically, emotionally speaking. I think I was doing the concert quite imaginatively. During the concert, suddenly I discovered some new colour of harmony and I changed fingering, still with plenty of confidence.
So it was a great artistic fiesta, if I can say so. I am very pleased. Saying that it is my last concert, I don’t think so, from time to time I will give a concert.”
The concert programme:
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) ~ Violin Sonata No. 1 in A major Op. 13
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) ~ Violin Sonata in G minor
César Franck (1822-1890) ~ Sonata in A major for piano and violin
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) ~ Tzigane
Maria Theresia Paradis ~ Sicilienne in E flat major
Maurice Ravel ~ Vocalise-étude en forme de Habanera
Beare’s Managing Director Steven Smith with Maurice Hasson and the ‘Lady Jeanne’ Strad after the concert, with Steven’s wife and violin professor of the Royal Academy of Music So-Ock Kim
A charity event to be held on the 28th May 2015 at St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London
Beare’s director Simon Morris will be playing at this charity concert, among past and present members of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, with proceeds going directly to the DEC for distribution to Nepal.
Amati and J & A Beare are joining forces to bring decades of stringed instrument expertise and new products to Cremona’s Mondomusica trade fair, from 26 to 28 September 2014. The two companies will be sharing a stand at the exhibition to launch a new set of monographs on major instruments.
Founded in 1892, J & A Beare is one of the most respected names in stringed instrument dealing, selling and repair, and the collaboration with Amati marks the first time that the company has exhibited at Mondomusica.Read more…