October 20, 2009

Libby visits the Fromm

Last Tuesday, period violinist Libby Wallfisch, who was in town to lead our October concerts, journeyed out into the rain to the Fromm Institute with David Wilson to speak at the weekly "Brown Bags" speaker series. Thank you Command Performances Representative Bob Morgan for having us! Here are a few photos from the day:

Libby talks about how her baroque violin is built differently than the modern ones that the "Frommies" are used to seeing played at the San Francisco Symphony.

Much like the wands of J.K. Rowling's imagining, rarely were two bows alike in the Baroque era, as every region had its preferred shape to fit the local playing styles and techniques, not to mention every bow craftsman had his own signature. Organizer Bob Morgan (left) looks on.

As you'll know from an earlier post, the baroque violin was played while held with the left hand and supported by the collarbone. This "chin-off" technique may seem odd to us now, but the violin began life as a street instrument. Libby demonstrates here how it was popular among Renaissance era fiddlers to hold the instrument at the "third rib" (she's miming an engraving that suggests that the fiddlers also found it fashionable to play with a pipe dangling between their lips, a tankard of ale on the table and a few buxom women on hand to... uh... woo).

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