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EDUARD TOLDRÀ, educator

"Per aspera ad astra"
("to the stars through sacrifice and hard work".)



As a violinist Eduard Toldrà participated in the creation of the "Catalan School" of violin with other eminent artists like: Joan Frigola, Francesc Costa, Joan Massià, Enric Casals, Joan Manen, Antoni Brosa, etc...


Un exemple de la primera generació i segona generació de músics de l'anomenada "Escola Catalana de Violí": Rafael Ferrer, Adrià Sardó, Enric Ribó, Gonçal Comellas, Jaume Francesc, Pere Serra, Pere Carbonell



The "Catalan School" of violin was related to the "Franco-Belgian School" of violin which was centered at the Conservatory in Brussels. Though greatly influenced by the music of Viotti and the French School, the Brussels Conservatory nevertheless forged its own identity. The classical and even baroque elements that had never disappeared in the French School tended to become replaced by sheer romantic elan. The violinists who were associated with the Franco-Belgian School include Beriot, Sauret, Vieuxtemps, Leonard, Ysaye, Thomson, Schradieck, Spiering, Marsick, Persinger, Enesco, and Flesh.".

Major violinists representing the "Franco-Belgian School" of violin:

Eugène Ysaÿe (16 July 1858 – 12 May 1931)
Jacques Thibaud (27 September 1880 – 1 September 1953)
Georges Enesco (19 August 1881, Liveni, Romania – 4 May 1955, Paris). Teacher of Yehudi Menuhin. [listen Bach's Double Violin Concerto]
Fritz Kreisler (February 2, 1875 – January 29, 1962)

The "Russian School" of violin:

Leopold Auer

His Teaching style

Auer is remembered as one of the most important pedagogues of the violin, and was one of the most sought-after teachers for gifted pupils. Many famous virtuoso violinists were among his pupils, including Mischa Elman, Konstanty Gorski, Jascha Heifetz, Nathan Milstein, Efrem Zimbalist, Georges Boulanger, Benno Rabinof, Kathleen Parlow, Oscar Shumsky, Paul Stassevitch, and Sasha Lasserson. Auer also taught the young Clara Rockmore, who later became one of the world's foremost exponents of the theremin.

Like pianist Franz Liszt in his teaching, Auer did not focus on technical matters with his students. Instead, he guided their interpretations and concepts of music. If a student ran into a technical problem, Auer did not offer any solutions. Neither was he inclined to pick up a bow to demonstrate a passage. Nevertheless, he was a stickler for technical accuracy. Fearing to ask Auer themselves, many students turned to each other for help. (Paradoxically, in the years before 1900 when Auer focused more closely on technical details, he did not turn out any significant students.)

While Auer valued talent, he considered it no excuse for lack of discipline, sloppiness or absenteeism. He demanded punctual attendance. He expected intelligent work habits and attention to detail. Lessons were as grueling as recital performances—in fact, the two were practically identical.

In lieu of weekly lessons, students were required to bring a complete movement of a major work. This usually demanded more than a week to prepare. Once a student felt ready to play this work, he had to inscribe his name 10 days prior to the class meeting. The student was expected to have his instrument concert ready and to be dressed accordingly. An accompanist was provided. An audience watched—comprised not only of students and parents, but also often of distinguished guests and prominent musicians. Auer arrived for the lesson punctually; everything was supposed to be in place by the time he arrived. During the lesson, Auer would walk around the room, observing, correcting, exhorting, scolding, shaping the interpretation. "We did not dare cross the threshold of the classroom with a half-ready performance," one student remembered.

Admission to Auer's class was a privilege won by talent. Remaining there was a test of endurance and hard work. Auer could be stern, severe, harsh. One unfortunate student was ejected regularly, with the music thrown after him. Auer valued musical vitality and enthusiasm. He hated lifeless, anemic playing and was not above poking a bow into a student's ribs, demanding more "krov." (The word literally means "blood" but can also be used to mean fire or vivacity.)

While Auer pushed his students to their limits, he also remained devoted to them. He remained solicitous of their material needs. He helped them obtain scholarships, patrons and better instruments. He used his influence in high government offices to obtain residence permits for his Jewish students. He shaped his students' personalities. He gave them style, taste, musical breeding. He also broadened their horizons. He made them read books, guided their behavior and career choices and polish their social graces. He also insisted that his students learn a foreign language if an international career was expected.

Even after a student started a career, Auer would watch with a paternal eye. He wrote countless letters of recommendation to conductors and concert agents. When Mischa Elman was preparing for his London debut, Auer traveled there to coach him. He also continued work with Efrem Zimbalist and Kathleen Parlow after their debuts.


Technique:
Very interesting article about "Bow hold" comparison between the "Franco-Belgian School" and the "Russian School": http://sarahwallinhuff.com/bowhold-comparison/
Video of Itzak Perlman about his "Franco-Belgian School" "Bow Grip" style: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6r0WW-KN6VM

Recordings:

Masterclass:
Heifetz Masterclass 1 - violin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szXaTRE3tL0
Heifetz Masterclass 2 - violin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3pLwVhm7xY
Heifetz Masterclass 3 - violin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAMhxFEGsns
Heifetz Masterclass 4 - violin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DtMiuPusFY

Interviews:
Fritz Kreisler's 80th Birthday Interview (Part 1) (1955-02-02): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydJC8IhFAA0
Fritz Kreisler's 80th Birthday Interview (Part 2) (1955-02-02): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL26Psruj4k
Fritz Kreisler plays Thaïs-Meditation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6un_YIawX-E

Movies:
From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China (Complete): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgB4EczzPuo
Alexander Markov, 24 Caprices of Paganini: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPVUfcQe9og