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10th International ESTA Congress in Dresden/GDR, 5 – 12 April, 1983

The “stepping out” of a solo string instrument from the orchestra at the beginning of the 17th century ushered in a stormy development. Dresden, as the place where “Capriccio stravagante” by Carlo Farina printed in 1626 appeared, holds a particularly prominent position as regards the refinement of violin-playing technique. It was against this background that current issues of the theory and methodology of education in string-instrument playing were addressed. With the headline “Between Perfection and Improvisation” in the congress report, Reinhard Seiffert had hit the point. The GDR team working in Dresden together with President Werner Scholz had done an admirable job in organising this Congress.

A novelty, which was very well received by all participants, was the “musical prelude” before each lecture, complemented by numerous solo and group presentations, e.g. by the violin ensemble of the district music school “Taul Büttner” from Dresden, conducted by Adelgund Renelt.

The lectures:

Gerald Fischbach (USA) “Playing the Violin is Easy” – the problem of shifts
Fernando Grillo (I) “Old and New Music on the Double-Bass”
Karl Heller (GDR) “Antonio Vivaldi – His Works and His Influence Reflected by Dresden’s Music Culture”
Klaus Hertel (GDR) “Early Interpretation”
Eduard Melkus (A) “Original and Adaptation in Violin Literature”
Sheila Nelson (GB) “Experiences in Elementary Teaching with Children”
Siegfried Palm (FRG) Max Rostal (CH/GB) “Discussion Circles”
Milos Sádlo (CSSR) “On the Interpretation of Czech Violoncello Concertos”
Hans Karl Schmitt (GDR) “The German School of Bow Building up to Contemporary Times”
Michael Vogler (GDR) “Articulation on the Violin”

At the opening ceremony we heard the 1st and 4th movements of the String Quartet in C minor op. 51/1 by J. Brahms, played by the Nasdala Quartett. A concert on the reconstructed Silbermann organ in Dresden’s Hofkirche convinced us that Baroque music does not necessarily have to sound “historical”. The Chamber Orchestra of the Berlin State Orchestra gave a brilliant “stand-in performance” after the Berlin-Leipzig Mendelssohn Octet had cancelled their participation at short notice. Moreover, were able to hear Siegfried Palm with the Sonata op. 25/3 by P. Hindemith for Violoncello Solo and the Capriccio for Siegfried Palm by Krysztof Penderecki. Instead of the Dresden Chamber Orchestra the Piano Trio Frank-Immo Zichner (piano) – Kai Vogler (violin) – Peter Bruns (violoncello) played works by Beethoven, Kochan and Brahms. A concert given by winners of international competitions furnished proof of the high standard of the rising generation of string players in the German Democratic Republic. The University Orchestra of Dresden, conducted by Volker Rohde, played the 7th Symphony by Sergej Prokofjew, the Viola Concerto by Ernst Hermann Meyer with Alfred Lipka as soloist, and Brahms’ Double Concerto with Dorothea Proksch (violine) and Nicolaus Köhler (violoncello). Dresden’s Capella Sagittariana with Wolfram Steude played music from autographs on historical instruments. The last day took us to Moritzburg Castle and to Meissen. At the farewell party Klaus Hertel, to our great delight, gave evidence of his extraordinary abilities as a singer and piano-player.

The General Meeting of the Delegates was held on 9 April, 1983, in the assembly room of City Hall.

Max Rostal was appointed unanimously Honorary President. He agreed to carry out the representative duties during the Dresden Congress.

Again, the central issue was the new system of graded contributions to the Headquarter. At the end, it was agreed that this system should be tried out for one year and then it should be discussed further.

Equally, the idea of including all country Presidents as members of the Central Committee was decided upon for one year only, and the election of the new European President was postponed until the next General Meeting of the Delegates.

Marion Rostal kept the minutes, which were very extensive, and kindly translated them into English and French.

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