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13th International ESTA Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark/Malmö, Sweden, 28 April – 2 May, 1986

The motto of the Congress was: “Artistic and Pedagogical Aspects of Chamber music”.

Referring to this motto, Hans Erik Deckert, who had organised this Congress together with Svend Schröder with a lot of love of details, said, “In the absence of an inkling of chamber music, the individual runs the risk of being isolated”. Henry Hoist, President of ESTA Denmark, put it as follows: “Music is a philosophy of life and of people”. Prince Henrik, prince consort of the Danish queen, who had assumed the patronage of the Congress, hosted a festive reception for Yehudi Menuhin and all country Presidents at Fredensborg Castle near Copenhagen on the first day of the Congress.

The lecture and concert programme was interspersed with numerous workshops and discussion circles. Yehudi Menuhin, for example, worked with students on Mozart’s C major Quintet.

Simultaneously, workshops were held for violin, viola, violoncello and double bass by:

Max Rostal (CH/GB) “The Violin Sonatas by Bach and the Violin Sonatas by Beethoven”
Franz Beyer (FRG) “Questions on the Violin Sonatas by Brahms, and on the Viola Part in the String Quartets by Beethoven”
Joan Dickson (GB) “On the Cello: Teaching Bach without Being an Expert on Bach”
Ludwig Streicher (A) “The Double Bass as a Solo Instrument”

The lectures:

Aurelio Arcidiacono (I) “Instruction in Rhythm in Group Teaching”
Franz Beyer (FRG) “Questions Relating to the Understanding of Text in the String Quartets by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven”
Hans Erik Deckert (DK) “The String Quartet Studies by Mogens Heimann” with a string quartet composed by students of the Copenhagen School of Music
Béla and Tove Detreköy (DK) “The Aspects of Chamber Music in the Suzuki Method” Lecture and discussion (Already at the opening concert the Chamber Orchestra of the Suzuki-Institute had furnished proof of its skills)
Eduard Eichwalder (A) “The Expression in the Sonatas for Violin and Piano by W. A. Mozart” (with practical examples
Eberhard Feltz (GDR) “Violin Cantilena. Experiences for Educational Practice”
Kare Opdal (N) “The Influence of Chamber Music on the Musical Development of Young Learners” (with the Trönder Quartet)
Emil Telmányi (DK) “Memories of Carl Nielsen and Béla Bartók”
Ole Hjort and Olle Pahl Dyrsmeds (S) “Swedish Folk Music”. Lecture and demonstration. In Malmö.
Bo Wallner (S) “Wilhelm Stenhammar and His Chamber Music”. In Malmö.
Endré Wolf (S) “J. S. Bach : Chaconne, Béla Bartók: Tempo di Ciacona. Analysis Comparison and Performance”. In Malmö.

At the end of the trip to Malmö a two-part concert was given. In the first part, the Chamber Orchestra of the School of Music, conducted by Endré Wolf, played works by Ingvar Lidholm and Jörgen Jersild. In the second part we heard a cello solo piece by Lidholm and the Sonata by Shostakovich in D minor, played captivatingly by Thorleif Thedeen (cello) and Roland Pöntinen (piano). Music from the times of Shakespeare was presented in the knights’ hall of the “Hamlet Castle” of Kronborg near Helsingör. The Tröndcr Quartet from Drontheim with Elise Batnes — only 14 years of age – as first violinist entertained us throughout an entire concert evening in “Holmens Kirke” with works by Beethoven (op 18/2), Arne Nordheim and Edward Grieg (G minor). It was certainly not easy for the students and student ensembles who had volunteered for the workshops to shed the extraordinary auditory impression left by the young quartet. The unique atmosphere of Holmens Kirke provided also the setting for another two chamber concerts: The Copenhagen String Quartet played works by Beethoven (op. 95), Carl Nielsen (op. 44) and Vagn Holmboe (op. 15), and the Chamber Orchestra of the Copenhagen School of Music under the direction of Milan Vitek rendered works by Carl Nielsen (Lille Suite op. 1), Béla Bartók (Divertimento for Strings) and, with Yehudi Menuhin as soloist, Bach’s Concerto in E major.

The farewell evening took us to the world-famous Tivoli amusement park, where, in a large concert hall, young soloists gave a brilliant performance of Mozart’s Rondo in C major, Dvorak’s Cello Rondo, and two movements from Mozart’s Quartet in A major, K 464, complemented by orchestral music by Niels W. Gade and W. A. Mozart. The joyful mood rose audibly with the Double Bass Concerto by J. B. Vanhal, presented with visible pleasure by Ludwig Streicher. To our great delight, Max Rostal and Eduard Melkus, assisted by a double-bass player, took up their instruments once more to swing themselves through the Variations of Bach’s Double Concerto by Teddy Bor, thus succeeding in turning the somewhat melancholic farewell mood into a happy spirit of anticipation of Nordwijk 1987.

The General Meeting of the Delegates was held on 1 May, 1986.

This General Meeting had been preceded by a Meeting of the Central Committee in Berlin at Hotel Kempinsky on 14 October, 1985. In the presence of our President Yehudi Menuhin the design of a pan-European brochure, which was to serve as an information and advertising medium, was discussed.

Melkus (A) raised once again the issue of admitting guitar teachers as well. The reservations about including this group are mainly due to the wide-spread use of the electric guitar, which runs counter to our objectives. Therefore (he question was postponed again.

Unfortunately, President Yehudi Menuhin was unable to attend the General Meeting of the Delegates on 1 May.

ESTA Norway – with President Morton Svagard – was admitted to membership of ESTA unanimously. The problem of ESTA France was discussed at great length. Secretary Danielle de Spengler had submitted the dissolution of the Branch. Menuhin informed us by telephone that André Fetal was willing to run the French Branch.

The Eastern-bloc countries were represented by Elena Geneva from Bulgaria, Antonin Morawec from Czechoslovakia, and Ottó Szende from Hungary. We were also pleased about the presence of Hrönn Geirlaugsdottir from Iceland and Spyros Tombras from Greece. Wolfgang U. Stettler had resigned from his office.

Werner Schmitt (CH) was elected new Treasurer unanimously.

Marion Rostal was given the go-ahead for the production of a new ESTA record, for which recordings existed already in part. It was to include the Concertino by Hans Gal from the Congress in Edinburgh, the Busoni-Sonata (Rostal/Ludwig) from Netherlands 1980 and the Debussy-Sonata or the Sonatina by Schoeck from Bern 1984. The expenses were covered by the earnings from the sale of the last ESTA record.

The admission of guitarists was discussed also in the General Meeting of the Delegates and met with scepticism. Nevertheless, Austria was encouraged to give it a try.

Fritz Händschke reported about his work on a documentation “What actually is ESTA?” to be sponsored by companies and to be completed by the end of 1986.

The publication of the international catalogue of members had to be limited to a supplement because a new edition could not be financed. Considerable losses had been incurred by bank charges for money transfers alone.

Again, Marion Rostal had kept the minutes of the Meeting of the Central Committee and of the General Meeting of the Delegates and kindly provided their translations as well.

In September 1986 I held lectures and workshops together with Viktor Fortin (from the Graz School of Music) by invitation of AUSTA – the Australian String Teachers Association – in Brisbane, Canberra and in Tasmania in Launceston and gave concerts with a youth orchestra.

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