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15th International ESTA Congress in Rome/Italy, 9 – 1 May, 1988

In his opening address Giorgio Cambissa, Director of the Academia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, criticised violently the “effectiveness and structure of musical education” in Italy. In a joint resolution drafted by the ESTA Central Committee and co-signed by Professor Cambissa, the government was urgently requested to take steps to improve Italy’s musical-pedagogical institutions and, in particular, teacher training. Max Rostal, too, referred to the “influenza italiana” of violin playing, and said that while there was no doubt about the tradition in the native country of string instruments, the current situation was absolutely unsatisfactory.

The President and founder of ESTA Italiana, Lilia d’Albore, a student of Flesch’s and one of the grand violinists of our century, had prepared the Congress with incredible enthusiasm and energy and put together an extensive programme. Unfortunately, she fell seriously ill, and all I could do was to visit her at hospital together with some ESTA friends. The industrialist Bruno Corsi and Principe Gianangelo Borghese, friends of Lilia d’Albore’s, prevented this, ultimately excellent, Congress from ending with a financial disaster. Today Bruno Corsi is one of our honorary members. (His son Claudio, then a young pupil of Lilia’s, is now studying violin with Yair Kless at Graz University of Music). The Congress began most amusingly with Hindemith’s “Minimax”, alienated march and blissful waltz music played by Max Rostal and Marianne Kroemer, violin, Fritz Händschke, viola, and Werner Schmitt, violoncello. All concerts took place in a typical locality, in “Sala Borromini” on Piazza della Chiesa Nuova. The young artists of “Complesso d’Archi G. Malipiero” played works by A. Vivaldi, E. Cavallini and G. Rossini, the cellist G. Sollima, bom in 1962, with the pianist F. Romano L. Boccherini works by F. Schubert, Sollima and Rossini, the trio Harmony rendered L. Boccherini, G. Gambini, F. Giardini, B. Porena and G. Petrassi, and Eduard Melkus demonstrated 18th century art of ornamentation with sonatas by A. Corelli.

Workshops were held on:

Pietro Bianchi (CH) “Il violino popolare della zona delle Alpi”
Claudio Cornoldi (I) “Musica per violino di “operisti” dell’800″
Elena Genewa (BG) “Capricci di Nardini”
Anna Marton (CH) “Instruction in Rhythm – a Neglected Discipline”
Marco Silvi and Mauro Cozza (I) “Musica originale del 17. e 18. secolo per violino e chitarra”

With few exceptions, the lectures focussed on historical themes:

Gianni Antonioni (I) “The Capricci by Rodolph Kreutzer. A New Edition – Why?”
Franz Beyer (FRG) “Ways towards a Holistic Interpretation”
Giorgio Cambissa (I) “Instruction in Instrumental Violin Playing at Conservatories”
Louis Carus (GB) “Geminiani in London”
Hans Erik Deckert (DK) “Music and Methodology”
Siegfried Führlinger (A) “How Do You Play the Viola without Using Your Hands”
Alfredo Marcosig (I) “Presentation of the International Alpen-Adria Competition”. Performance by 6 participants, aged 14-20, from the Italian regions of Friuli, Venezia Giulia and Veneto, from the Austrian provinces of Carinthia and Styria, and from Croatia.
Alessandro Molin Luciano Bellini (I) “Venetian Music for Violin and Violoncello from the 18th Century”
Gualtiero Nicolini Stefano Conia (I) “Antonio Stradivari and Cremona at that Time”
Aldi Redditi (I) Ancient, Italian Methodologies for Violin”
Max Rostal (CH/GB) “Italy’s Influence on the History of Violin Playing”

Half a day was spent in historical Rome, half a day in Ostia Antica, much too short a time for these time-honoured places. In spite of our deep worries about Lilia d’Albore, musical humour prevailed at the farewell evening.

General Meeting of the Delegates on 13 May, 1988, in Rome.

President Yehudi Menuhin was in the USA and unable to attend the Congress and the General Meeting.

Below some items from the Agenda:

  1. News from the Branches:
    Austria was now admitting guitarists as well to its association, now called “Association of Teachers for String Instruments”. FRG planned to put more emphasis on contemporary composers. Sweden attempted new ways in the theory and methodology of string education in group teaching and studied differences between small towns and university cities. Switzerland investigated problems of orchestralists. At the initiative of Svend Schröder Denmark had set up a video library for national and international ESTA – events. Great Britain published a scientific thesis on Geminiani.
    Fritz Händschke informed the Delegates that he intended to have all reports by the Branches of the past two years translated into Italian to provide ESTA Italiana with a documentary basis in order to be effective on a broader scale.
    Cellist Stanislav Apolin was taking the necessary steps for the foundation of a Czech Branch of ESTA.
  2. Regarding Congresses:
    Svend Schröder had summarised his Congress experiences (“How to organise an ESTA Congress”) in a brochure and distributed it to all member Branches. Füri (CH) proposed to hold ESTA Congresses every two years only. It was decided keep considering this proposal. It was requested that the manuscripts be submitted to the Central Committee prior to the arrangement of the programme, also for translation purposes.
  3. Subscriptions:
    Again, the matter of subscriptions by each Branch to ESTA had to be discussed. It was requested that attempts should be made to collect approximately equal amounts. Austria, for example, had reduced its subscriptions by 50% in order to encourage potential members to join – a big financial hole for the Treasury. A committee was set up to deal with the question of the proportion of subscription payments.
  4. Resolutions:
    A resolution was passed by a majority of votes according to which henceforth every ESTA member country was free to decide whether to admit guitarists and harpists to their national Branches.
    The General Meeting decided unanimously to offer to Bruno Corsi, as the first ESTA members, the honorary membership.
  5. The Central Committee had received a breakdown of costs for a European Catalogue of Members, showing that the costs of production could only be covered if at least 800 copies were sold at a price of ATS 150 each.
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