DEDICATION: to my father Ivar with the touching voice and the musical expression (1913–2004)
When he was 17 years old my father went to Stockholm to sing for a choral master. He sang so beautifully that the master asked his mother to come and listen to the young talent with the beautiful voice. Unfor- tunately the only result was a return trip home and the end of his possible future career as a singer.
Father continued his work at the SKF steel plant in Hofors, where he had started at the age of twelve. Here he sang and played the violin and the trumpet at weddings, parties, burials, dances or any other entertainment that hired him. He was very proud of being born in Torsåker (12/4 1913), the same birth- place as the famous singer Joel Berglund.
From 1955 he at last got an opportunity to devote himself entirely to music, when he was engaged by Lille Bror Söderlundh for Borlänge Music School. Thanks to the clarinet-player Claes Merithz Pet- tersson, teacher at the same school and married to a girl from Västervik, the whole family then moved to Västervik. There he worked as the head of the music School and as conductor of the Västervik Orchestra, the Stegeholm Choir as well as the Västervik Male Choir. (Claes Merithz is the conductor of the Hartmann and Vieuxtemps concerts on this edition.)
Dad, unfortunately you never got the chance, like Jussi Björling, to sing for the opera director, John Forsell. There is however a small connection in the fact that his grandson, the fantastic photographer Jacob Forsell, has portrayed you and me together in Västervik in 1970, the year when my real career started – and then in 2013 myself in Rättvik, where I now live, after the end of my career.
Dad, you stayed on in Västervik until the end of your life, in 2004, and this album is dedicated to you, listening in the audience to the concerts when recorded in Leksand, Kalmar, Stockholm and Hedemora.
Sven Karpe and André Gertler are also in my thoughts. Between the years 1957 and 1966, Professor Sven Karpe played an important role in my development as a violinist. His dedicated work in taking care of young, talented violin students from all over Sweden and bringing them together in inspiring summer courses was invaluable. I was lucky to be able to participate in Kall, Råå, Ljungskile and Lysekil. Not only did we have intensive violin studies but we also got theory lessons by Esther Bodin-Karpe.
The course in Lysekil, however, nearly ended in a catastrophe. I was sitting on a rock when a high wave suddenly pulled me into the sea. It was impossible to climb back ashore on the slippery rocks, and I scratched my fingertips all bloody. Fortunately two young men happened to pass and they pulled me up. Thanks to you, unknown helpers! I practiced very little that summer course.
A few years later, two friends from that course, Lisbeth Bertilsson and Sonja Andersson, gave a first performance of my little duo for two violins that I composed in 1963. One review states that Bartók perhaps was my favorite, which he became, sure enough, ten years later, when I studied the violin for a friend and duo-partner of his, Professor André Gertler in Brussels and won the 1st Prize in Budapest 1973 with his Violin Concerto No. 2 in the final round.
Bandi, pet name for Endre in Hungary, it is now fifteen years since I lost you, in 1998, after having had, for 28 years, your musical and moral support. As your student I would like to share with future generations what you told me about interpreting Bartók’s music. Here are some brief examples:
• In the very beginning of the Violin Concerto No. 2, the solo part should preferably be played neither on the G-string nor fortissimo, which can seem exaggerated after the soft opening bars of the harp.
• A quarter-note with a dot under the note should not be played as a thirty-second, (which is sometimes heard). In that case Bartók would have written so.
• Play all fast notes detaché, without using spiccato bowing (jumping). Bartók said: ”Spiccato is a kind of bowing, not music”.
• Use the glissando only for the musical expression, not because Bartók was born in Hungary, which might lead you to think that his music was inspired by the Romanies, who much favor charming glis- sandi, suited to their own music style. Bartok and Gertler gave a concert in Hungary on the birthday of the composer, and that night a group of Romanies played beneath Bartok’s window, as a tribute. He then said to Gertler: “If they only knew how little a like their music!” But of course he appeared and thanked them for their tribute.
• As for Bartók’s metronome notations, the idea is to respect the difference between e.g. 100’ in comparison with 60’ – not that you always need to play as fast as it is noted.
An anecdote: Gertler was practicing with his quartet one of Bartók’s string quartets, but he did not agree with some of the tempi notations. He wrote to ask Bartók, who answered that there was something wrong with his metronome and then sent four large pages of corrections (copy at page 5). And once we’re in Hungary I would like to quote Zoltán Kodály’s answer to the question when to start playing. “In grandmother’s womb” was the answer.
Last but not least I would like to thank Christer Eklund for the three CD-boxes, a total of 10 CDs. What joy you have afforded with your proficiency, so that all this can be saved for posterity. Thanks to Jens Cameron and Fredrik Storm for lending and distributing Bo Hansson’s tapes from Opus 3. Also thanks to Maggie Eklund for the translation of all the texts, and Jacob Forsell for wonderful photos.