I was about to post an article on the violin schools when I received from my dear and admired friend, the violinist Emilio Mateu, a youtube link that has livened up my days. It is called “The Art of the Violin” and features all the great violinists of recent times, since 1940. With the exception of Fritz Kreisler, I have heard all of them in live performances.
I had begun to write something about the different schools of the violin, starting with Corelli, Pugnani and Viotti up until the present, but this video has prompted me to take the opposite path. I now find it much more entertaining to follow the line backwards to show how all the nationalist and non-nationalist schools can be traced to the same origin, Giovanni Battista VIOTTI.
Let’s take an example, the most distant one, geographically speaking. The Russian school, which has yielded such glorious violinists as Heifetz, Milstein, Elman. All of them, I refer to the oldest ones, were students or disciples of Aver, who in turn was a student of Joachim and going even farther back, of Böhm, and Rode, who in turn descends, in terms of the violin, from Viotti.
The father of the Hungarian school could be Hubay, professor of Szigeti Von Versey (to whom Sibelius dedicated his concerto), of André Gertler, Eugene Ormandy, later a great orchestra conductor, and Hubay himself, a direct descendant of Joachim, Böhm, Rode and Viotti.
Of the Belgian school, the last and greatest representative is Arthur Grumiaux, an extraordinary musician, violinist and excellent performer of Mozart, who was a student of Alfred Dubois, who like E. Ysaÿe was a disciple of Vieuxtemps, in turn a pupil of de Benoit and thus arriving back to Viotti.
Viotti was, in addition, the counselor to the bow constructor Tourte who gave today’s bow its definitive form.
In my case, my maestros were my father, Agustin Leon Villaverde, who studied with Fernandez Bordas, himself a student of Monasterio, de Bériot, Rode and Viotti. And in another branch, Fernandez Bordas – Sarasate, Allard, Habenek, Baillot, Rode and Viotti, Albert Sammons, who cannot be attached to any school since he was self-taught, and Gertler.
This family tree was drawn up by a student, Elisabet Batallé, whose final year project was entitled “From Agustin Leon Ara to Corelli”. You can judge for yourselves and you will see that in all cases, we go back to the same origin, to Viotti and at the same time Corelli.