“The Baroque Violin & Viola: A Fifty-Lesson Course.”

November 17, 2020, 8:58 AM · Hello!
I am writing to draw your attention to my new publication, “The Baroque Violin & Viola: A Fifty-Lesson Course.”

This unique book, published in two volumes by Oxford University Press (USA) offers the would-be Baroque violinist and violist, as well as the curious ‘modern’ player, a comprehensive course in ‘Historically Informed Performance.’ In this book, the reader is guided step-by-step through seminal works of the violin repertoire including Sweelinck, Faronell, Fontana, Castello, Pandofi Mealli, Corelli, Vivaldi, Geminiani, Albinoni, Schmelzer, Biber, Couperin, Handel and Bach.

As you can see from the attached flyer, the book has been endorsed by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, William Christie, Rachel Podger and Isabelle Faust.

In the ‘Observations’ sections of the Lessons there are bar-by-bar analyses of the musical text, with interpretive and technical suggestions, pertinent quotations from historical sources and thoughts on the holistic approach to playing. There are 125 specially devised Exercises to help broaden an understanding of a vast range of issues.

The subject of Rhetoric, at the heart of the Baroque way of playing, pervades the book; the starting point is the playing of words, reproducing their rhythms, stresses, consonants and vowels, with the help of audio clips. The study of the early Baroque sonata is preceded by an examination of its origins in vocal music: thus the historical transition from vocal to instrumental music is re-enacted within the experience of the reader. The advice to copy the human voice, ubiquitously referred to in the sources, is a dominant theme of the book.

The identification and communication of emotions and the means to achieve this is taught throughout the book, starting with the cultivation of responses to simple intervals and the ‘Emotional Information’ these contain.
There are five Modules on Ornamentation, four ‘Interludes’ of historical and cultural interest and Lessons focusing on topics as diverse as temperament, shifting, vibrato and dance.

Developed over many years of teaching, the effectiveness of this course of Lessons has been well established. The writing style is informal, accessible and authoritative, appealing to professional and amateur musicians alike. The scores, transcribed for both violin and viola, are published on the website, and there are six accompanying videos.

I believe that, in this day and age, historically informed performance is relevant to all instrumentalists and may be considered a vital part of today’s training in Conservatories around the world.

I hope you will find this information of interest and of benefit to all those who enjoy this site!.For more information, contact me at baroquelessons@yahoo.com

With sincere regards,

Walter S Reiter, Professor of Baroque Violin and Baroque Viola at The Royal Conservatory of the Hague and at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London.


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