A parting shot against fiddle bows

On Slipped Disc, Norman Lebrecht reports that Jair Bolsanaro, defeated last week in his bid for re-election as president of Brazil, has called on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora to outlaw trade in pernambuco, the wood of choice for violin bows.

Conductor Simon Rattle and cellist Yo-Yo Ma are leading a campaign against a ban.

“Bow makers say only 200 trees a year are affected and they have taken measures to renew the plantations,” Lebrecht writes. “Why the anti-environment Bolsonaro is pursuing this measure is unknown.”

Rattle leads musicians in outcry against Brazil ban on wood for bows

‘I’ve gotten pretty old, but I don’t think about it’

Herbert Blomstedt, at 95 the oldest conductor still active on the international circuit, looks back on a career of nearly 70 years, on being one of the last living ear-witnesses to podium “demigods” of the past such as Arturo Toscanini and Wilhelm Furtwängler, on his selectivity in choosing what to conduct, and on his aversion to interpretative exaggeration.

“Many of my colleagues have the ambition and the desire to play everything, because they think otherwise they wouldn’t be a ‘complete’ conductor. [They play] a little bit from every style. That’s understandable, but it’s not my goal. I play what I find most deep,” he tells VAN magazine’s Harmut Welscher: 

Holding the Center