PLEDGE NOW
History Of The Viola

We’ll hear a thousand years of rich, deep music and history. The history of the viola.

Garth Knox on the Medieval Fiddle (Dániel Vass / ECM Records)

Garth Knox on the Medieval Fiddle (Dániel Vass / ECM Records)

In the world of stringed instruments, the humble viola takes some hard knocks.  It’s not the virtuoso’s violin.  Not the soulful cello.  It’s in between.  A little gawky.  Earthy.  Hard to get just right.  “What is the range of a viola?” goes the old joke.  “As far as you can kick it.”

But the viola hangs in.  The “middle voice.”  It was there in medieval days, with praise and visions.  Dance.  And it’s there now, with a new sound.

This hour, On Point:  A thousand years of the earthy “middle voice” – the viola.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Garth Knox, a prize-winning violist and composer. His new collection of works is: “Salterello.”

From Tom’s Reading List

Guardian “The viola is emerging from the shadows: Garth Knox’s utterly original recital combines its dusky tones in new music – by Kaija Saariaho (with electronics) and Knox himself (a flash of moody Piazzolla) – with music for the larger viola d’amore and medieval fiddle.”

NPR “A lot of babies were thrown out with the bath water,” he says in an interview with All Things Considered host Robert Siegel. “And I thought the viola d’amore was a particularly big baby that had been thrown away by mistake. I and others are trying to bring it back and show just how beautiful it can be.”

VIOLA JOKES: How do you keep your violin from getting stolen? Put it in a viola case. Check out more viola jokes here and post your favorites in the comments section here.

Video

Viola Spaces no 6 – Harmonic horizon – Garth Knox

Video

Kaija Saariaho’s “Vent nocturne,” for viola and electronics – performed by Garth Knox

Playlist

Salterello #1 (14th Century Traditional)
Viola Spaces Movement #4, “Rapid Repeat” (2009 Garth Knox)
Ave, generosa (12th Century Hildegard von Bingen)
Pipe, Harp, and Fiddle (Traditional)
Music for a While (1692 Henry Purcell)
Concerto for viola d’amore in D minor, #1 (18th Century Antonio Vivaldi)
Black Brittany (early 19th Century Traditional)
Flow my Tears (16th Cenutry John Dowland)
Viola Spaces, #8 “Up, Down, Sideways, Round” (2009 Garth Knox)
Vent nocturne #2 (2007 Kaija Saariaho)
Fuga libre (2009 Garth Knox)
Salterello #2 (14th Century Traditional)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 3, 2015
A television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the decision of the Federal Reserve, on July 29, 2015. The Federal Reserve may raise interest rates soon. (Richard Drew/AP)

Should the Fed finally raise interest rates? In spite of the stock market roller coaster? We’ll dig into the Fed weighing the end of free money.

Sep 3, 2015
Journalists protest the murder of photojournalist Ruben Espinosa Becerril in Mexico City, on Aug. 2, 2015. (Marco Ugarte/AP)

Three Vice News journalists arrested in Turkey. A wave of journalists in prison. In graves. We’ll look at journalists worldwide under pressure.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 2, 2015
Actor Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar, in the Netflix Original Series "Narcos." (Daniel Daza/Netflix via AP)

A new Netflix series “Narcos” takes on the story of the rise of the “King of Cocaine” — Pablo Escobar. We’ll look at drug trafficking then and now.

 
Sep 2, 2015
Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley addresses the summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Minneapolis. (Jim Mone/AP)

We talk to Martin O’Malley, former Maryland governor and now Democratic candidate for the presidency. He’s been tough on Trump – and on his fellow Democrats.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Martin O’Malley On The ‘Rigged’ Democratic Debates, And What America Needs
Wednesday, Sep 2, 2015

Former Baltimore mayor and Democratic Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has single digits in the polls in Iowa but is out there swinging. He joined host Tom Ashbrook on Wednesday.

More »
3 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: August 28, 2015
Friday, Aug 28, 2015

You say #hashtag, we say, #forwhat? That, plus Usain Bolt and the ominous lurking Segway cameraman. Friday!

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 21, 2015
Friday, Aug 21, 2015

Do you even click? (And other reflections on link sharing and web commenting).

More »
6 Comments