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Here is some music for an early January afternoon. The settecento is filled with wonderful violin music, but the real gem of the epoch is Pietro Antonio Locatelli’s L’arte del violino, published as opus 3 in Amsterdam in 1733. We usually associate the virtuoso violin with the epoch of Paginini, but a century earlier, Locatelli was doing unimaginable things with a violin, and building a series of concertos around his technical virtuosity. There are twelve concertos in the opus, and each features a virtuoso capriccio in which the violinist is challenged to a new kind of artistry. There are a number of recordings of the opus 3, including a memorable one by Suzanne Lautenbacher with the Mainz Chamber Orchestra (Vox CD X 5018), but one wins hands down, and it involves period instruments to boot: Elizabeth Wallfisch with the Raglan Baroque Players in a Hyperion recording from 1993 (Hyperion CD A66721/3). Here is the first concerto, famous for its vexatiously difficult bowing (note the slurred staccato in the capriccio to the second movement), it introduces the opus with real panache. Elizabeth Wallfisch performs on a baroque violin, made around 1750 by Petrus Paulus de Vitor in Brescia.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Number of mine-detecting monkeys erroneously reported to have been given to the United States by Morocco in March:
The Pacific trade winds are weakening as a result of global warming.
In the United States, legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act was advanced by the House Ways and Means Committee after 18 hours of deliberation, during which time the Republican members of Congress passed around candy.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."