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bflat
Mar-25-2009, 10:09am
I was there last week. abundant Strads. etc. Got me to wondering about the Loar. did an on-line search using "Loar" as keyword no results. anyone know if there is a Loar in the NMAH?

Michael Gowell
Mar-25-2009, 12:47pm
Nope. But I can see a tension here...a Loar would be entirely appropriate (presumably grouped with a fiddle and prewar banjo & guitar in an exhibit on American music)...but it would be a shame to take one out of the playing pool.

f5loar
Mar-25-2009, 1:34pm
The CMHF in Nashville does have a few in their vault and they do still have Monroe Loar too. What a shame all that great music that could be made on those vintage Gibsons has been silenced forever. They got a killer Fern too.

mandozilla
Mar-25-2009, 6:21pm
What a shame all that great music that could be made on those vintage Gibsons has been silenced forever.

That is too bad. I can see keeping Big Mon's fireplace poker Loars on exhibit... they are the most significant mandolins in the history of Country Music. :grin:

But any others, well, I think they deserve to be kept in circulation and played by someone lucky enough to be able to own one. Their true beauty is in their sound IMHO and that sound deserves to be heard. ;)

:mandosmiley:

woodwizard
Mar-25-2009, 6:28pm
That is too bad. I can see keeping Big Mon's fireplace poker Loars on exhibit... they are the most significant mandolins in the history of Country Music. :grin:

But any others, well, I think they deserve to be kept in circulation and played by someone lucky enough to be able to own one. Their true beauty is in their sound IMHO and that sound deserves to be heard. ;)

:mandosmiley:

I'm with ya there... I feel exactly the same about that.

Potosimando
Mar-25-2009, 6:56pm
In Venice Italy, which is a little like the Nashville of classical music (hmmm, well not really, but anyway), there is a classy little stringed-instrument museum there, whereby they regularly take the old, old instruments out of their cases and feature them in various concerts around town (not all at once, but rather “in context” of the music for the instrument at hand).

In Cremona, they take the Strads out of their cases (in the Stradivari museum) from time to time, and feature them in concert as well, as I understand it, but I don’t know if this is done as regularly in Cremona as in Venice. The Cremona folks definitely do take the Strads and others out and let notable players have a go at it, when notables pass through town (Cremona is a Mecca-like place for a lot of violinists).

So...trying not to mix up the metaphors to badly here, suffice it to say that there is a lot of concert action in Washington D.C., and I don’t know why a routinely-play-the-darn-thing program couldn’t be put into action there...and elsewhere, of course.

All is not necessarily lost when a fine instrument is thrown into “museum prison”...in fact doing so can be kind of cool...can be that is, if done properly with “other” considerations put into action. At least, there are possibilities for compromise, and for expanding the role of the instrument.

Woody Turner
Mar-25-2009, 7:22pm
"...there is a lot of concert action in Washington D.C., and I don’t know why a routinely-play-the-darn-thing program couldn’t be put into action there..."

Actually, many historic instruments at the Smithsonian ARE played fairly regularly. Here's some copy taken directly from the Web site of the Museum of American History:

"The National Museum of American History is the only museum in the world with an active, long-term program of using its instruments as they were intended by their makers—for live musical performances. To preserve both the instruments and the music, the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society supports four resident ensembles at the Museum: the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, the Smithsonian Chamber Players, the Castle Trio, and the Axelrod String Quartet. Before the nearly thirty concerts presented each season, Smithsonian curators illuminate the musical period and lives of the composers in introductory lectures.

The performances are centered on instruments from the collections, played in styles historically appropriate to the music presented. The repertoire is therefore wide-ranging. Highlights from recent seasons include the complete Beethoven Quartet Cycle played on two sets of instruments, one made by Stradivarius, the other by Amati; Bach sonatas played on a 1745 Dulcken harpsichord and a 1650 Stainer violin; a program of English viol consort music including the Museum's Barak Norman bass viol; and a turn-of-the-century program featuring Paderewski's 1892 Steinway concert grand piano."

Too bad a Loar doesn't inhabit the Smithsonian collection; perhaps the Loar is still too young to have withstood the test of time.

mandozilla
Mar-25-2009, 7:22pm
“museum prison”...

Ha, I like that Potosimando...that's great. :))

There's a little museum in South (maybe North :confused:) Dakota that exhibits antique musical instruments from around the world. :grin:

I believe they too actually have them played in concerts occasionally and I think that's a good thing...they have some really interesting stuff there. ;)

:mandosmiley:

allenhopkins
Mar-25-2009, 7:38pm
Actually, many historic instruments at the Smithsonian ARE played fairly regularly.

Cathy Fink used to have a semi-regular gig playing "folk" instruments from the Smithsonian's collection, to demonstrate them to the public.

Woody Turner
Mar-25-2009, 9:27pm
Although visitors to Washington aren't likely to find a Loar at the Smithsonian, there's lots else here to keep them occupied if they have an interest in bluegrass and/or other roots music. Allen has already mentioned Cathy Fink (and by implication, her musical partner, Marcy Marxer of the Goldtone Cello Banjo). Besides a host of topflight local performers, there are many other attractions. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival has brought in tens of thousands of traditional performers and artisans from around the world since its inception in 1967. A 2-week celebration, it's always held around July 4. And it's FREE! If you're not coming to DC over the 4th, you can always check out the field recordings and other goodies at the Ralf Rinzler Collection at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. You may remember that Rinzler's the guy who made field recordings of Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, and a host of others, helping to bring them international acclaim. You can also stroll over to the Jefferson Bldg. of the Library of Congress and visit the Alan Lomax Collection at the American Folklife Center. Despite being hounded by the FBI for "subversive" inclinations, Lomax interviewed and documented innovators like Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Burl Ives, Pete Seeger, and Jimmy Driftwood, and some of his recorded legacy found its way into Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? He also advised Carl Sagan about including Chuck Berry and Blind Willie Johnson in the cosmic musical greetings aboard the Voyager Spacecraft launched in 1977. Coolidge Auditorium at the LOC occasionally hosts groups like Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver--again, gratis to the public. Also, don't forget about the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, which features free concerts of performers like Jimmy Gaudreau and Orrin Star. And afterhours, you can head out to Wolf Trap, the Birchmere, or the State Theater to hear Sam Bush, Tony Rice, and Tim O'Brien. No freebies there, I'm afraid.

mandozilla
Mar-25-2009, 9:38pm
Cathy Fink used to have a semi-regular gig playing "folk" instruments from the Smithsonian's collection, to demonstrate them to the public.

Wow Allen!
Now that would be a cool job aye? That wouldn't even seem like work to me. :))

:mandosmiley:

Zigeuner
Mar-30-2009, 3:16am
Ha, I like that Potosimando...that's great. :))

There's a little museum in South (maybe North :confused:) Dakota that exhibits antique musical instruments from around the world. :grin:

I believe they too actually have them played in concerts occasionally and I think that's a good thing...they have some really interesting stuff there. ;)

:mandosmiley:

National Music Museum...........

http://www.usd.edu/smm/

And a little more about Lloyd Loar.......

http://www.usd.edu/smm/ElectricInstruments/LoarInstruments/LoarChecklist.html

Michael Gowell
Mar-30-2009, 9:36am
Woody...great post in support of the Smithsonian's programs. But to pick a nit...Ralph Rinzler's field recordings were mostly late '50's-early 60's, weren't they? Monroe certainly didn't owe RR anything - WSM's "field recordings" were already on jukeboxes when Rinzler was still a kid.

Woody Turner
Apr-07-2009, 11:30pm
You may be right, Michael, although it's been suggested that Rinzler helped resuscitate Monroe's career in the early 60s when bluegrass was being displaced by pop and rock. Forgive me for leaning on the not-so-infallible Wiki:

"Under the influence of Ralph Rinzler, a young musician and folklorist from New Jersey who briefly became Monroe's manager in 1963, Monroe gradually expanded his geographic reach beyond the traditional southern country music circuit. Rinzler was also responsible for a lengthy profile and interview in the influential folk music magazine Sing Out! that first publicly referred to Monroe as the "father" of bluegrass. Accordingly, at the first bluegrass festival organized by Carlton Haney at Roanoke, Virginia in 1965, Bill Monroe was the central figure."

On another note, I was attending a reading of local DC authors in an obscure room at the Library of Congress today when my wife pointed to a discrete display case tucked into the side wall. No one else was paying any attention to it. Inside, no further than 18 inches from my nose, rested ~$15 million worth of vintage instruments: four Strads, one Amati, one Guarneri (the Kreisler, no less), and an unattributed cello. If you're ever in DC and visit the original Jefferson Bldg. of the LOC, go to the Whittall Pavilion at ground level and check them out.