Lionel Tertis

October 2006
40 black and white illustrations
456 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Library eBook
Boydell Press

Lionel Tertis

The First Great Virtuoso of the Viola

John White


Hardback out of stock

eBook for Handhelds
This new biography examines the life and work of Lionel Tertis, almost solely responsible for the rise of the viola in the twentieth century.
Lionel Tertis [1876-1975] stands in the company of Ysaÿe, Kreisler, Casals, Thibaud and Rubinstein as one of the greatest instrumentalists - and arguably the greatest viola player - of all time. Such composers as Arnold Bax, Holst, and Vaughan Williams all wrote significant works for him; he was a member of a number of prominent string quartets; and he was later to design and promote his own 'Tertis model' viola. He is virtually synonymous with the increasing importance of the viola as a solo and recital instrument alongside the violin and the cello.
This biography, the first full-length survey of his life, tells how he rose from humble beginnings to become 'the father of the modern viola'. It explores in detail his long and distinguished career, persuading composers to write works for the viola, arranging existing works for the instrument, editing and performing the music, teaching and coaching in Great Britain, and his performances in the United States.
JOHN WHITE is a prominent viola teacher and performer; in 2000 he was awarded the International Viola Society's highest award for distinguished scholarship and contributions to the viola.

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Keywords: Music

Table of Contents

The Tertis Family
Early Career
The First World War
Chamber Music Players
American Tours
Return to the Royal Academy of Music
The Elgar and Walton Concertos
The BBC Orchestra, Delius, Bax and Vaughan Williams
A Shock Retirement
The Richardson-Tertis Viola
The Second World War
Promoting the Tertis Model Viola
Return to America and Eightieth Birthday Celebrations
Second Marriage and Last Appearance
TV Profile and Ninetieth Birhtday
Final Years


In this exhaustively researched and compellingly written biography John White encapsulates this noble man and artist as never before...White's achievement is to bring not only his subject fully to life but also the times in which he lived via an impressive range of articles, recollections, reviews and letters...magnificent. BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE [Julian Haylock]
A finely woven narrative drawn from a rich array of primary sources. THE OLDIE [Richard Osborne]
White, himself a distinguished violist, has written a highly informed and engaging biography...He offers an abundance of correspondence, articles, personal recollections and tributes; these, complemented by touching photographs, vividly bring to life Tertis's indomitable, sometimes fearsome, yet lovable character and even physical presence...This book is a must for violists and lovers of the instrument, and will interest many beyond this sphere. THE STRAD [Nathaniel Vallois]
With a variety of endearing photographs and a useful discography...the book contains a wealth of characterful detail...many things to be grateful for. CLASSIC RECORD COLLECTOR [Benjamin Ivry]
John White's superb full length biography...all of us with an interest in the heartland of the British musical renaissance should lose no time in getting this book. BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY NEWSLETTER
The detailing and readability of this magnificent book from John White, the doyen of the viola and viola literature, is remarkable...anyone with an interest in the English musical renaissance will find the pages thronged with composers from that era. A well structured, sturdy and fascinating account of a life - a crusade for the viola and its repertoire. MUSIC WEB INTERNATIONAL
This book belongs in the library of every school of music and in the personal library of every serious violist. NEWSLETTER of the CANADIAN VIOLA SOCIETY
Hopefully this book, easily one of the greatest ever written about a violist, will find its way into hundreds of studios and libraries...and put Lionel Tertis' fascinating life and achievements into proper perspective. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN VIOLA SOCIETY

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