My First Seven Years (Plus a Few More) by Dario Fo, Joseph Farrell

By Dario Fo, Joseph Farrell

Author note: Joseph Farrell (Translator)

An notable coming-of-age memoir by means of the Nobel-Prize-winning playwright

My First Seven Years is Dario Fo's very good, spell binding memoir of his early life spent in Northern Italy at the seashores of Lago Maggiore. As a toddler, Fo grew up in a picturesque village teeming with glass-blowers, smugglers and storytellers. Of his teenage years, Fo recounts the struggles of the Fascists and Partisans, the years of worldwide struggle II, and his personal tragicomic event attempting to wilderness the Fascist military.

In a sequence of colourful vignettes, Fo attracts us right into a awesome youth full of characters and anecdotes that may turn into the foundation for his personal inventive genius.

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6 cm) remained essentially unchanged. 02 cm) and thinner (by c. 18 mm) neck and set it at an angle of 4–5 degrees from the body of the instrument (with the level of the nut just below that of the table),6 thus eliminating the need for an impossibly cumbersome wedge between fingerboard and neck, in order to enable the fingerboard closely to follow the angle of the strings for clear tone production (see Fig. 1). 25 cm) and resultant tonal benefits. The typical neck of most original Baroque and early Classical violins protruded from the instrument roughly at right angles to the ribs; it was generally glued to the body and secured by three nails driven from inside the block.

He eventually concluded that pernambuco wood (Caesalpinia echinata) best satisfied these requirements. 50 Tourte also standardised the length and weight of bows of the violin family, determining the ideal length of the violin bowstick to be 74–5 cm (providing a playing length of approximately 65 cm and a balance point about 19 cm above the frog) and the optimum overall weight as about 56– 60 g, somewhat lightweight by modern standards. Viola bows were slightly shorter (c. 3–61 cm) and heavier still.

The leader dominated the quartet, unless it was one of the all-star ensembles which arose from time to time. One famous Viennese group headed its programmes: ‘Hellmesberger Quartet with the assistance of Messrs Math. Durst, Carl Heissler, Carl Schlesinger’. The role of the primarius was often blatantly superior musically, as such composers as Spohr and Rode favoured the quatuor brillant in which the other three parts provided little more than a background for the first violin. If the players in professional quartets gradually became more equal, this change was due as much to the kind of music being written as to any democratisation of the musical profession.

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