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» So many jokes have been written about the viola that it really should be pitied. Without a look of its own (the viola resembles an overweight violin), without its own sound quality (it shares three-quarter of the violin notes, three-quarter of the cello notes), stuck behind the violins in the orchestra, the poor viola is hardly singular. In fact, when Hector Berlioz wrote solo viola into the Harold In Italy symphony, Paganini refused to play it. And the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, noting how the viola shared the looks and music of other stringed instruments, called the instrument "the hermaphrodite of the orchestra".
» It's encore time for Clara-Jumi Kang. When the formidable Korean violinist appeared here last year, playing Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, critic James Keller praised her "truly authoritative and highly sensitive musical command". This coming Saturday, Kang has changed her violin, modified her feelings and changed her music from the very proper early 19th century Mendelssohn to a rare highly romantic surprise written 50 years later.
» Historian Jan Morris once wrote about Montenegro: "At first sight is the sheer face up the formidable rock rampart that rings the heart of Montenegro. For centuries people have come this way with trepidation: on mules, frightened of bandits; on cavalry horses, terrified of guerrillas; in troop carriers, wary of partisans; and now in tourist coaches and rented cars, heart-in-mouth at the prospect."
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