Five kinds of violins unfamiliar to most concert-goers were heard at the Sanders Theatre Concert on Sunday with the Boston Society playing compositions ranging from 16th Century dances to Handel on a descant violin, a treble violin, a viola da gamba, and a violone. All of these look very similar to modern instruments except the viola da gamba ("Viol of the leg") which is a small 'cello resting on the knee.
At the other extreme of modernity was the electric violin employed in Bowles' "The Wind Remains." This device consists of a piece of wood, strung with violin strings, but lacking the sound-box. The vibrations of the strings are electrically amplified through a loudspeaker system, producing a very full tone. Bowles' composition featured several other unusual instruments--Chinese gong, temple blocks, chimes, auto horn, and a milk bottle tapped with a key, but unlike many experiments in exotic instrumentation, contained a lot of sincere writing.
Leonard Bernstein '39 conducted the modern half of the program, including the Stravinsky concerto "Dumbarton Oaks," whose changes of time, every few measures, from 5/4 to 7/8 to 11/16, make it a very difficult piect to conduct. Mr. Bernstein, however, handled these rhythmical difficulties with perfect precision and firmness.