I’m still digging into the dusty archives at the Universität van der Bildt and just found a rare account of Katrin von Plummer playing her viola. She obviously found not a normal viola, but a viola pomposa molto grande con panna e cioccolata (see photo below for a view, unfortunately without the whipped cream and chocolate, since Ludwig’s “Italienisches Kaffeehaus und Konditorei” went out of business the day before its grande opening). Despite von Kimber’s concerns for his student’s health (she was allergic to chocolate), Katrin insisted on attempting to play this oversized instrument.

Fräulein von Plummer demonstrating her consummate mastery of the viola

Katrin steadfastly maintained, to the eve of her untimely demise (more of this later) that J. S. Bach composed his 6th suite for the viola pomposa molto grande con panna e cioccolata; if this is true, one has to wonder who other than Katrin von Plummer might ever have played it on this delicious instrument?

I must sadly report that Katrin has been held responsible, and may someday be sued posthumously, for an unauthorized viola pomposa molto grande transcription of Paganini’s 24 Caprices. However, no evidence has been found indicating that she ever performed this music in public, despite the likelihood that she would surely have attempted such things in private (well beyond earshot of the formidable Herr von Kimber, who would have envied her ability to do so and consequently would have forbidden her pursuit of such “Frivolität”).

More information will follow, as I have just located considerable accounts of Katrin von Plummer’s magnificent, though short-lived, mastery of the viola pomposa molto grande.

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