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Following the melodies of strings lead us

Posted January. 28, 2023 07:42,   

Updated January. 28, 2023 07:42


An instrument made more than three centuries ago is considered not just passable but the best of its kind in terms of quality: a violin made in Cremona, Italy, represented by the legendary luthier Stradivari family. The Messiah - Salabue Stradivarius, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1716, is known to be worth more than 20 million U.S. dollars.

The author, a British writer specializing in Italian culture, was captivated by the sound of a violin, a violin played on that specific day to be more precise, at a concert held in a small town in Wales. The violinist called the instrument "Lev's Violin" after the previous owner's name. He said that he bought the fiddle in Russia but that the Cremona-made instrument was assessed worthless. Upon that moment, the author begins her journey tracing back the paths of that violin and its contemporary friends born in Cremona have followed.

After following the tracks of legendary luthier families from Cremona, such as Amatis, Stradivaris, and Guarneris, the author visits the Alpine forest of spruce trees, which were used to make the front part of the instrument's wooden body. Those trees were delivered via the river Po to Venice, where the merchants sorted out those of the best quality. They needed the highest-quality trees because both the violins and the boat masts had to be made with those without any slubs.

As violin making stops being a regional specialty in Cremona and becomes widespread in Italy, the story also moves on to musical instrument dealers and collectors who replaced the legendary luthiers from Cremona. The next-generation connoisseur of fine violins G.B. Guuadagnini helped the notable violin collector Count Cozio to get those masterpieces from Cremona. Those works of art owned by Cozio then flew into the hands of the famous 19th-century violin trader Tarisio and yet again onto the renowned French violin maker Vuillaume. Tracing back the "meandering" history of those legendary pieces, the author also rigorously probes into how Lev's Violin ended up in Britain after flowing into the southern part of Russia.

However, the truth about Lev's Violin was more than just surprising. A dendrochronologist, or tree-ring expert, determined that the violin was not a Cremona made but made in Germany in the mid-19th century. Still, the devotion and passion for the musical instrument presented the author with extensive knowledge about the violin and unforgettable memories and us with this captivating book called "Lev's Violin (2021)."