Monday, April 09, 2007

"Strad Made New Fiddles'

In any field of endeavor (science, music, religion), it can be a trap to go back and revere their performance with nostalgia and a big dose of unreality.

John Marchese notes this propensity, in his New York Times article, ‘Second Fiddle to an Old Master’. He records that $2.7 million was paid on 2 April 2007 for a 268 year old Stradivari violin. Music author, John Marchese admits that some of these expensive instruments don’t quite add up to their billing and many expert players cannot tell the difference between a Stradivari and a new model.

He calls the violin a ‘tool’ to be played not a relic to lie in display cases for people to fawn over. The article makes this point well when it concludes with an anecdote about Sam Zygmuntowicz. This violin maker carves away each day in Brooklyn, [and] likes to remind his customers of a fact so obvious it is often overlooked. He’s even made it into a pin and stuck it over his workbench. It reads, “Strad Made New Fiddles.”

Geoff Pound

Source: John Marchese, ‘Second Fiddle to an Old Master’, New York Times, April 7 2007.

Image: The Stradivari that went for a mere $2.7 million at Christie’s this month.