Monday, June 11, 2007

Andrea Mosconi: Keeping our Gifts in Tune

In Cremona, Italy, the city that has produced the best violins ever made, there is a man by the name of Andrea Mosconi who for the past 30 years, six days a week, has played 300-year-old violins, worth millions of dollars.

"I have to pay attention," the seventy-five year old musician said. "You have to give your best with these instruments. They make you sweat."

He had just finished playing a few lines of Bach on the most valuable piece in this town's small but significant collection of locally made stringed instruments: a violin made in 1715 by Antonio Stradivari.

Mosconi—starts his work at 8 a.m., an hour before the museum opens. He stores his tools in a tastefully concealed closet: two bows, resin, baby-soft cotton rags and jugs of distilled water for the humidifier that keeps the air at the perfect moisture to preserve the instruments.

Getting down to work, he carefully removes each instrument. He tunes them, then plays each for six or seven minutes. He starts with scales and arpeggios, then something more substantial.

"A great instrument should get great music and also a great performer," he said.

A violin needs to be played, just as a car needs to be driven. Just as our gifts need to be exercised to keep them in tune.

For the source and more detail on this story check this link:

Ian Fisher, Fingers of Italian, 75, keep most treasured violins fit, June 3, 2007, New York Times News Service

Image: Andrea Mosconi.