Monday, July 11, 2011

Stradivarius Violins Pizzicato At My Heartstrings

The "Lady Blunt" Stradivarius Violin recently sold at auction for $15.9M, the highest price paid for a Stradivari violin ever, nearly quadrupling the previous record.

Why so much, you ask?

The auction house put together this short informative video:

Being that I'm an instrument fetishist, talking about this sort of thing is the fast track to getting my britches all messy, but I suspect my appreciation of Antonio Stradivari goes even deeper than simple luthier lust.

I'm Italian, and, historically speaking, the pursuit of perfection in life's pleasures is our M.O. (in comparison to, say, the Azerbaijani, or those dreadful bores, the Swiss.) Whether it be food, film, craft, art, love, or music—if it brings pleasure to the senses, it's worth spending lifetimes obsessing over. This doesn't always work out for the best, mind you. Sometimes you get Nutella, or the Ferrari GTO 250, and other times, well, you're stuck with Berlusconi. 

But I digress.

Stradivari chased perfection from the start of his apprenticeship under master Nicolò Amati on through the construction of over 1,000 instruments that bore the Stradivarius label—he made it his life's work. Centuries later, no one has matched that work. As someone who usually remains immune to the follies of patriotism, this type of thing becomes the glaring exception. A contribution as such to humankind makes me truly proud to be Stradivari's compatriot.

Getting back to simple luthier lust for a moment, here's renowned Israeli violinist Ivry Gitlis gushing unabashedly about the perfection of his Strad:

Also, if you get off on stuff like this, you should watch The Red Violin, a nice film inspired (if only for the appearance of the titular object) by the Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius. 

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