Antonio Stradivarius

by youyezeng

As I was reading the textbook, I noticed a name: Antonio Stradivarius. His name was mentioned when the author talks about improvements in the technology of instrument making, which has led to the rise of instrumental music in the Baroque era. In the book, the author says that “the name of Antonio Stradivarius is known to many because of auctions where prices soar into the millions for one of his violins…”. I was shocked and did a quick search and get the following results:

“On 14 October 2010, a 1697 Stradivari violin known as “The Molitor” was sold online by Tarisio Auctions for a world-record price of $3,600,000 to renowned concert violinist Anne Akiko Meyers: at the time it price was the highest for any musical instrument sold at auction.

On 21 June 2011, a 1721 Stradivari violin known as “Lady Blunt” was auctioned by Tarisio to an anonymous bidder for £9,808,000 with all proceeds going to help the victims of the Japan earthquake.”

Why are his instruments so expensive? And since it’s so expensive, who can afford playing with it?

The Answer is, no matter how expensive an item is, there is always people who are able and willing to buy. Yo-Yo Ma currently uses the Davidov Stradivarius.  Mstislav Rostropovich played on the Duport Stradivarius. Also, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra uses several Stradivari instruments, which are purchased by the Austrian National Bank.

Stradivarius’s works do not only interests musicians, they have also caught the attention of the scientists. Twelve French and Germany experts have studied carefully of the layer of the varnish on the violin for four years, only to conclude that the ingredients on the varnish are just normal red paints used a lot by Italian artists at the time. They had to admit that they were nowhere near piercing the secret of Stradivarius’ instruments.

You can find the video of those scientists talk about their research here.