I had the opportunity to shoot a Stradivarius violin the other night that was temporarily on loan to the Charleston Symphony Orchestra for a Masterworks Concert to premiere a new Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, titled “Under an Indigo Sky” by composer Edward Hart and wonderfully played by Concertmaster and Artistic Director, Yuriy Bekker – under the direction of guest conductor Darko Butorac.
Most Stradivarius instruments often assume the name of their current or previous owner – like “The Lady Blunt” named for it’s owner Lady Anne Blunt, the granddaughter of Lord Byron; or the “Red Mendelssohn” named for the Mendelssohn family (which inspired the movie, ”The Red Violin”) both built during what is considered Stradivari’s Golden Period from 1700 to about the mid 1720’s. This early violin is known as the Ex-Nachez, named for a previous owner, Hungarian born concert violinist & composer, Tivadar Nachez. It was built in 1686 where all Stradivari masterpieces were created, Cremona, Italy. During his working life, Stradivari created no more than 1100 stringed instruments including violins, violas, celli, harps, mandolins and a few guitars. All were individually handmade and of the 1100, only about 650 individuals still exist.
I’ve always been fascinated by these truly phenomenal instruments. The craftsmanship, the excellence and exquisite attention to detail is always something to admire and inspire.