The Carpenters boast about having appeared at 'the most expensive concert in history', where they played eight Strads
with a combined worth of US$120 million.
The instrument has not changed fundamentally since then, unlike woodwind, brass or keyboard instruments.' He suggests that the undying supremacy of these two makers is owing partly to rarity--there are only about 140 Guarneri instruments still in existence, and perhaps 100 Stradivari violins of interest to an investor--and partly to two violinists: Giovanni Battista Viotti (1755-1824; he played a Strad
) and Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840), who preferred the richer, darker sound of his Guarneri.
is made of wood and glue, but an almost alchemical transfiguration has taken place to make it more than the sum of its parts.
It knows where the last strad
was by measurements recorded [via hand-held computer] in the yard map.
So writes Ernest Doting in the impressively titled: How Many Strads
? Our Heritage From the Master; A Tribute to the Memory of a Great Genius, compiled in the year marking the Tercentenary of his birth; being a Tabulation of Works Believed to Survive Produced in Cremona by Antonio Stradivari, Between 1666 and 1737, including relevant data and mention of his two sons, Francesco and Omobono.
Stringed instruments have traditional strings made of wound cat gut (rather than the now-pervasive steel), giving a softer, lighter sound than the souped-up Strads
you hear in a big hall.
Around 600 Strads
are still around but mostly in private hands, insured to t he hilt for well over pounds 1million and identifiable by their fine dark red to amber varnish.
As for their own instruments, they don't possess a matched set of Stainers, or Strads
, or Amatis but are happy with what they have.
They include the Rutson Stringed Instruments -- over 300 old violins, violas and cellos by the greatest makers, including no less than six Strads
; the Padbrook Collection (donated by John Webb) -- one of the finest collections of 18th- and 19th-century brasswind instruments; the Kenneth Mobbs Collection of Historic Keyboard Instruments -- widely used for concerts and recordings by leading artists; and the Academy's general collection.
J., Ishmael Reed, Gundars Strads
, and Shawn Wong, eds.