Einstein's Violin Sold
Interestingly, Einstein's violin just sold at Bonham's. Since Bonham's doesn't deal in musical instruments any longer, it was sold in the category of "Extraordinary Books and Manuscripts". New record for an American violin.
VIOLIN BELONGING TO ALBERT EINSTEIN.
Violin with spruce top, maple sides, back and neck, carved scroll headstock, 1933,
Sold for US$ 516,500 inc. premium
Wow possibly the highest price ever paid for a Markneukirchen workshop instrument.
American amateur-made, it seems: https://www.bonhams.com/press_release/25709/
I suspect the buyer wouldn't care if it's even playable.
Why should I be surprised? It’s Einstein.
The best part of this whole thing is knowing Einstein was the kind of person who would take his time to get to know a janitor and gift one of his own violins to the janitor’s son.
That's true. And obviously the price was neither paid for beauty nor grammar.
How well did Mr Einstein play? I recall reading that he played a lot of chamber music.
I once tried to find Einstein’s playing level but failed. Would be very interested in knowing how he played.
The fact that there wasn’t a single video, or even audio recording of Einstein’s performance may tell something too.
Kiki - I have seen that quote attributed to Schnabel.
Wow! At that price I hope it sounds er, RELATIVELY good! :-D
... an the twin brother will return from space anytime now with Einstein's 2nd violin, made by the same maker. Then we can compare 2 violins and finally test the theory that the sound improves with time!
How many amateurs are you aware of, even famous ones, who were recorded?
You don't have to search very hard to find a recording of Einstein performance of Mozart Sonata in B Flat maj K.378 on YouTube.
And like much of the internet it's fake. April fools I believe.
@Lydia no footage or recordings cannot confirm anything, but it contributes to the probability, given that every other aspect of his life was recorded and documented, and that music was reportedly an important aspect of his life. We all know how famous he is.
Bohuslav Martinu dedicated his Madrigals to Einstein, and the two would trade correspondence. The Madrigals are a little tricky rhythmically, but a conservatory student should be able to perform them without too much issue. Einstein did play the pieces as well as at least one Mozart sonata with pianist Robert Casadesus, so either he was pretty decent, or Casadesus was pretty gracious.
I am so glad to read a post from Raphael and now know that he is alive and well!!
How well did Einstein play? I remember reading an article on him many years ago that told the story of him getting to play with a well know Quartet and sitting in first chair. The article mentioned that the other musicians eventually got frustrated and asked: "Professor, do you know how to count?" Not sure if the story is accurate but I have to admit it made me laugh.
An earlier American "scientist", who had been mentioned by some biographers as "one of the best violinists of his day", is Thomas Jefferson. https://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/violins.