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The Absolute End of the Old vs. New Debate. (probably)

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Published: April 11, 2014 at 4:10 AM [UTC]

Definitely (not) the last word on old versus new violins.
I`m good with violins. As a youngster buying my first good instrument I lined up a wide selection of instruments in exact order of value without any reference to the price labels. Annoying to the parent who then had to get the expensive one. Then I got my first copy of Hill`s book on the `Life and Work of Stradivari.` Couldn`t really understand the text but every time I looked at one of those color plates I felt like I`d been punched in the gut. Still have the same feeling when I see a great violin including those by Burgess et al. It`s almost painful. So why would there actually be any real difference between a great modern maker and a Stradivarius? Well, here are some not so interesting life experiences of mine.

Visited Kyoto`s most famous white stone zen garden. Accumulated ki (chi) made my hands swell up dramatically.
Visited a tunnel in Okinawa where hundreds of Japanese soldiers committed suicide together. Atmosphere so painful it took days to get back to normal.
Visited my healer friends home and where no creature of any kind is ever killed. Air seems fresher, more alive than other houses.
Witness friends dog with cracked vertebrae healed by a week of energy transmitted through the hands. No touching. Before and after x-rays verify.
And so on...

So what happens in a concert? A soloist is an entity through whom music flows; someone who seems to have activated substantially more than 5 percent of the brain; someone who is so deeply in touch with the sounds of the universe that just one note can resonate within thousands of people at a time so they vibrate in tune with it. Someone who, by some arcane mystery, seems to have reached back into the past and pulled it into the present so that a dead composer returns to touch us with his energy and mutter `Shoot. Did I really write that?`
With all this magisterial energy flowing around does a violin really sit on its arse saying `well, I like being rubbed but actually I`m just here for the ride. You guys go ahead and enjoy your party?` I don`t think so. As a living breathing entity it makes like Bruce Lee and absorbs what is useful to its very core. So a violin that has repeatedly had this experience in the hands of Paganini, Heifetz, Kreisler, Ysaye et al. Has within it a life force that a great soloist feels and responds to, making them stretch themselves to find more. To see what is really there. Evoking in them treasured memories of past concerts and adding new ones.
Contemporary instruments have not yet been fully exposed to this ascension although they make very clear that is where they are going. So in 100, 150 years time the instruments of the great modern makers will be the Stradivari and Guarneri we all yearn for. Bit frustrating for the maker not to see the full fruits of their art which is why reincarnation becomes necessary. This explains why violin makers are instinctively not serial killers or bank robbers. If they subsequently reincarnate as dogs they will not be allowed in concert halls to see their children in full bloom. Way ahead of their predecessors I suspect...
If you don`t quite get this I can assure you I was told of it by by an all powerful deity. She is in the second row on the left of the photo , the one in the pink tutu.

From Seraphim Protos
Posted on April 14, 2014 at 4:14 PM
So, if I can get Joshua Bell to "lay his hands on" my Chinese violin for a while, it will ascend to the astral planes of tonal bliss?

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on April 14, 2014 at 10:40 PM
Of course. As long as he plays in Chinese.

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