December 27, 2011 at 8:26 PMI left Fred Oster's, not with a Kittel, but with an interesting 18th century Klotz violin that fell in the right price range. Curious about how it would fit in, I brought it home for a date. All the relatives gathered round that evening, excited to be able to experience the sound of something so old. Even better, my nine-year-old nephew drew out his own violin and played Christmas carols with me while his mom and grandma worked in the kitchen. We sounded pretty! Christmas Sunday, we played our carols in front of the warm and friendly church congregation for a touching finale to the morning service. Cousin Chrissy accompanied on the piano.
Christmas day came and went. I only had one day left to make up my mind between the Flemish, the Klotz, or no violin at all. I'd been practicing upstairs in the crowded farmhouse, and could hear their personalities waking up, but I still needed one more test. Grabbing the keys to the church, I headed into town to see how they would sound in a larger room.
The building lay empty and cold. Feeling for the light switches, I brightened the room and unzipped each case carefully. First the Klotz. After a couple of notes, I went with my gut and decided I'd do better to save my money. Then the Flemish. I knew I'd said no to it already, but it had grown on me over the past couple of days. As I tightened the strings and reached for the fine tuner, my left hand bumped the tip of the bow. My normally supple and light-gripped right hand was cold and stiff, and in a flash, the Nurnberger slipped from my fingers and bounced lightly, with a thin clatter, on the concrete floor. Bow hair sprawled, the tip lay fractured from the stick, irrevocably.
"No!" The shock made my mind float out of my body, and the room began to narrow. "No! No! No!" Surely, I was having a nightmare: this happens only in nightmares. For about five minutes, I couldn't even process it. And then, like a girl over a lost puppy, I crumpled on the floor over my open case and bawled.
Oh, and Klotzes can sound quite good if they're in decent condition (which usually isn't the case). They tend to like lower tension strings, Evah Pirazzis can take away an entire dimension of sound.
You, the east coast, and nice bows aren't a good combination. Sitting 2000 miles away reading this, my stomach churns for you.
How well I remember an afternoon in a CIM practice room as a student. Time slowed down as the bow tumbled through the air... then the sound of someone screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (It was me, of course). The tip of the bow lay severed from the stick... people ran to see who was being killed... then the insurance agency saved the day... nonetheless, I know your grief. So sorry.
Oh, and thank you all so much for your condolences and story-sharing. I knew you would relate to my pain.
I am embarrassed to admit that my bow slipped out of my hand more times than I can remember... Most of the time, it fell on the carpet/rug, but a few times it hit the wall or the music stand... I have been lucky so far that no discernible damage has been done, but each time my heart stopped, so I can totally relate! Your blog reminded me that I really should get my instrument insured, which crosses my mind often but I keep procrastinating...
I know you'll always have a remnant of that pain, but at least you were able to get a good repair. It's nice when old friends can still be with you despite the ravages of time.
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