Justin Lee

Musings of an Amateur Violinist: Married to your Violin yet?

October 4, 2009 12:45

I must say, I have some personal bias and national pride when it comes down to my favourite violinist that I’ve yet listened to.  If you’re read my blog before, it’ll come to no surprise that it’s James Ehnes.  He’s Canadian, born around the same time as me.

I read right here on our own V.com’s interview with him about the stories surrounding his various violins.  His quest for his first master instrument, a Riccardo Antoniazzi - just seemed like being in the right place at the right time.  You can also feel the struggle and heartbreak on his quest for his current violin, the 1715 Marsick Strad.


Also in this interview, the book “The Violin Maker” was introduced – James was asked about modern luthiers and whether he could find a modern instrument to replace his Strad.  He’s yet to find one, but I’m sure he’d play it if he did.  Incidentally, the book is an awesome read!!

Today, I was doing some reading about another favourite violinist of mine, Hilary Hahn.  Also in a V.com interview – she speaks about her Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume copy of Paganini’s Guarneri del Gesù Cannone.  In it, she speaks about her relationship with her violin as something of a marriage.  Each complementing the other, and when the match is perfect – sparks fly.  She doubts she’ll ever replace it.


As for my own violin currently, it’s an Eastman Strings 2007 VL305.  As someone who set aside the violin for 15+ years, it’s a good instrument that suits my short and mid term goals.  I haven’t gone so far as to name it yet, but we’re starting our relationship together.  Who knows, maybe it will open up to be the violin that I’ll play for the rest of my life.  Or I may chance to come across that “dream” violin that will make the latent Paganini within my soul stir.

I must say though, after reading from some of our many luthier members here on V.com, I’d love to be able to even just play on a contemporary master instrument, just to see what I’m missing out on.  If I could ever afford one, I’d love to have a modern master instrument made for me.

As for my long term goals, I’ve pretty much set my mind to being able to play my favourites from Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas before I'm 40 (Ciaconna from Partita #2, and Andante from Sonata #2 are some of the most exquisite music ever written for solo violin).  I have ~5 years to try to reach this goal.

If you have been so lucky as to find that “marriage” with your violin, I’d love to hear your story too.

Everyone knows the Ciaconna well, but here is the Andante.  Couldn't find James, so I present Hilary.  :)

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