The Mystery of Messiah

Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 18 December 1737) was an Italian luthier and is considered the most significant and greatest artisan in this field.

The Messiah-Salabue Stradivarius , was crafted in 1716 and is considered to be the only Stradivarius in existence in as new state [1].
The Messiah, sobriquet Le Messie, remained in the Stradivarius workshop until his death in 1737.Later in 1775 it was sold by his son, Paolo, to an Italian collector, Count Cozio di Salabue. and for a time, the violin bore the name Salabue. In 1827, it was purchased by a dealer, Luigi Tarsio.
Once when Tarisio was speaking about it to Vuillaume on the merits of this unknown and marvellous instrument, the violinist, Delphine Alard, said : “Your violin is like the Messiah: we wait for it constantly and it never appears!”. This is how Messiah was given the name by which it has been known ever since [2].
Upon Tarisio’s death, in 1854, Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume bought and restored it. He added the tunning pegs and the tailpiece(that shows the Nativity of Christ) [3] .
The instrument is in wonderful condition, otherwise. The top of the Messiah is made from the same tree as a P.G. Rogeri violin of 1710 [4].
In its long history ,Messiah, has been very rarely played . It has suffered none of the wear that is common to almost all old violins. That is why the varnish sustain its original orange-brown colour and peg-box and the black paint along the edge of the scroll has not worn away with handling.[3]
As many violinists really believe that the instrument sound better than newly made violins , researches have tried to figure out why.
Some pointed the finger to the dense wood which was harvested from Alpine spruces that grew during an Ice Age. Others suspected at the varnish , or even the chemicals that the master used to treat the wood [5].
It is known that the master made very precise calculations to work out the perfect shape for the instrument, the height of the bridge, the size of the sound holes and so on, each instrument uniquely sculpted by hand and ear [6].
The unusual narrowness of the rings in the spruce wood was noticed by US scientists who forward the idea the unique Stradivarius sound could be the result of these narrow rings. Certain violin-makers , however, were outraged by this hypothesis [6].
It is still a mystery why a Stradivari violin should sound so perfect, and why nobody has been able to reproduce it.

References:
The Nippon Music Foundation and the ‘Lady Blunt’.. Andrew Hill (tarisio.com). 16 June 2011.
The Hill Collection of Musical Instruments, David D. Boyden, Oxford University Press, London, 1969.
Ashmolean Object of the month Sep 2004
Messiah Dendrochronology , Arjan Versteeg, The Strad 03/2011
Violinists can’t tell the difference between Stradivarius and new ones By Ed Yong, 2012
Stradivarius instruments are rare, beautiful, and worth a fortune By Andy MsSmith , 2007

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
*
*
Your email is never shared.

Iranian Fallacies – Global Performance

One of the most important criteria for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music is number of times the piece has been performance by different ensembles and orchestras in different eras. This belief has become so pervasive in some societies, such as Iranian society, that it is considered the only criterion for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music.

Iranian Fallacies – School of Vaziri

The term “School of Vaziri” is often used in writings on Iranian music, but the exact meaning of the term is not clear; some of the authors have used the term to only refer to the group of Vaziri’s students, including a large group of his conservatory students and his Tar students such as Abolhassan Saba, Rouhollah Khaleghi, Ahmad Foroutan Rad, Hossein Sanjari, Heshmat Sanjari and others. But can we consider all Vaziri’s students as followers of his school of thought? This is definitely a mistake, because we know that some of Vaziri’s students have chosen a completely different path than that of Vaziri.

From Past Days…

Kayvan Mirhadi and O.R.P Qaurtet

Establishing O.R.P. Quartet is Kayvan Mirhadi’s latest activity as a guitarist, composer and conductor of Kamerata Orchestra. Besides working with this Quartet, Mirhadi is busy these days recording and mixing some of his own works as well as some pieces by 20th century composers. O.R.P Quartet performed a concert in Rasht, Gilan Province in late May 2016 and offered a master class.

Principles of Playing Violin (V)

3/1/2/5: When the first finger lands next to the nut, continuation of first phalange of this finger, on back of the hand, should be in line with continuation of the back of the wrist and the left hand; moreover, it should not pass them and bend at knuckles. Otherwise, an uncommon stretch is created in first finger’s knuckle also reducing the freedom of other fingers (especially the fourth finger) in finger placement.

Hossein Aslani passed away!

Hossein Aslani, Iranian pianist residing in the US, passed away due to cancer in late January 2020. His last musical activity was an article written for Harmony Talk entitled “Iran amidst musical struggle” in 2016, his memoir entitled “I Play You Again” in the same year and his album “Symbolic Emotion” published by Arganoun Publications in 2014. Here is a brief biography of Hossein Aslani according to his own website:

Women and the Music Environment in Iran

The life territory of the female-male relations in the Iranian cultural context is basically a domestic territory and not a social-living one in the labour and leisure domains. To prove this, it only suffices to consider the Iranian men’s viewpoints about women. For the Iranian men, there are three perspectives regarding the women: mother, sister and wife. Mother represents the emotional territory; sister represents the logical territory at home while wife represents the sexual territory.

Harmony in the Iranian Music (II)

One of his works was the translation of Harmony, which was carried out with the help of Mozayyan al-Dowleh, and included a pamphlet based on which he used to teach the subject to the students of the school of music; the pamphlet was never published. It was, in fact, a kind of simple harmony for the piano with no quadriads, it rather featured the engagement of both the right hand and the left hand which was being taught at the music school for the first time. Salar-Mo’azez also composed military marches and hymns for schools, which he harmonized to be performed and piano. Likewise, he used to compose for military orchestras.

Iranian Fallacies: Iranian Chords

Finding a way to harmonize the Iranian music has been the subject of controversy among Iranian musicians for a long time. Some believe in the creation of harmonies for Iranian music based on a method which is similar to the tierce harmony; while others have either selected or invented some other methods. There are also some musicians who do not basically agree with the harmonization of the Iranian music.

Harmony in the Iranian Music (I)

Translated by Mahboube Khalvati The article you are about to read was written by Rouhollah Khaleqi (1906-1965), composer, and conductor of Golha Orchestra (established in 1956). Khaleqi was one of the most prominent promoters of polyphony for the Iranian music and is one of the best representatives of the school of Ali Naghi Vaziri. In…
Read More »

The First Saba Student Music Festival Concluded in Tehran

Preparations for Saba Student Music Festival started in the summer of 2016; the Student Music Festival will be held annually by the students of music at Arts University. The first part of the closing ceremony of the Festival was dedicated to the celebration of the life, work and strives by Maestro Hossein Dehlavi to upgrade the level of music as an academic discipline. The name of the award-winning students and ensembles were announced at the second part of the ceremony.

Layla Ramezan, Iranian Pianist

Iranian pianist Layla Ramezan has always sought to create a connection between her Persian origin and the contemporary music which she encounters daily. Sound, phrasing, a particular sense of rhythm and a refined understanding of the “time of musical development” are the foremost qualities of her interpretations. Her musical and pianistic education began in Tehran at the age of 8 with Mostafa-Kamal Poortorab. Having moved to Paris and received a scholarship from Albert Roussel Foundation, she integrated the classes of Jean Micault and Devi Erlih at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot, where she received a Diplôme de Virtuosité in piano performance and chamber music.

Polyphony in Iranian Music (V)

In addition to the above-mentioned, polyphony can be also formed when a melody is performed by several singers in different ambiances or different sound registers according to their physiologic abilities. An example of this has been performed in rituals of Khanqah of Ghaderi darawish of Mahabad[i].