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Stradivarius

[strad-uh-vair-ee-uhs]

A Stradivarius is a stringed instrument built by members of the Stradivari family, particularly Antonio Stradivari. The bowed instruments are famous for the quality of their sound, which has defied attempts to explain or reproduce. The name "Stradivarius" has also become a superlative applied to designate excellence. To be called "the Stradivari" of any field is to be deemed the finest there is.

Background

Born in Italy in 1644, Antonio Stradivari is considered to have been a disciple of Nicolo Amati, of the Amati family of luthiers of Cremona. In 1660, Antonio set up shop on his own in Cremona, though his early violins are generally considered inferior to those of his "golden age", between 1698 and 1720. While his techniques have long been fertile soil for debate and not fully understood by modern craftsmen and scientists, it is known for certain that the wood used included spruce for the harmonic top, willow for the internal parts and maple for the back, strip and neck. This wood was treated with several types of minerals, including potassium borate (borax), sodium and potassium silicate, and vernice bianca, a varnish composed of Arabic gum, honey and egg white.

A Stradivarius made in the 1680s, or during Stradivari's Brescian period from 1690-1700, could be worth several hundred thousand dollars or more on auction, at today's prices. Depending on condition, instruments made during Stradivari's "golden period" from 1700 to 1720 can be worth several million dollars. Though relatively rarely sold, the highest publicised price paid was at public auction for The Hammer, made in 1707, selling for US$3,544,000 on May 16 2006. Private sales of Stradivari instruments have exceeded this price.

It is not uncommon for violins to be labeled or branded "Stradivarius", as the name has been used since by other manufacturers. However, it is generally believed that there are fewer than 700 genuine instruments extant, very few of which are unaccounted for.

The fame of Stradivari instruments is not a modern phenomenon and they appear in numerous works of fiction. The fictional detective Sherlock Holmes is described as having owned a Stradivarius, with detail given to how he purchased the instrument for fifty-five English shillings in the story The Adventure of the Cardboard Box. A famous, if perhaps apocryphal story about the Duport Stradivarius claims the instrument's visible dent was made by the boots of Emperor Napoléon I of France, who tried his hand at playing it.

One aspect of Stradivari's approach is illustrated in the BBC TV series Lovejoy, in the episode "Second Fiddle", which notes that, while one would expect the 'f'-holes on the top of a violin to be symmetrical, Stradivari often made his slightly offset. The show credits this to him being less of a perfectionist than tradition holds, but, if true, it more likely demonstrates an aural perfectionism preferred over the visual aesthetic.

The reputation of the Stradivarius is such that its name is frequently invoked as a standard of excellence in other unrelated fields (such as ships and cars); for example, the Bath Iron Works' unofficial motto is "A Bath boat is the Stradivarius of destroyers!" In 1924, The Vincent Bach Corporation began releasing a line of trumpets which would later become known as Stradivarius Trumpets, in an attempt to capitalise on the Stradivari name.

Theories and reproduction attempts

Above all, these instruments are famous for the quality of sound they produce. Although various attempts at explaining or duplicating their quality have been undertaken, most results have been unsuccessful or inconclusive. Over the centuries, numerous theories have been presented, and debunked, including an assertion that the wood was salvaged from old cathedrals. Dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating, has proved this false.

A more modern theory attributes tree growth during a time of unusually low solar activity during the Maunder Minimum "Little Ice Age" from ca. 1645 to 1750. During this period, temperatures throughout Europe were much cooler causing stunting and slower tree growth with unusually dense wood. Further evidence for this "Little Ice Age theory" comes from a simple examination of the dense growth rings in the wood used in Stradivari's instruments. Two researchers, Henri Grissino-Mayer, a University of Tennessee tree ring scientist and Lloyd Burckle, a Columbia University climatologist, published their conclusions supporting the theory on increased wood density in the journal Dendrochronologia.

In 2008, Dutch researchers announced that they had discovered further evidence for wood density as the cause of the high quality of these instruments. After examining the violins with X-rays, the researchers found that these violins all have extremely consistent density, with relatively low variation in the apparent growth patterns of the trees which produced this wood.

Researchers attributed this to the unique tree growth patterns of the Little Ice Age, the era of Stadivarius's work. The change in climate caused trees to grow uniformly in both summer and winter, creating the renowned quality of the wood used in Stradivariuses. Through the years, various other causes had been hypothesized, including varnishes, boiling or other treatments.

Yet another possible explanation is that the wood originated and was harvested from the forests of northern Croatia. This maple wood is known for its extreme density due to the slow growth from harsh Croatian winters. Croatian wood was a commodity traded by Venetian merchants of this era and is still used for crafting musical instruments by local luthiers to this day.

Some research points to wood preservatives being used in that day as contributing to the resonant qualities.

While the sound of Stradivari's instruments still has not been fully explained by modern research tools, devices such as the scanning laser vibrometer are aiding researchers in testing the theory that the careful shaping of belly and back plate, in order to "tune" their resonant frequencies, may be an important factor.

Glues and varnishes used by Stradivari have been analyzed extensively, and have also been attributed for the sound and quality of his instruments. There remains no consensus on the single most probable factor, and most likely, it is some combination of all, and something not yet recognized.

Stradivari instruments

Violins

Sobriquet Year Provenance Notes
ex-Back 1666 Royal Academy of Music currently displayed as part of Royal Academy's York Gate Collection
Dubois 1667 Canimex Foundation on loan to Alexandre da Costa
Aranyi 1667 Francis Aranyi (collector) sold at Sotheby's London, 12 November 1986
ex-Captain Saville 1667 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume;
Captain Saville (1901-1907)
Amatese 1668 though listed in many reference books as one of Stradivari's earliest instruments, the modern consensus is that it is not a Stradivari; it was sold Sotheby's New York 3 February 1982 as "an interesting violin."
Oistrakh 1671 David Oistrakh missing: stolen in 1996
Sellière 1672 Charles IV of Spain
Spanish 1677 Finnish Cultural Foundation on loan to Elina Vähälä
Hellier 1679 Sir Samuel Hellier Smithsonian Institution
Paganini-Desaint 1680 Nippon Music Foundation this violin along with the Paganini-Comte Cozio di Salabue violin of 1727, the Paganini-Mendelssohn viola 1731, and Paganini-Ladenburg cello of 1736, comprise a group of instruments referred to as the Paganini Quartet; on loan to Kikuei Ikeda of the Tokyo String Quartet
Fleming 1681
Chanot-Chardon 1681 Timothy Baker;
Joshua Bell
shaped like a guitar
Bucher 1683
Cipriani Potter 1683
Cobbett; ex-Holloway 1683 on loan to Sejong brokered by the Stradivari Society
ex-Croall 1684 WestLB
ex-Elphinstone 1684
ex-Arma Senkrah 1685
ex-Castelbarco 1685
Goddard 1686 Miss Goddard; Antonio Fortunato
Ole Bull 1687 Ole Bull (1844);
donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1997 by Axelrod
Mercur-Avery 1687 on loan to Jonathan Carney, concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2002
Auer 1689 on loan to Vadim Gluzman brokered by the Stradivari Society
Arditi 1689 Dextra musica AS, Norway on loan to Elise Båtnes, concertmaster, Oslo Philharmonic
Baumgartner 1689 Canada Council for the Arts on loan to Judy Kang
Spanish I 1689 Patrimonio Nacional, Palacio Real, Madrid, Spain date range 1687-1689; part of a duo of violins (Spanish I and II) referred to as los Decorados, and los Palatinos; also collectively known as del Cuarteto Real (The Royal Quartet) when included with the Spanish Court viola (1696) and cello (1694).
Spanish II 1689 Patrimonio Nacional, Palacio Real, Madrid, Spain date range 1687-1689; part of a duo of violins (Spanish I and II) referred to as los Decorados, and los Palatinos; also collectively known as del Cuarteto Real (The Royal Quartet) when included with the Spanish Court viola (1696) and cello (1694).
Bingham 1690
Bennett 1692 Winterthur-Versicherungen on loan to Hanna Weinmeister
Falmouth 1692 on loan to Leonidas Kavakos
Gould 1693 George Gould
Metropolitan Museum of Art
bequeathed by Gould to the Metropolitan Museum in 1955
Harrison 1693 Richard Harrison; Henry Hottinger; Kyung-Wha Chung in the collection of the National Music Museum
Baillot-Pommerau 1694
Ruston 1694 Royal Academy of Music on loan to Clio Gould
Fetzer 1695
1697 Edvin Marton Dima Bilan, together with Evgeni Plushenko, and Edvin Marton playing his Stradivarius, won the Eurovision Song Contest 2008
Cabriac 1698
Baron Knoop 1698 one of eleven Stradivari violins associated with Baron Johann Knoop
Joachim 1698 Royal Academy of Music
Duc de Camposelice 1699
Lady Tennant; Lafont 1699 Charles Phillipe Lafont;
Marguerite Agaranthe Tennant
on loan to Xiang Gao brokered by the Stradivari Society; sold at Christie's auction US$2.032 million, April 2005
Longuet 1699
Countess Polignac 1699 on loan to Gil Shaham.
Castelbarco 1699 Library of Congress Presented by Gertrude Clarke Whittall
Kustendyke 1699 Royal Academy of Music
Crespi 1699 Royal Academy of Music
Cristiani 1700
The Penny 1700 Barbara Penny
Dragonetti 1700 Nippon Music Foundation
Jupiter 1700 Giovanni Battista Viotti
Taft; ex-Emil Heermann 1700 Canada Council for the Arts on loan to Jessica Linnebach
Dushkin 1701 on loan to Dennis Kim, concertmaster, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra
Markees 1701 Music Chamber on loan to Leung Kin-fung
Irish 1702 OKO Bank, Finland on loan to Réka Szilvay
Conte de Fontana; ex-Oistrach 1702 David Oistrakh (1953-1963); Riccardo Brengola; Pro Canale Foundation Oistrakh's first violin; on loan to Mariana Sirbu
Lukens; Edler Voicu 1702 A.W. Lukens; Jon Voicu; Romania Culture Ministry on loan to Alexandru Tomescu through 2012
King Maximilian Joseph 1702
Lyall 1702
Antonio Stradivari 1703 Bundesrepublik Deutschland on exhibit at Musikinstrumentenmuseum, Berlin
La Rouse Boughton 1703 Österreichische Nationalbank on loan to Boris Kuschnir of the Kopelman Quartet
Lord Newlands 1702 Nippon Music Foundation on loan to Toru Yasunaga
Allegretti 1703
Alsager 1703
Lady Harmsworth 1703 Paul Bartel on loan to Kristof Barati brokered by the Stradivari Society
Emiliani 1703 Anne-Sophie Mutter
Betts 1704 U.S. Library of Congress Presented by Gertrude Clarke Whittall
Sleeping Beauty 1704 L-Bank Baden-Wurttemberg on loan to Isabelle Faust. One of the few Stradivari violins to have retained original neck.
ex-Marsick; ex-Oistrach 1705 David Oistrach acquired in trade by Oistrach for the 1702 Conte di Fontana
ex-Brüstlein 1707 Österreichische Nationalbank
La Cathédrale 1707
Hammer 1707 Christian Hammer (collector) sold at Christie's New York on 16 May 2006 for a record US$3,544,000 (€2,765,080) after five minutes of bidding
Burstein; Bagshawe 1708
Huggins 1708 Nippon Music Foundation on loan to Sergey Khachatryan
Ruby 1708 on loan to Chen Xi brokered by the Stradivari Society
Strauss 1708 on loan to Chee-Yun brokered by the Stradivari Society
Berlin Hochschule 1709
Hammerle; ex-Adler 1709 Österreichische Nationalbank on loan to Werner Hink
Ernst 1709 on loan to Zsigmondy Dénes through 2003
Engleman 1709 Nippon Music Foundation on loan to Lisa Batiashvili
Viotti; ex-Bruce 1709 Royal Academy of Music purchased in 2005 for GB£3.5 million
Marie Hall 1709 Giovanni Battista Viotti;
The Chi-Mei Collection
named after the violinist, Marie Hall
ex-Kempner 1709 on loan to Soovin Kim
Camposelice 1710 Nippon Music Foundation on loan to Kyoko Takezawa
Lord Dunn-Raven 1710 Anne-Sophie Mutter
ex-Roederer 1710 on loan to David Grimal.
ex-Vieuxtemps 1710 on loan to Samuel Magad, concertmaster, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Earl of Plymouth; Kreisler 1711 Los Angeles Philharmonic found in store room on the estate of the Earl of Plymouth along with The Messiah and Alard violins in 1925; purchased by Fritz Kreisler in 1928 and subsequently sold by him in 1946
Liegnitz 1711
Le Brun 1712 Niccolò Paganini; Charles LeBrun; Otto Senn; sold at Sotheby's auction November 13, 2001
Karpilowsky 1712 Harry Solloway missing: stolen in 1953 from Solloway's residence in Los Angeles
Schreiber 1713
Antonio Stradivari 1713
Boissier 1713
Gibson; ex-Huberman 1713 Bronisław Huberman;
Joshua Bell
stolen twice from Huberman
Lady Ley 1713 Stradivarius family now bought by Jue Yao - Chinese violinist
Wirt 1713
Dolphin; Delfino 1714 Jascha Heifetz;
Nippon Music Foundation
on loan to Akiko Suwanai
Soil 1714 Amédée Soil; Yehudi Menuhin; Itzhak Perlman
ex-Berou; ex-Thibaud 1714
ex-Foulis 1714
Le Maurien 1714 missing: stolen 2002
Leonora Jackson 1714
Sinsheimer; General Kyd; Perlman 1714 Itzhak Perlman
David L. Fulton
Smith-Quersin 1714 Österreichische Nationalbank on loan to Rainer Honeck
Alard-Baron Knoop 1715
Baron Knoop; ex-Bevan 1715
ex-Bazzini 1715
Cremonese; ex-Harold, Joseph Joachim 1715 Municipality of Cremona
Duke of Cambridge; Ex-Pierre Rode 1715 NPO "Yellow Angel" on loan to Ryu Goto
Joachim 1715 Nippon Music Foundation on loan to Sayaka Shoji
Lipinski 1715 on loan to Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster, Frank Almond
''ex-Marsick 1715 on loan to James Ehnes
Titian 1715 Jacob Lynam
Cessole 1716
Berthier 1716
Booth 1716 Nippon Music Foundation on loan to Shunsuke Sato; formerly loaned to Arabella Steinbacher; formerly loaned to Julia Fischer
Colossus 1716 missing: stolen 1998
Duranti 1716 Mariko Senju
Monasterio 1716 Cyrus Forough
Provigny 1716
Messiah-Salabue 1716 Ashmolean Museum Oxford on exhibit at the Oxford Ashmolean Museum
ex-Windsor-Weinstein; Fite 1716 Canada Council for the Arts on loan to Jean-Sébastien Roy
Baron Wittgenstein 1716 on loan to Mincio Mincev
Gariel 1717
ex-Wieniawski 1717
Kochanski 1717 Pierre Amoyal reported stolen in 1987; recovered in 1991
Sasserno 1717 Nippon Music Foundation on loan to Viviane Hagner
Viotti; ex-Rosé 1718 Giovanni Battista Viotti;
Österreichische Nationalbank
on loan to Volkhard Steude
Firebird; ex-Saint Exupéry 1718 Salvatore Accardo name is taken from the colouration of the varnish and its brilliant sound.
Marquis de Riviere 1718 Daniel Majeske played by Majeske while concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1969-1993
San Lorenzo 1718 Georg Talbot on loan to David Garrett; incorrectly reported as damaged on 27 December 2007.
Lauterbach 1719 Johann Christoph Lauterbach; J.B. Vuillaume; Charles Philippe Lafont
Madrileño 1720
von Beckerath 1720 Michael Antonello
Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis 1721 recovered in southern Germany in 2006
Lady Blunt 1721 Paolo Stradivari named after Lady Anne Blunt, daughter of Ada Lovelace, granddaughter of Lord Byron.
Jean-Marie Leclair 1721 Jean-Marie Leclair; on loan to Guido Rimonda
Red Mendelssohn 1721 Mendelssohn Family;
Elizabeth Pitcairn
inspiration for the 1998 film, The Red Violin
Artot 1722
Jupiter; ex-Goding 1722 Nippon Music Foundation on loan to Daishin Kashimoto; formerly Midori Goto
Laub-Petschnikoff 1722
Jules Falk 1722 Viktoria Mullova
Elman 1722 Chi Mei Museum
Cádiz 1722 Joseph Fuchs on loan to Jennifer Frautschi; named after the city of Cádiz, Spain.
Kiesewetter 1723 Clement and Karen Arrison on loan to Philippe Quint brokered by the Stradivari Society Left by Quint in taxi on April 21 2008, and recovered the following day.
Earl Spencer 1723 on loan to Nicola Benedetti
Le Sarasate 1724 Musée de la Musique, Paris bequeathed to the Conservatory by Pablo de Sarasate
Brancaccio 1725 Destroyed in an allied air raid on Berlin. owned by Carl Flesch, until 1928 where it was sold to Franz von Mendelssohn, banker and amateur violinist.
Chaconne 1725 Österreichische Nationalbank on loan to Rainer Küchel
Leonardo da Vinci 1725 Da Vinci family On loan to David Coucheron
Wilhelmj 1725 Nippon Music Foundation on loan to Baiba Skride; one of several Stradivari violins with the sobriquet "Wilhelmj"
Greville; Kreisler; Adams 1726 Fritz Kreisler
Barrere 1727 on loan to Janine Jansen brokered by the Stradivari Society
Davidoff-Morini 1727 missing: stolen in 1995;
ex-General Dupont 1727 on loan to Jennifer Koh
Holroyd 1727
Kreutzer 1727 Maxim Vengerov one of four Stradivari violins with the sobriquet Kreutzer (1701, 1720, 1731)
Hart; ex-Francescatti 1727 Salvatore Accardo
Paganini-Comte Cozio di Salabue 1727 Nippon Music Foundation this violin along with the Paganini-Desaint violin of 1680, the Paganini-Mendelssohn viola of 1731, and the Paganini-Ladenburg cello of 1736, comprise a group of instruments referred to as the Paganini Quartet; on loan to Martin Beaver of the Tokyo String Quartet
Halphen 1727 Angelika Prokopp Private Foundation on loan to Eckhard Seifert
Vesuvius 1727 Antonio Brosa
Remo Lauricella
Town of Cremona
A. J. Fletcher; Red Cross Knight 1728 A. J. Fletcher Foundation on loan to Nicholas Kitchen of the Borromeo String Quartet; the instrument was made by Omobono Stradivarius
Artot-Alard 1728 Endre Balogh a bench copy of this instrument was produced in 1996 by Gregg Alf and Joseph Curtin, using modern materials and methods; Balogh performs on both the 1728 original and the replica.
Dragonetti; Milanollo 1728 Giovanni Battista Viotti on loan to Corey Cerovsek
Perkins 1728 Los Angeles Philharmonic named after Frederick Perkins, formerly owned by Luigi Boccherini
Benny 1729 Jack Benny;
Los Angeles Philharmonic
bequeathed to the Los Angeles Philharmonic by Jack Benny
Solomon, ex-Lambert 1729 Murray Lambert;
Seymour Solomon
sold at Christie's, New York for US$2,728,000 (€2,040,000)
Innes 1729 on loan to Eugen Sarbu; previously loaned to Wieniawski
Guarneri 1729 Canada Council for the Arts on loan to Yi-Ja Suzanne Hou in 2003
Royal Spanish 1730 Anne Akiko Meyers once owned by the King of Spain
Lady Jeanne 1731 Donald Kahn Foundation on loan to Benjamin Schmid
Garcin 1731 Jules Garcin; Sidney Harth
Heifetz-Piel 1731 Rudolph Piel;
Jascha Heifetz
Duke of Alcantara 1732 an obscure Spanish nobleman described as an aide-de-camp of King Don Carlos; UCLA Genevieve Vedder donated the instrument to the University of California at Los Angeles' (UCLA) music department in the 1960s. In 1967, the instrument was on loan to David Margetts who left the Stradivarius on the roof of his car and drove off or claimed it was stolen from his vehicle. For 27 years the violin was considered missing until it was recovered from an amateur violinist. A settlement was made and the Stradivarius was returned to UCLA in 1995.
Herkules 1732 Eugène Ysaÿe missing: stolen in 1908
Red Diamond 1732 Louis Von Spencer IV
Tom Taylor 1732 previously loaned to Joshua Bell
Des Rosiers 1733 Angèle Dubeau
Huberman; Kreisler 1733 Bronisław Huberman;
Fritz Kreisler
Khevenhüller 1733 Yehudi Menuhin
Rode 1733
Ames 1734 missing: stolen in the 1960s
Baron Feilitzsch; Heermann 1734 Baron Feilitzsch;
Hugo Heerman
Gidon Kremer
Habeneck 1734 Royal Academy of Music
Herkules; Ysaye; ex-Szeryng; King David 1734 Eugène Ysaÿe;
Charles Münch;
Henryk Szeryng;
State of Israel
Lord Amherst of Hackney 1734 Fritz Kreisler
Lamoreux 1735 missing: stolen
Muntz 1736 Nippon Music Foundation on loan to Arabella Steinbacher
ex.Roussy 1736 Chisako Takashima
Comte d'Amaille 1737
Lord Norton 1737
Chant du Cygne; Swan Song 1737 Ivry Gitlis

Violas

There are thirteen known extant Stradivari violas.

Sobriquet Year Provenance Notes
Tuscan-Medici 1690 Cosimo III de' Medici commissioned by Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany; currently on loan to the U.S. Library of Congress
Archinto 1696 Royal Academy of Music
Spanish Court 1696 Patrimonio Nacional, Palacio Real, Madrid, Spain collectively known as del Cuarteto Real (The Royal Quartet) when included with the violin duo, los Decorados (Spanish I and II, 1687-1689), and the Spanish Court cello of 1694.
Kux; Castelbarco 1714 Royal Academy of Music converted from viol to viola by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume
The Russian 1715 Russian State Collection
Cassavetti 1727 U.S. Library of Congress Presented by Gertrude Clarke Whittall
Paganini-Mendelssohn 1731 this viola along with the Paganini-Desaint violin of 1680, the Paganini-Comte Cozio di Salabue violin of 1727, and the Paganini-Ladenburg cello of 1736, comprise a group of instruments referred to as the Paganini Quartet; on loan to Kazuhide Isomura of the Tokyo String Quartet

Celli

Antonio Stradivari built between 70 and 80 cellos in his lifetime, of which 63 are extant.

Sobriquet Year Provenance Notes
ex-Du Pre; ex-Harrell 1673 Jacqueline du Pré
Lynn Harrell
General Kyd; ex-Leo Stern 1684 Los Angeles Philharmonic the instrument was stolen in 2004 and later recovered.
Barjansky 1690 Julian Lloyd Webber
ex-Gendron; ex-Lord Speyer 1693 Edgar Speyer; Kunststiftung NRW on loan to Maria Kliegel; previously loaned to Maurice Gendron (1958-1990)
Spanish Court 1694 Patrimonio Nacional, Palacio Real, Madrid, Spain collectively known as del Cuarteto Real (The Royal Quartet) when included with the violin duo, los Decorados (Spanish I and II 1687-1689), and the Spanish Court viola of 1696.
Bonjour 1696 Abel Bonjour
Canada Council for the Arts
on loan to Soo Bae
Lord Aylesford 1696 on loan to Danjulo Ishizaka; previously loaned to Janos Starker (1950-1965)
Castelbarco 1697 Library of Congress Presented by Gertrude Clarke Whittall
Servais 1701 National Museum of American History on loan to Anner Bylsma;
Paganini-Countess of Stanlein 1707 Bernard Greenhouse
Markevitch; Delphino 1709 Royal Academy of Music
Gore Booth; Baron Rothschild 1710 Rocco Filippini
Duport 1711 Mstislav Rostropovich (1974-2007)
Mara 1711 Heinrich Schiff
Davidov 1712 Karl Davidov
Jacqueline du Pré
on loan to Yo-Yo Ma.
Batta 1714 J. P. Thibout
Alexander Batta; W.E. Hill & Sons; Baron Johann Knoop; Gregor Piatigorsky
de Vaux 1717 on loan to Adam Klocek.
Becker 1719
Piatti 1720 Carlos Prieto
Cristiani 1720
Baudiot 1725 Gregor Piatigorsky
Chevillard 1725 Museu da Música (Lisbon)
Marquis de Corberon; ex-Loeb 1726 Royal Academy of Music
De Munck; ex-Feuermann 1730 Emmanuel Feuermann
Aldo Parisot
Nippon Music Foundation
on loan to Steven Isserlis
Pawle 1730 Chi Mei Museum
Braga 1731 played by Myung-Wha Chung
Paganini-Ladenburg 1736 Nippon Music Foundation this cello along with the Paganini-Desaint violin of 1686, the Paganini-Comte Cozio di Salabue violin of 1727, and the Paganini-Mendelssohn viola of 1731, comprise a group of instruments referred to as the Paganini Quartet; on loan to Clive Greensmith of the Tokyo String Quartet

Guitars

There are two complete extant guitars by Stradivari, and a few fragments of others, including the neck of a third guitar which is owned by the Conservatoire de Musique in Paris. These guitars have ten (doubled) strings, which was typical of the era.

Sobriquet Year Provenance Notes
Hill 1688 Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University
Rawlins 1700 National Music Museum South Dakota

Harps

The only Stradivarius harp to survive today is the arpetta (little harp), owned by San Pietro a Maiella Music Conservatory in Naples, Italy.

Mandolins

There are two known extant Stradivari mandolins. The Cutler-Challen Choral Mandolino of 1680, is currently in the collection of the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota. The other, dated ca. 1706, is owned by private collector Charles Beare of London.

References

Further reading

  • Hill, William Henry; Hill, Arthur F.; Hill, Alfred Ebsworth (1902). Antonio Stradivari, His Life and Work (1644-1737). London: W.E. Hill & Sons.
  • Faber, Toby (2004). Stradivari’s Genius: Five Violins, One Cello, and Three Centuries of Enduring Perfection. New York: Random House.
  • Vannes, Rene (1985). Dictionnaire Universel del Luthiers (vol.3). Bruxelles: Les Amis de la musique.
  • William, Henley (1969). Universal Dictionary of Violin & Bow Makers. Brighton; England: Amati.
  • Walter Hamma, Meister Italienischer Geigenbaukunst, Wilhelmshaven 1993, ISBN 3-7959-0537-0
  • Millant, Roger (1972). J. B. Vuillaume: Sa Vie et son Oeuvre. London: W.E. Hill.

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