Friday, January 1, 2010

Fw: letter in Economist Jan.2-8th, 2010



String symphony

SIR – Italian violin-makers were not the sole master craftsmen of the art during the 18th century ("Older and richer", December 19th). Around 1715 Daniel Parker, an English violin-maker working in London, visited Stradivari's Cremona workshop, where he acquired an abundance of the master's secrets, such as the ingredients used to varnish the instrument, wood-ageing and carving techniques, which were unknown to the outside world.

Upon returning to London, Parker produced instruments with so gorgeous a tone that when Fritz Kreisler performed on his Daniel Parker violin two centuries later, no one in the audience, not even violin-makers or music critics, could believe that he was not playing his own Strad.

Les Dreyer
Retired violinist of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra
New York