Friday, February 25, 2011

Fw: "Print Me A Stradivarius" (Feb.12th-18th, 2011)

This appeared in The Economist (issue Feb.26-March 4, 2011)
----- Original Message -----
Subject: "Print Me A Stradivarius" (Feb.12th-18th, 2011)

SIR – I should like to know who concluded that the violin made by an EOS laser-sintering 3D printer, "plays beautifully." Moreover, it may "play" beautifully, but what does it sound like? While the innovation of 3-dimensional printing from digital designs will revolutionize manufacturing, I doubt if Stradivari will turn over in his grave, or whether modern violin makers will fear that their craft will become obsolete overnight. For over 300 years, not even with advanced scientific analysis, has anyone been able to ascertain exactly what the secret of the Cremona masters was---their aged wood, their varnish, or some magical formula that defies analysis altogether. Granted, Jascha Heifetz could make an aluminum fiddle sound beautiful, even played with a fiberglass bow, as he did on concert tours in tropical climates. Yet I cannot imagine any living violinist playing a Carnegie Hall recital with that EOS violin. And I will not be trading in my 1715 Daniel Parker any time soon---unless that anonymous "concert violinist" who played on the EOS instrument can convince me that it sounds like a Strad.

Les Dreyer

(Retired violinist of the Met Opera Orchestra)

180 West End Ave.

NYC 10023  USA