Instrument only comes alive when it is played

17th century Italian violin presented at Belarusian State Philharmonic Society

By Tatiana Pastushenkova

The unique 17th century violin, created by Italian master Andrea Guarneri, went on show to the public at the closing ceremony of the 4th International Piano Contest Minsk-2010, held at the Belarusian State Philharmonic Society. The honour of playing the instrument was granted to Vlada Berezhnaya, a student of the Belarusian State Academy of Music. She performed the first part of a Piotr Tchaikovsky concerto, accompanied by the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Belarus.

Belarus already possesses experience of acquiring precious instruments; in 2005, the Culture Ministry and the Academy of Music purchased a rare violin by a German master, which is now used for lessons and at various international competitions.

The Rector of the Belarusian State Academy of Music, Yekaterina Dulova, notes that the Academy has created the correct conditions to store the violin, as stipulated by its sellers and experts. The violin case, containing special humidity sensors, is equipped with shockproof components. Meanwhile, its place of storage has been equipped with special technology to protect it from external influences. “All necessary measures have been taken. Experience of storing and lending violins relies on international practice,” explains the Rector, adding, “The instrument won’t lie on a shelf; it will find itself in the hands of masters. It only comes alive when it is played.”

Andrea Guarneri’s violin, costing $230,000, was created in the city of Cremona in 1673. Its bow was made by a master called Henry in the second half of the 19th century. Another bow (from the late 19th century) was also purchased, worth $18,000.

The authenticity of the unique violin and its bow has been certified by two experts: Russian Mikhail Goronok (Director of the State Collection of Unique Musical Instruments at the Russian Culture Ministry’s State Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSIZO); and Eduard Kuchinsky (Professor of the Violin Chair at the Belarusian State Academy of Music). The instrument’s integrity, quality of restoration, timbre and bow quality have all been assessed.

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