Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Play the bloody thing!

Ok so apart from this guy's Dad apparently being a Vampire Dog what else can i say about this story? Well, as you would expect, quite a lot.

The problem I see with this is that some collector or museum will get this thing and put it in a display case. Great. Go you.

What the hell for? "So future generations can appreciate it's beauty and form and blahblahblah!". To those people I say this - Go boil your head. It's a violin, it looks much like other violins and it will always be violin shaped so take a photo and put that ina case. Paintings are for looking at, films are for watching, hammers are for banging nails into bits of wood and, occasionally, slapstick comedy. You get the picture - Violins are for playing. Now this thing is a Violin created by the greatest violin maker of all time, in the hands of a Master this could make the sweetest most moving of sounds! And it's going to end up in a glass case, I know it is!

"It might break or get damaged if it is used." If we're lucky an antique piano might fall on your head and this debate can be left to people with a soul.

"It'll wear and the sound will wain if it is used!". GOOD! I bloody hope so, at least then some people will have been lucky enough to hear it! And what will happen in a museum? It'll make a bloody lovely sound behind that Plexi-Glass container won't it? A little plaque in front of it explaining how the sound might be like while Musak is piped through nearby Aiwa speakers.

I only bring this up because I saw a program on this fairly recently where they got permission to let someone play a Stradivarius, and the sheer joy on the face of the person playing and those listening was something to behold. The academics were wincing of course, chomping at the bit to get it back in its case.

Now museums have their place, and some things should certainly be kept in them for educational and scientific research purposes - Dinosaurs, fossils, old stoneage tools, the BNP. I can even understand it with books and parchments because they are words that can be copied. OK, some writing is beautiful but it can still be viewed if that is it's purpose, without damaging it. If it's information you need the contents of the book can be transcribed.

Ancient instruments that no one plays anymore can be important to preserve but there is no justification strong enough for keeping a modern instrument under lock and key 'in case it wears out'.

If anyone tells you any different, ask them this question "What was it made for?"


Olivia said...

WELL SAID. Christie's would love you for it.

When we were studying there, we would chuckle at having to wear white gloves on visits to the museum to handle equivalent items that might be sold at Christie's and end up on someone's sideboard.

lunaliar said...

Being a violinist and there being just under 650 Stradivarius violins in the world, also having a former instructor that owned and played a Stradivarius, I can tell you that one Stradivarius in a case is acceptable. Two in cases is pushing it. But any more than that lying in some museum in horded repose is monstrous. And incredibly stupid.

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