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A Journey through Aesthetic Realms

Cremona - The City of Violin Making, Part 2 of 2



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The art of making superb quality violins was first developed in family-owned workshops in Cremona about 500 years ago. The Amati, the Guarneri, and the Stradivari in the city of Cremona are still among the prominent families who have long-standing expertise in the manufacture of high-quality violins. Many of their products are preserved in prized public and private collections.

After the passing of the last master craftsmen Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri in the 18th century, the spirit of Cremona was somewhat dampened. The second wave of the violin-making revival came in 1950, resulting in the establishment of many workshops over the coming decades. The new masters and their apprentices restored and redefined the tradition of string instrument making in Cremona.

The Cremona instrument-making craft today follows the same methods, processes, and disciplines of the past masters. The nurturing apprenticeship culture allows the students to develop and run their own workshops with confidence. This is how the Cremona tradition is being preserved and passed on. The superior sound of the violins made by the Cremona masters has been a source of fascination for many musical enthusiasts, who often spend years to decipher the secret formula behind these masterpieces. Dr. Joseph Nagyvary, a Hungarian chemist found that one of the factors influencing the instrument quality was the chemicals used in treating the wood against worm infection in the old times. He stated: “This new study reveals that Stradivari and Guarneri had their own individual proprietary method of wood processing, to which they could have attributed a considerable significance.” “They could have come to realize that the special salts they used for impregnation of the wood also imparted to it some beneficial mechanical strength and acoustical advantages.”

Perhaps because of its violin-making heritage, the city of Cremona is also a center for musical excellence, being the birthplace of the influential Renaissance composer Claudio Monteverdi. Also based in Cremona is the Quartetto di Cremona (Quartet of Cremona), a highly acclaimed chamber ensemble that is regularly invited to perform all over the world.
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