Violin Archives: Antonio Stradivari Violins

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Antonio Stradivari is a famous master violin maker, who made approximately 1,100 instruments during his lifetime, including around 960 violins. Today, every Stradivarius violin is highly prized by violinists. Let's enjoy together some of the famous violins made by Stradivari and their stories.

Table of Contents

1: Muir-MacKenzie Violin


The "Muir-MacKenzie" violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1694, is in excellent condition with its structure nearly untouched, which is extremely rare for a violin that is 320 years old. It was named after one of its earliest known owners, Scottish violinist William Muir and his son Alastair Muir-MacKenzie.

This violin is considered one of the representatives of Stradivari's later creative period. Its tone is warm, balanced, and expressive, with deep bass and bright treble, making it an exceptional violin. The appearance of the violin is simple and elegant, without excessive decoration, with a main color tone of dark brown, which is one of the classics of the Stradivari style.

2: Molitor Violin(1697)


Legend has it that this violin has a distinguished history - it once belonged to the French Emperor Napoleon. Later, it came into the possession of Juliette Récamier (1777-1849), a famous French socialite and art collector. In 1804, it was acquired by French Marshal Count Gabriel-Jean-Joseph Molitor (1770-1849), which is why the violin is called Molitor.

It underwent several modifications and adjustments in Stradivari's workshop until it achieved the perfect sound quality that Stradivari desired. This violin has a beautiful tone, characteristic of Stradivarius violins, including warm and deep tones, beautiful treble, and expressive bass. The sound of the Molitor violin is considered one of the most perfect among Stradivarius violins and has been described as "angelic".

3:Baron von der Leyen, Klaveness Violin(1705)


Baron von der Leyen, Klaveness violin is named after one of its earliest known owners, German nobleman Baron von der Leyen, and Johan Henrik Homan Klaveness, a friend and patron of Norwegian violinist Ole Bull.

This violin is considered one of Stradivari's representative works, with a warm, bright, rich, and powerful tone, particularly suitable for romantic works. The violin's appearance is very luxurious, with Stradivari's classic red-brown varnish and elaborate decorations, which are highly decorative.

In the early 20th century, this violin was acquired by Norbert Brainin, who used it for performance and passed it on to his student Joseph Julian. Later, it was played and owned by other violinists, including Eugene Fodor and George Walton.

4:Dushkin, Bellarosa Violin(1707)

Dushkin, Bellarosa

"Dushkin, Bellarosa" (1707) is a masterpiece crafted by Stradivarius during his prime. The violin is in excellent condition with a clear, transparent, and elegant sound. The backplate is made of a single piece of maple, and the length of the body is 35.35 centimeters. It was named "Dushkin, Bellarosa" in honor of Russian violinist Samuel Dushkin and its former owner, Italian violinist Luigi Bellarosa.

This violin has a long and illustrious history, having belonged to several famous violinists such as Samuel Dushkin, Albert Spalding, Jascha Heifetz, Ida Haendel, and Pinchas Zukerman. Among them, Jascha Heifetz was the violin's longest-serving owner. He played it for many works and it was considered his "beloved wife."

The sound of the "Dushkin, Bellarosa" violin is considered to be very beautiful and unique. It has the characteristics of a Stradivarius violin, including warm and deep tones, beautiful high notes, and expressive low notes.

5: Viotti-Marie Hall Violin(1709)

Viotti-Marie Hall

When the renowned violinist G.B. Viotti (1755-1824) conquered the audience in Paris with the sound of his Stradivarius in 1782, his fame spread like wildfire across the entire European continent. Even in the 20th century, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter said, "When you have a Stradivarius violin, just touching it can arouse an incredibly exciting passion!"

In 1905, the legendary British female violinist Marie Hall (1884-1956) purchased this violin through a dealer. Since Viotti once owned it, it was named Viotti-Marie Hall.

This violin has beautiful tiger stripes and the wood quality is excellent. The fluting on the sides is very delicate, and the scroll on the head gradually becomes thicker from medium width. The orange-brown varnish shines with dazzling brilliance, accompanied by sweet and beautiful tones. The well-known violin appraisal company in the UK, WE Hill & Sons, once said in their work, "From every aspect, this violin is indeed an extremely noble and outstanding example."

6:Messiah, Messie, Salabue Violin(1716)

Messiah, Messie, Salabue

Messiah, also known as Messie or Salabue, is a famous violin created by the renowned Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari in Cremona in 1716. It is considered one of Stradivari's most outstanding works due to its beautiful appearance and extraordinary sound.

The violin is named after its first owner, French collector and music enthusiast Pierre-Louis de La Guêpière. De La Guêpière was one of the most prominent collectors of the 18th century, and he purchased a collection of exquisite antique instruments, including the Messiah violin. After his death, these instruments were auctioned off, and the fate of the Messiah violin was uncertain for a time.

In the mid-19th century, Italian violin maker Giuseppe Fiorini purchased the Messiah violin from an anonymous German collector and sold it to London music dealer John Hart. Subsequently, the Messiah violin was played by several famous violinists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Joseph Joachim, Eugène Ysaÿe, Henryk Szeryng, and Yehudi Menuhin.

Currently, the Messiah violin is well-preserved and is considered one of the most exceptional violins made by Stradivari, as well as a valuable heritage of Italian culture and music history. It is part of the Royal Collection and is kept at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

7: Piatti Violin(1717)


When Stradivari made the Piatti violin in 1717, he was undoubtedly at the peak of his career as a violin maker. At the age of 73, he had become one of the foremost violin makers in Cremona, with clients including the wealthiest collectors, musicians, and patrons in Europe. His instruments made with top-quality materials were all sold at high prices.

The violin has had many owners, including the London-based Frederick Strong and the cellist Gregorio Pugnani. Pugnani made some modifications to the instrument during his ownership, including improving its bowing technique and enhancing its volume.

The Piatti violin is a classic of Stradivari's "Golden Period," named after the Italian cellist Carlo Alfredo Piatti. It has an extraordinarily sweet tone and a pleasing appearance, making it a perfect choice for soloists.

1 comment

  • Posted on by Jefferey McGovern

    Good evening,
    My father has a 1717 Stradivarius that he would like to have evaluated and perhaps sell. It has been in the family since his great great grandfather. Located in Magog QC, Canada. Please let me know if interested.

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