Rare violins return to Italy from Russia with love

Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:22am EDT
 
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By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - To music lovers, listening to violin and cello virtuosi play one Stradivarius or one Guarneri instrument would be a touch of heaven by itself but hearing a dozen at the same time is something to die for.

That is precisely what delighted an audience in Rome on Tuesday night when Italian violin master Uto Ughi, Russia's Yuri Bashmet and others performed Mozart, Paganini and Tchaikovsky on instruments from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

The 13 precious instruments -- 7 violins, three violas and two cellos - were borrowed from behind the glass of Moscow's Glinka State Central Museum of Musical Culture and brought to life.

"It has always been a dream of mine to bring these instruments back home to be played in the country where they were born," Bashmet told the audience.

Indeed, just the sight of the rare instruments transfixed some in the audience at the Conciliazione Auditorium almost as if they were beholding a holy vision.

The instruments included five made by the Stradivari family, two by the Guarneri family, one by the Amati family and others by individual craftsmen.

Most were crafted in the northern Italian city of Cremona, whose name is synonymous with perfect violins and cellos.

"Bringing these instruments to Italy from Russia was a wonderful initiative," said Ughi.   Continued...