For hundreds of years the name of Antonio Stradivari has been synonymous with the finest string instruments ever made. Although they are worth millions today, even during his lifetime both musicians and nobility coveted instruments from this master craftsman and engineer. Unsurprisingly, many of Stradivari’s violins have remarkable histories and pedigrees; one notable example is the “Lipinski” Stradivarius, crafted in 1715 during Stradivari's golden period.
The violin is named for the Polish virtuoso Karol Lipinski, who played on this instrument from approximately 1818 until his death in 1861. Lipinski was given the violin by a student of the legendary Giuseppe Tartini, the instrument’s first known owner. Known in his lifetime as a violinist, composer, concertmaster, and pedagogue, Lipinski associated with some of the most famous cultural figures of the time, including Franz Liszt, Nicolò Paganini (with whom he had a certain “rivalry”), and Robert Schumann, who so admired Lipinski that he dedicated his famous piano work “Carnaval” to him.
After Lipinski’s death the instrument eventually came into the Röentgen family, which included several violinists and the celebrated composer Julius Röntgen In the 20th century the violin changed hands several times, in 1962 arriving in the possession of the Estonian violinist Evi Liivak, who passed away in 1996.
I have been fortunate to play on this violin since 2008, and the aim of this project is to partially chronicle some of the extraordinary history of this violin and its associations. To that end a recording is planned that would include Tartini’s most famous work, the “Devil’s Trill” Sonata, a virtuoso solo piece by Karol Lipinski, one of Julius Röentgen’s unjustly neglected violin sonatas, and the stupendous Sonata in d minor of Robert Schumann, certainly performed during their lifetimes with Schumann at the piano and Lipinski playing this very instrument.
The recording will take place in August 2012, and will be released on AVIE Records, the noted label with whom I collaborated on the Respighi/Strauss/Janacek CD in 2006. Unlike many larger conglomerates, AVIE is completely artist-oriented, and this is truly an independent project over which I have total artistic control. The producer will be the eminent Evans Mirageas, well-known in the industry since his days at Decca.
The pianist for this recording will be William Wolfram, known for his outstanding solo work as well as his numerous chamber music collaborations (including three previous recordings with me).
I am asking for your help to make this project a reality. The money I hope to raise will be used exclusively for recording, production, and manufacturing costs, all of which are considerable, and I need your help to share this unique project with as many people as possible. I am deeply grateful for any support you can offer!
With sincere thanks,
- (60 days)