A new Reader Review. Thanks very much to “Sideliner” from Spain!
The great Austrian luthier, Jakob Stainer (c. 1619-1683) used this handwritten label in all his instruments:
Jacobus Stainer in Absam
prope Oeinipontum 16–
“Jakob Stainer, in (the town of) Absam, near Innsbruck, (date)
And this is the title of Part I of “Pavel’s Violin,” the story of Jakob Stainer and his crafting of the very special violin.
from the title page of Part I, a quotation from Paul Stoving, in “The Story of the Violin:”
The Tyrolean fastness will guard his memory,
and the eagle will tell it to its young,
and pine to pine,
and the winds in dark recesses
will mourn the memory of Jacobus Stainer.
And the tale goes on from there:
I. Jakob Stainer and the Making of the Violin
II. In the Palaces of Bishops and Emperors
III. The Jewish Community of the Moravian Countryside
IV. The Great Olomouc (AH-lah-moats) Synagogue
V. In Terezin Concentration Camp
VI. In Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp
VII. The Violin Comes to Pavel
The author, playing Pavel’s violin.
From Chapter 7 – A Farewell in Salzburg:
Cervěnka played a G scale, slowly, savoring the tones. Across the room, the Kapellmeister looked up from his own work in speechless amazement, while his assistant played several measures of Biber’s new Sonata violin solo representativa. Eleven measures, perhaps, up to the 6/4 change. The two men were silent. It seemed as though the notes continued to dance around them, reluctant to fade into time or space. So moved was he by the music, Biber spoke softly the only words he could think of.
“I didn’t know you knew that piece,” he said.
“You left it lying about, and I had a look. That’s the only bit I’ve memorized.”
“You play well.”
“Thank you, Kapellmeister. It is a fine piece.” Again they fell into silence, still hearing the voice of the Violin in their thoughts. Finally, Biber spoke.
“May I . . . May I try it?”
(C) 2017 Walter William Melnyk
All Rights Reserved
Heinrich Ignatz Franz von Biber, Kapellmeister to the Prince Bishop of Olomouc
The Violin of “Pavel’s Violin” was made by Jakob Stainer in Absam, near Innsbruck, in 1670. In the midst of the Baroque Period, it used gut strings, and had neither chin nor shoulder rest. The bow was shorter, lighter, and curved in the opposite direction from today’s bows. The Stainer model I play today – which was Pavel’s – is the inspiration for “Pavel’s Violin.” It was likely made in Bavaria in the mid-1800s. My own violin study is now dedicated to Baroque music.