In Absam prope Oenipontum, an excerpt from “Pavel’s Violin”

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

Will Paint  The author, playing Pavel’s violin.

If It’s Baroque . . .

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.

Baroque Meme