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Stradivari Violin stayed at Water Museum


On 20 October, a concert “Water is Music” with the violin created by Antonio Stradivari in 1727, took place at the Universe of Water Museum Complex.

Concerto for violin and piano performed by a young talented violin soloist Edoardo Zosi included works of Igor Stravinsky, Ludwig van Beethoven, Niccolo Paganini, Karol Szymanowski, Camille Saint-Saëns. The piano part was performed by Stefania Redaelli. 

The aura of the Universe of Water Museum and acoustics of the former clean water reservoir allowed guests to enjoy the sound of the unique violin to the full. Virginia Villa, director of the Violin Museum in Cremona mentioned that, among other things, the Water Museum is up-to-date multimedia complex close in spirit to the Violin Museum, therefore it had been selected as a place for the concert. 

Cremona is a native town of Antonio Stradivari. The Violin Museum was opened in this town in middle September, 2013 (before this, high-value exhibits were stored in the memorial violin room of Cremona city hall). President of Foundation “Friends of Stradivari” Paolo Bodini told about the town of Cremona and ancient traditions of violin making. The Mayor of Cremona Gianluca Galimberti said cordial words about St.Petersburg: “Your city which has rich and deep history enables me to hear the notes of immortal music, immortal music of literature, music of painting, music of architecture, music of water”.    

Felix V.Karmazinov, Director General of Vodokanal St.Petersburg, mentioned that the concert was organized thanks to colleagues from Milan  (water companies), Mayor of Cremona, Administration of the Violin Museum, Consulate General of Italy in St.Petersburg.    “I am sincerely grateful to all who allowed us to listen to such wonderful concert”, - he said.    

 Veolia and Solvay were sponsors of the concert and paid the insurance of the musical instrument.  Moreover, the representatives of these companies took part in the workshop “Wastewater sludge treatment technologies” organized in the frames of the International Advanced Water Technologies Centre. The workshop was held in Vodokanal St.Petersburg on 20-21 October. 


Antonio Stradivari violin played in the Water Museum has its own name - the “Vesuvius”. The name was given in around 1930 by the French violin maker Ernest Maucotel and it comes from the colour of the original vanish, an intense burgundy red with perfect transparency resembling lava from a volcano.    

In 1727, the year of construction of the  Vesuvius,  Antonio Stradivari was already in his eighties. If we consider the age of the violin maker we can see that his craftsmanship quality was excellent. 

The known story of the Vesuvius shows that it came back to Europe from Australis in the 1920s. In 1930, it was sold to the Parisian violin maker Ernest Maucotel.   In 1937, it was sold to Russian violinist Jan Hambourg, a pupil of the well-known Belgian composer and violinist Eugène Ysaÿe. In 1938, the Vesuvius was purchased by the Spanish violinist Antonio Brosa, a member of quartet “Pro-Arts”.  On 28 March, 1940, Antonio Brosa  gave a concert at the Carnegie Hall in New York and started  an extraordinary international career.   In 1968, the English violinist and composer Remo Lauricella purchased the Vesuvius.   When Remo Lauricella visited Cremona in 1977, he saw the collection "Gli Archi di Palazzo Comunale” (now, a part of the permanent exhibit at the Violin Museum in Cremona).  It was at that time that he decided to donate the Vesuvius violin to the Town, upon his death.  

Remo Lauricella died on January 19th, 2003, and the City of Cremona was informed of his decision that his "Stradivarius Vesuvius" was to be left to the Mayor and the City Council, as registered in a clause of Lauricella’s last will and testament: "(...) I leave as a gift to the Mayor and the Board members of the city of Cremona my Stradivarius "Vesuvius" violin (in order to be kept and not for sale); to be used, from time to time, according to what they deem appropriate, by promising young violinists with the approval of the Director of Music of the Italian Academy of Music or other people with similar competences entrusted by the Mayor and Council members". A campaign of civic solidarity was organised to gather funds to pay the inheritance tax. The official presentation of the instrument to the citizens of Cremona was held at the Teatro Ponchielli on November 16th, 2005 with a concert performed by the Maestro Salvatore Accardo and the Orchestra da Camera Italiana.

It is trusted that Antonio Stradivari was born in Cremona in 1644 (but the exact date of his birth is not registered). His parents were Alessandro Stradivari and Anna Moroni. It is believed that from 1667 to 1679, he made apprenticeship to Nicolo Amati, the most famous stringed instruments master of that time. In 1680, Stradivari took up residence at the Plaza di San Domenico in Cremona, where he gained fame as a great master. He diligently improved Amati works, seeking melodiousness and sound flexibility for his instruments. He changed their shape to a more curved one, made tools decorations. Apart from violins, Stradivari also created guitars, violas, cellos, and at least one harp (by current data he mastered more than 1,100 different instruments). Antonio Stradivari died in Cremona on December 18, 1737, and was buried in the Basilica di San Domenico.

The  Vesuvius arrived to St.Petersburg from Moscow, where on October 17 its concert was hosted at the Central Museum of Musical Culture.

It worth noting that the year 2014 is declared as Russia-Italy Bilateral Year of Tourism.