|The Messiah Stradivarius violin by Antonio Stradivari, |
on display at the Ashmolean museum
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hello, today I am continuing with my series everything you need to know about the violin from A-Z. We are now on M for the Messiah. The messiah is a violin made by the legendary Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. The messiah remained in the Stradivarius work shop until his death. After which it was sold and went through many hands finally arriving with French luthier Jean Baptiste Vuillaume.
Where does the name messiah come from?
Vuillaume had bought the violin from a travelling Italian violin dealer named Luigi Tarisio who had constantly boasted of a beautiful violin he had discovered but never brought forth to show anyone.
Upon hearing this the French violinist Delphin Alard, who was son in law to Vuillaume exclaimed "Your violin is like the messiah one waits for him but he never appears!" Thus the violin was baptized with the name Messiah.
When Tarisio died in 1855 Vauillaume, realizing that Tarisio had a large stock of valuable Italian violins, traveled to a farm near Milan belonging to Tarisio where he found and purchased over a 140 instruments including the messiah which had apparently never been used. Even though it was nearly 150 years old it looked as if it had just came from Stradivari's hands
The Messiah was bequeathed to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England. The conditions in the will of the former owner being that the Museum can never allow the violin to be played. Because of this the instrument is in pristine conditions as it has apparently never been played, it is now one of the most valuable Stradivari violins.