The famous British trading house Beare managed to bring together twelve Stradivaris for the documentary Falling for Stradivari, which should greatly exaggerate the myth surrounding the famous Cremonese violin maker. Violinist Janine Jansen played the instruments, and made the album there with conductor Antonio Pappano as pianist 12 Stradivari by. A collection of musical miniatures, but that’s about it. You will not find more than the names of the violins and their year of manufacture in the CD book. No explanation why Jansen links pieces and violins together. And the comment that all instruments have their own character is not given any further elaboration.
It’s reminiscent of an anecdote about violinist Jascha Heifetz who, after an admirer praised how beautifully his instrument sang, picked up the violin, held it to his ear and said, “I can’t hear anything.” Also in this case, the spell comes from Janine.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of October 14, 2021