the history of the
Cremonese 1715 violin
edit by Fausto Cacciatori
Jean Baptiste Volumier, violinist and Maestro de’ Concerti di musica of the king of Poland, stayed in town for three months while he was waiting for Stradivari to complete the construction of as much as twelve violins ordered by the Polish king August II.
The number of instruments made in 1715 by the Cremonese master is impressive. He was, at the time, in his full maturity as a maker, a period in which he brought to accomplishment the research and experimentations he had developed over decades of hard work. In those years, he was able to make unique instruments, unrivalled for their sound.
Joseph Joachim – the great violinist, already famous by then for his extraordinary performance, at the age of twelve, of the Concert for violin by Ludwig Van Beethoven held in London in 1844 – received as a gift for his jubilee a violin made by Antonio Stradivari in 1715.
A close friend of Johannes Brahms, Joseph Joachim was the first violinist to record, in 1903, a piece of music for the Grammophone Company in Berlin: that year, he was still in possession of the 1715 violin.
The president of the town’s Tourism Promotion Agency and director of the Civic Museum, Alfredo Puerari, expressed his intention to bring back to Cremona a Stradivari violin.
His initiative had a great cultural and historical value and was also driven by the will to promote tourism through the figure and work of one of the illustrious sons of Cremona, continuing in the path that had been started at the end of the 19th century.
“I would like Cremona to have a violin by Antonio Stradivari and the Museo Stradivariano to be so by name and by nature…all this with the aim of making it possible to listen to the sound of a Stradivari violin in Cremona. I want a Stradivari that still plays”.
These were Alfredo Puerari’s words in the letter he sent to the restorer and expert of ancient Cremonese instruments Simone Ferdinando Sacconi on 17 September 1959. Months of constant research and consequent assessment of many instruments finally led to the purchase on 18 December 1961.
That day, news from Milan announced: “As of tonight at 8pm, Cremona owns a Stradivari by law”.
Owing to the strange coincidences of History, 224 years earlier on the same day Stradivari had left his earthly life.
The violin, that had probably arrived at the court of the king of Poland thanks to Volumier, was no doubt the same instrument donated to the Hungarian violinist for his jubilee and known since then as “Joachim”. On that 18 December, the instrument was renamed “Il Cremonese”.