Government calls in loan Strads to dodge bailiffs

Government calls in loan Strads to dodge bailiffs


norman lebrecht

July 12, 2011

The Czech government has called back all instruments loaned out by the National Museum in Prague for fear they might be seized when played abroad.

Two members of the Talich Quartet (below) have been ordered to return a Stradivarius violin and Grancino cello. Leo Cepicky of the Wihan Quartet has handed back his Amati, reports Strad magazine.

The panic measure follows the Austrian government’s seizure of to Czech-owned paintings from Vienna’s Belvedere Gallery as security against a $500 million Czech government debt to a blood plasma company.

It’s a bizarre situation. If a government defaults on a debt, its credit ought to be worthless. But this debt is still being contested through the courts. Until the matter is settled, two fine quartets will be hampered by playing on less than top instruments.



  • David F says:

    See your post of yesterday “Why people spend millions on an instrument they’ll never play” !

  • Matous says:

    As a Czech guy, I happen to know something about this. The money in question is not really a debt, it is still subject to a dispute at both national and international courts. The legal process is not yet finished. I, personally, do not know what to think about this particular issue as both sides present quite reasonable arguments.