Dresden Strad, crushed in 1910, is back in play

Dresden Strad, crushed in 1910, is back in play


norman lebrecht

October 23, 2013

A prime Stradivarius violin, wrecked when a Dresden concertmaster sat on it in 1910, has been paintakingly restored and will be played again in a Staatskapelle concert. The violin, made in 1734, was originally bought in Paris in 1833 for 875 thaler. Full story here (auf Deutsch).


strad stolen


  • sixtus says:

    This is yet another example of Stradolatry, where time and money is spent repairing a badly damaged instrument just because it has a Strad label inside — never mind that the final result can hardly reflect what its maker originally intended and that any number of modern makers could make a brand new instrument that sounds as good as (or even better than ) Dresden’s butt-crushed whoopee cushion. After all, the German news article says that the top plate was down to a half-millimeter thickness in places, that the neck of the instrument was replaced (itself likely a replacement for Stradivarius’ original shorter, un-angled, Baroque neck) and that a new “lining” was designed to stabilize the instrument. At some point, the continual replacement of parts to the HMS Victory or Boston’s USS Constitution will result in a copy, not a restored original. At this point the Dresden fiddle is a Strad in name only; Antonio the Great cannot be given credit for its sound quality, good or otherwise.


    • bomberdad says:

      But what about this schtick of a Mediterranean weather phenomenon……… WAY back when…… which resulted in a wood so finely grained that it has no current day equal?

      • Francis says:

        I think Sixtus’s account of this is an honest assessment of the truth about such enterprises which are rarely accurately described.

  • Tully Potter says:

    Henri Petri, the culprit who sat on the fiddle, was a very well-known player and teacher, a close friend of Busoni and the father of Egon Petri. Those of an archival disposition will find that I wrote an article about him and another Dutch pupil of Joachim, Bram Eldering, in The Strad some years ago. He made no records, sadly.

  • robcat2075 says:

    Are there any published first-person accounts of the sitting-upon? Something recorded for posteriority? A tale of the tail?

  • I have played several totally restored instruments, among them Sascha Jacobsen’s famous “Red Diamond” that was swept out to sea and a Gaspar viola restored by George Schlieps that was crushed beneath the wheels of a truck. Wonderful sounding as they ended up, “sixtus” is spot on in his comment about what our brilliant new-makers are producing. My 1781 Guadagnini viola, in pristine condition though it was, could not continue to sing without the attentions of our contemporary lutiers, many of whom were inspired by the work of old masters to create their works of art.

    And Antonio was no exception, learning from those he revered.