How to play the world’s costliest violin: first, dunk it in the river

How to play the world’s costliest violin: first, dunk it in the river


norman lebrecht

January 22, 2014

That’s what Anne Akiko Meyers appears to do in the promo video for her new premiere release of Vivaldi’s triple concerto, RV551. Anne plays the Vieuxtemps Guarnerius, valued at $20 million. No way would she take it for a dip, she tells Slipped Disc. The other violin was a body double and she was using it to symbolise the three elements in the triple concerto:  fog, water, ice.

It is the first time the instrument can be heard on a commercial recording.

anne akiko meyers water


  • M.A. Steinberger says:

    Obviously not a Del Gesu getting dunked. The f-holes are wrong.

  • John Soloninka says:

    Regardless of how cheap the violin may be (and it did NOT look like a $30 chinese plywood instrument with plastic varnish…more like a Czech or German factory fiddle) It hurts to see it ruined. There are violin students around the world who would love such an instrument. Symbolism did not work for me.

  • Riz Ramadhan says:

    I have a mixed feeling on this video.

    First of all, I agree to what John Soloninka said. When I first see the video showing the violin “jumps out” from the river, my first thought was “OMG OMG OMG Noooo!!!” (I didn’t even really heard that the music starts), I directly notice the physical look of this water-violin is pretty gorgeous and I just definitely hope after the making of this video, they immediately repair it. My second thought about that violin was perhaps they just purchased it in e-bay or somewhere as I ever seen Chinese violins in there somehow looking good (of course doubtfully for the sound) but still, those violins must not be very cheap. And still I’m making those thought in my head in order to calm me down: “it is not a good violin, it is not, it is not” (I wish I could have it)

    Another little thing that scratching me is the tempo of the 3 violin parts. I don’t know is it just me or something, in some way I feel like those 3 violin parts are chasing each other..(please tell me I am wrong)

    I honestly wish that Mrs.Meyers would be doing some experiments with historical playing.. It does not have to be with authentic instruments/setup with gut strings or baroque bow, but more like approach in the produced sounds.

    I’m sorry Mrs.Meyers, this is just my humble opinion as an audience.

    I still enjoy this tough.

    She looks so beautiful in this video and I love the dramatic visual, so emphasizing her charisma.

  • mandohat says:

    You wouldn’t do it to an expensive instrument, but it could be properly dried out, and would be just fine.

  • Peter says:

    Intellectually I know that dunking a cheap violin in water does no harm to anyone, and that even if the soggy violin(s) in question (presumably there were multiple “takes”) were dumped in a skip afterwards, then it doesn’t matter.

    But emotionally it offends to see it.

    Just like book burning, flag burning, slashing images of politicians, desecrating religeous images, all that stuff, there is no real harm done, because it is symbolic. But somehow the act and the message it conveys says something about the views of the person doing it.

    I don’t like the message that Ms Meyers communicates, which to me says, “I am custodian of the most expensive violin in the world, but I don’t care about violins in general, and will mistreat cheap imitations.”

    If an American President burned a cheap imitation of the American flag, would that be ok ?

    Yes, but also no.