Frank Almond, the Milwaukee concertmaster who was mugged last week and robbed of his precious Stradivarius, has posted a message on his blog from the instrument’s anonymous owner. Frank’s discretion and the owner’s dignified words unite in dealing with this cultural disaster not as personal tragedy but as an attack on human civilisation.
Here are two extracts:
Due to my devastation at the attack on you, Frank, and the theft of the violin, I feel compelled to write this. First, I’m so happy that you are safe. I speak to your many friends, whose responses to this event have been so touching. It has been my joy and privilege to own the Lipinski Stradivari in recent years. I have thought of myself more as a guardian of a treasure than an owner, a treasure that needs to be seen and heard. It has been in my family for over five decades, deeply loved and used in performance across the world. … I had the good fortune to find Frank to take loving care of it every day and to use his musicality and virtuosity to express his vision with its glorious voice.
… I am even more grateful that his terrible experience on the night of Jan. 27 did not result in permanent injury. I had left the concert hall just a few minutes earlier and thinking of what then happened so quickly is very painful.
As a child overhearing long, expert practice sessions on the Lipinski, I didn’t realize that it was exceptional. To me, that was just how violins sounded. Understanding its capabilities came later: the pure, strong voice, clear, light and dancing, dark, brooding, poignant, tender, ebullient, expressing any emotion the player was feeling. Its loss is devastating.
Perhaps it’s appropriate to say also that I’m not part of any upper echelon, musical or other, just a person who loved her family violin with all its memories and three hundred years of history more than the many opportunities to sell it. My heart is broken.
Read the full statement here.