What a Stradivarius viola sounds like on breakfast TV

What a Stradivarius viola sounds like on breakfast TV


norman lebrecht

January 05, 2015

Somehow, the presenters of Poland’s Good Morning programme got to wondering yesterday how a viola made by Antonio Stradivarius might sound. So they called in Lech Antonio Uszynski to play the Gibson Strad, in a Polish Caprice by Grazyna Bacewicz.

Watch closely. You’ll never see anything like this on a US network breakfast show.

lech antonio

Lech, viola player of the Stradivari Quartet,was making his first TV appearance in his homeland.


  • Larry W says:

    Now, that’s what a $45 million viola should sound like.

  • Amati says:

    I didn’t understand a word of what they were saying or really cared for the performance, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the blonde. <3

  • Walter says:

    Bravo to Lech Antonio Uszynski for this sincere and intense performance and for bringing out the beautiful sound of this magnificent instrument. Hearing and watching this made me very happy, especially after so many of us, who are interested in great string instruments, were subjected to the gross and extremely tasteless spectacle that surrounded the failed sale of the Macdonald Strad viola last June. Watching and following that tragic story, which rightly ended in failure and disgrace, with the absolutely awful, overbearing and irritating presence of the young David Aaron Carpenter who, singlehandedly, managed to turn the entire sale of that great and noble Macdonald Strad viola into a third rate cheap reality show, complete with all the kitsch, egomania and histrionics. Perhaps that instrument would have sold for the $45 million had its sale not been reduced to a circus sideshow by a relatively unknown and immature musician more interested in self promotion than in being at the service of Antonio Stradivari. Seeing this video has given me and many hope that there are indeed talented and sincere upcoming young violists.

    • Arthur Marcus says:

      Very well said. I share your thoughts and criticism about the ridiculous and embarrassing way in which the Macdonald viola was handled and agree that it was fortunate that the sale never happened. Apparently, it sent a message to many, as countless musician friends of mine openly expressed their disgust at the media show around the Macdonald viola’s sale and those involved in it.

      I also enjoyed this video and appreciated the fine playing of Mr. Uszynski.

  • CDH says:

    My Polish is very rusty, but the post-performance chatter seemed as superficial and mindless as we are used to in the west on such soft-sofa shows. Still, we had had the performance, and if a little gossipy stuff could induce the regular consumers of breakfast TV to take a smidgin of interest in real music, some vestige of good may have been done.

  • Jo Hammond says:

    Yes, I really hate the way so-called “classical” music is introduced to these magazine-format TV shows. I want to turn them off. But what can we expect when decent music is practically ignored in schools and TV audiences are mostly exposed to garbage music?

  • Max Grimm says:

    “Watch closely. You’ll never see anything like this on a US network breakfast show.”

    You are correct in more ways than one Norman.


  • Harry F. Hagan says:

    Wonderful playing! And on a program targeted to the public! It must be a very different public there. And no viola jokes, either, I’m guessing. Here, they would arrange to have a fat person come in and sit on the viola, or just maybe have it explode.