What do a dozen Stradivari instruments sound like together?

What do a dozen Stradivari instruments sound like together?


norman lebrecht

November 24, 2022

The London dealers J & A Beare have brought together an ensemble of Cremona treasures for a Cadogan Hall concert on December 19.

The Dutch violin virtuoso Janine Jansen will lead the ensemble as artistic director in works by Mendelssohn and Chausson.

Other participants on prime Strads are the Quatuor Ébène with Alexander Sitkovetsky, Timothy Ridout and Kian Soltani.


  • henry williams says:

    this sounds good if one lives in London.

  • fierywoman says:

    I’m hoping there will be a recording!

  • Allegri says:

    Not sure if they are still active, but there used to be the Philharmonische Stradivari-Solisten Berlin, a group of a dozen string players mostly comprised of members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. They gave rare appearances in Berlin and Tokyo, and the sound was magnificent.
    I’m sure the upcoming concert at Cadogan Hall will be very worthwhile.

  • Murray Citron says:

    I have a recording of the Four Seasons with soloist Ruggiero Ricci accompanied by the “Stradivarius Chamber Orchestra” consisting of 14 Strads (including violas and cellos) all named and dated and appearing on the front cover in color, on Decca LP DL 9423…an ancient artifact, but sounding quite good once I cleaned it! And the performance is excellent.

    • David K. Nelson says:

      Murray beat me to it in mentioning the Ricci LP for American Decca. It was a companion to Ricci’s famous Glory of Cremona LP which in turn inspired both a lengthy magazine article and a full length book. For whatever reason the Four Seasons LP got less attention even though we were not drowning in Four Seasons recordings in the mid-1960s as we are now.

      The one disappointment about the Ricci/Vivaldi disc is that it does not name the members of the pick-up orchestra, presumably from the pool of top NYC freelancers, most of whom had fine instruments of their own. Imagine showing up for a gig and being told “OK here’s YOUR Strad, and here’s YOUR Strad, and here’s ….”

    • John Dietmann says:

      Bravo! I now live in London and am 85. But I remember Ricci from concerts in the USA when I was very young.
      It’s not necessary to clean his 4 Seasons recording with the anonymous Stradivarius Chamber Orchestra. I’m listening to it now streaming in flac from Qobuz through my Cambridge Audio streamer, Rega Amp, and B&W speakers. Qobuz has most of his recordings; I’ve added it to my massive list of favourites on Qobuz. Try Janine Jensen’s cd of the Vivaldi.

  • prof says:

    A dozen is pretty good. If you want to know what four Strads sound like together, though, you can just listen to the Tokyo Quartet, who played and recorded on the matched Ex-Paganini set of Strads for the most (all?) of their career.