The Met reopens musical gallery
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has reopened its musical instrument display galleries.Â The new ensemble of some 230 instruments include rarely seen pieces such as Giovanni Grancinoâ€™s viola dâ€™amore of 1701.Â
Exceptional provenance takes bidding to stratosphere
13 October 2009 Christieâ€™s auctioned Pieter Rombouts A Tennor Viola da Gamba made in 1708 in Amsterdam.Â The Viola was estimated to sell between $10,000 and $15,000 yet after heated bidding in the room, hammered in at $212,500 (including buyerâ€™s premium).Â With excellent provenance and catalogued de la collection d'Instruments de Musique Anciens ou Curieux formÃ©e par C.C. Snoeck, Ghent, 1894 as well as the Erich Lachmann Collection of Historical Musical Instruments, Los Angeles, 1950.
Courtesy Christies Images Ltd. 2010
A recent article in Time Magazine reported that professional musical instruments are a stable investment. Brandeis economist Kathryn Graddyâ€™s research shows that between 1850 and April 2009, the value of professional-quality instruments rose in real terms about 3% annually. Instruments made by the masters such as Stradivari, Amati and Guarneri del GesÃ¹ have appreciated at much higher rates. Interestingly, violins below the $100,000 mark do not perform as well and have depreciated in value during the recession.
Strong Sales at Christieâ€™s
Christieâ€™s musical instruments auction, held on 3rd April 2009, was a reasonable success taking in $2,555,563 and selling 80.4 per cent by lot and 89.2% by value. Three world auction records were set at the event in New York. This Giovanni Battista Ceruti violin, Cremona, circa 1800 sold for $158,500 against an estimate of $60,000-$80,000 and set a world auction record for Ceruti.
Christieâ€™s Images Ltd. 2009
Are Mushrooms the Key to Stradivarius Sound?
Last November 2008 a Swiss researcher revealed a theory that the presence of a certain type of mushroom may be the reason behind the rich sound made by the wood of a Stradivarius. Francis Schwarze created a maple violin as a replica of a 1698 instrument made by the Italian master Antonio Stradivari. Schwarze claims he has created a comparable sound to a Stradivarius by treating the wood of his violin with X ylaria longipes, a mushroom that grows on the bark of trees.
Schwarze says that the mushrooms nibble lightly at the wood, decreasing its density and intensifying its sounds. Over the years researchers have studied the wood used in Stradivari instruments in order to determine the cause for its rich sound, which so far has not been reproducible.