Monday, February 03, 2014

Stolen: The Lipinski Stradivarius Violin, In Milwaukee

I have a terrible feeling that it was not stolen to order, but now sits in ashes or in a dumpster, destroyed by thieves too scared and ignorant to care for it.

The owner, who had loaned it to Frank Almond, Concertmaster for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, released a statement which Almond put on his website:
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. As a non-violinist, non-public figure, it has felt more natural to me to remain relatively anonymous. Not expecting the violin to participate in this tendency, 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. That he was concertmaster of the MSO was especially appropriate, as another goal was to give Milwaukee the gift of being able to hear the violin frequently...

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.
My guess is that it is not so much the loss to the owner which is so devastating, but the likelihood that it has been damaged or destroyed.

I remember when my apartment in Milwaukee was burgled years ago. One of the police who responded to my call got in my face at my lack of being upset. I had to respond: No one was killed, no one was injured. No one was raped. None of the things which I value most highly was damaged, and they so easily could have been by simply sweeping things off the shelf, or tipping over a bookcase.

To someone who truly cares about the things they possess, losing them to theft is nothing compared to losing them to destruction.

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