Stradivarius for the first time in Timisoara, on the 15th of September 1879
On Monday the 15th of September 1879 Timisoara hosted a symphonic concert that became legendary. The protagonists were: the violinist Joseph JOACHIM (1831-1907) und the composer Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897). The interest of the Timisoara audience for this concert was so unexpected that all tickets had been sold out three days before the concert took place. Only a few know that Joseph JOACHIM played on this occasion on a Stradivarius violin. It was for the first time that Timisoara could hear the extraordinary sound of such a violin.
Joachim debuted as a precocious child at the age of seven and a half years and he was considered back then a living wonder. In the meantime he got one of the most important (maybe the greatest) violinist of the second half of the 19th century. In his youth Joachim played on a Guarneri del Gesù violin and then, in the sixth decade of the 19th century, he used a Guadagnini instrument that had been manufactured in 1767. Although Joachim has possessed less than 10 Stradivari during his entire life, he is the one closest to that violin, that had been manufactured by the famous Antonio STRADIVARI (1644-1737) in 1714 and is well known as „Joachim Ma“.
This is the instrument he has played on on the 1st of January 1879 during the premiere of the violin concert in D major (opus 77) in Leipzig, that had been written by his friend Johannes BRAHMS for him. Nine months later Joachim played the opus again, in Timisoara. During the concert in our city, that was called an artistic celebration by the local media,
Joachim also played:
– the violin sonata no. 8 (opus 30, no. 3) by Ludwig van BEETHOVEN,
– the second score for the violin solo (Ciaccona) by Johann Sebastian BACH,
– the adagio from the violin concert no. 9 (opus 55) by Louis (Ludwig) SPOHR.
Speeches were held after the concert during which Joachim expressed hi9mself courteous and rows of champagne were served to the guests in the Korona restaurant before they had to be brought at midnight to the railway station. The promise to come back for another concert could not be kept…
Yehudi MENUHIN and “1714 Soil Stradivari” in Timișoara (1969)
On Sunday, the 23rd of March 1969, the famous Yehudi MENUHIN, the great violin artist, held a concert in the Modern (now, Capitol concert hall) together with the Menuhin Festival Orchestra from London. Born as a precocious child in 1916 in New York, he held his first concert at the age of 7 years with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Thus Menuhin is considered to be one of the greatest (if not the greatest) violinists of the 20th century, having an almost 70 years long career, one of the most prestigious in the history of music.
The London guests had arrived in Timisoara on the evening of Saturday, the 22nd of March. The rehearsal before the concert took place in the concert hall of the “Ion Vidu” Music School, where the Menuhin Festival Orchestra rehearsed the string and two horns Sonata, that was composed by John Nicholas MAW in 1966. The distinguished guest wrote into the music school guestbook: “I congratulate Timișoara for this music school with one of the most beautiful concert halls I have ever known”. Later on he declared to the newspaper journalist Erwin Lucian BURERIU that this concert hall was “the best in Europe”.
The Sunday concert had the following opus in its repertoire (with Yehudi MENUHIN as a lead player):
– The Concert no. 5 for violin and orchestra in a major K.W. 219 Das Türkische by Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART;
– The Concert for two violins and string orchestra (Op. 77) by Arnold MALCOM (together with Robert MASTERS, the concert maestro of the “Menuhin Festival Orchestra”);
– The Romance no. 2 for violin in F major (Op. 50) by Ludwig van BEETHOVEN;
Then, with Menuhin as a conductor, the London orchestra also played:
– The Symphony no. 5 in B flat major (D. 485) by Franz SCHUBERT;
– The Overture to the opera Armida (Dramma eroico in tre atti) by Joseph HAYDN.
The Timisoara public was thrilled to hear the strings of the famous violinist, because Yehudi MENUHIN has been playing on a Soil Stradivari 1714 since 1950 and in the opinion of many informed listeners, this is the greatest sounding Stradivari of them all. In 1986 the violin was bought by Itzhak PERLMAN for about 600.000 pounds.
Doru MURGU wrote in the concert review among other appreciative words: “The violinist discovers himself like a rare interpreter, in whom the splendor of profound self-knowledge combines with the logic of a thinker who has rigorously elaborated his entire edifice”. The London guests left on the same evening … the next day they had a concert at Sala Palatului in Bucharest.
Alexandru TOMESCU and the Stradivarius Elder-Voicu 1702 violin
In September 2007 and November 2013, Alexandru TOMESCU won the right to play at the famous Stradivarius Elder-Voicu 1702 violin for a period of each five years. The violin had been manufactured in 1702 by the famous craftsman Antonio STRADIVARI in his golden period, which is called golden, because between 1700 and 1720 he made his best instruments, that come closest to perfection not only through their beauty in sound, but also through their impeccable shape, yet not copied. The violin belonged to the collection of Joseph JOACHIM, but for four decades it had been used by the maestro Ion VOICU. It is considered to be one of the best preserved Stradivari and it was bought by the Romanian government on the 29th of August 1956 form the firm Henry Werro at the price of 80.000 Swiss Francs. In 2007, after an extremely minute expertise, the instrument had been evaluated at the amount of 1,2 million dollars.
The national Stradivarius tours of Alexandru TOMESCU never miss Timișoara …