Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Violin

Last weekend I performed Brahms 2nd Symphony; me with my trusty violin. Do you want to know something about my trusty violin? My trusty violin is old, very old. It was made in Prague in the late 1700's. What a life it has lived! Think of all the musicians who have held it under their chin, think of all the places it has traveled, think of all the music it has created. And while it was my very first time performing Brahms 2nd Symphony, I would say with certainty that my violin must have played it before in the 133 years since the work was written.

It's fascinating to think about; once upon a time, a man named Johann Michael Willer took a chunk of wood and created a beautiful instrument. And that instrument has traveled through the decades and centuries. Who has owned it? Where has it been? Perhaps Mozart held this violin as he composed some of his final works, or maybe my violin was in the orchestra that premiered Beethoven's 9th Symphony in May of 1824. The possibilities are endless....

But what I do know is that for the past 16 years it has belonged to me. It has performed at weddings and funerals and church services. It has traveled back to Prague where it was once created. It has played in trios, quartets, and orchestras; it has performed solos. It has been my musical companion through many symphonies, concertos, and sonatas.

Yes, this violin is dear to me, as it has been there through every big milestone in my life. But I realize that my such a small piece of it's history. It's mysterious past has led it through the years to today, where it hangs beautifully in my parlor amongst my other prized instruments. And I feel honored; honored to be able to hold it and play it and create music with it; honored that somehow, through the twists and turns of history, it ended up with me. Lucky, lucky me.

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