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Heifetz' Violin


marufi

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Will you guys look at what you have written?

You would like to see the violin in a glass case.

The concertmaster is an obscenity, and an unworthy violinist. He earns too much money. He should play a $1000 Chinese violin so you can afford tickets. "For the rest of us who's lucky to get a balcony seat, a chinese violin sounds just fine, thank you very much...." Perlman is dumb, and not a great violinist either. The conservator is probably unqualified because he makes violins. The museum is trying to promote their chamber music series. It's unacceptable for the museum to use the violin to promote its chamber music series, but it's admirable to promote chamber music. The whole thing smells of marketing. [symphonies mustn't market their music?!] Most of the time the violin will sit around in the concertmaster's house or office. When not in use, it will be in museum-approved, secure, climate-controlled storage. You didn't like the way the violin was displayed. The violin was ruined at Perlman's whim. Maybe they lengthened the neck. [Or maybe not. Do your homework.]

What I infer from this is that the concertmaster is not worthy to play the instrument, and the public is not worthy to hear the instrument in the orchestra, but you are perfectly worthy to gawk at it under glass. [if you truly have a serious purpose for examining it carefully, have you actually sought permission to do so?] Of course, in an orchestra, just any old violin will do. You are not responsible for the management or financial health of the either the museum or the orchestra, and I assume that most of you neither contribute to nor visit either institution. Nevertheless, you have no doubt about what is in the public interest regarding their displays and use of their assets. [Have you actually tried making polite suggestions and communicating with them constructively?] You don't like low lighting for instrument, even though light is injurious in the long ruin.

As for the last charge, you may have a point, but let's trace the charge back to the source. The source of all the information was that deStaunton had word-of-mouth information that a new, wider neck was grafted because Perlman could not or would not play it with Heifetz's narrow neck. A nameless person also thought the neck angle was rather high, but there was no word on whether it was too high or what the angle was when Heifetz played it. deStaunton was trying to verify the information, but no verification was forthcoming. For perspective, any of you can go into Carl Becker's shop and see Becker Sr. violins with a wedge under the fingerboard to raise the angle. The fact is that violins need this kind of maintenance after some years.

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"You would like to see the violin in a glass case."

My selfish view is that I would rather see it than not see it. But I don't really care if I see this violin or some other Guarneri work, just so long as it's an informative presentation. If it's going to be a crummy display like the one at the San Francisco museum, I probably won't care too much in any case. But what I would like to see somewhere is an instrument by the Master, along with additional information that indicates why Guarneri's work is special in the history of violin making, what is the history of modifications to this instrument, and what is the history of its owners. Oh yes, and I would like to be able to see the front, back, and sides (glass w/ UV protection is available so brightness should not be an issue).

Otherwise, if Heifitz wanted an exhibit about himself, then it should be about him. Maybe get his old smoking jacket or something personal plus a recording to listen to. I'm sure many people are interested in him and his mastery of the fiddle. But for selfish me, somewhere there should be some broken up Guarnerius that no one wants to play, for which someone would take a grossly inflated tax writeoff. (Yes, we tax payers have undoubtedly paid more for that Heifitz violin than he did, but that's another story. Right, Senor Axelrod?)

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Ah, so now Perlman is not a great violinist. I learn something new every day. Both Heifetz, as well as Milstein, complimented Perlman for being one of the outstanding violinists of the new generation. Perlman has always acknowledged that Heifetz was the king, and spoken many times at length about how he looked on him as a role model. I've been inspired by Mr. Perlman's playing for years and years, I'm sorry you don't find him to be a great violinist and thought his concert was one big lullaby.

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You make some reasonable points. I think we would all like to be able to see some of these violins occasionally when they are not being used. We would also like to be able to hear them occasionally when they are not being seen, so there is a problem with overdemand.

Without seeing any of the museum displays that are the subjects of complaints, I can only speculate that the picture referred to in the previous thread was how Heifetz's violin was displayed. While all of us would surely prefer to have a 360-degree view, I can only assume that the museum decided that the public would rather see it in Heifetz's case, which may be slightly worse than mine. I wouldn't be too quick to condemn museums for trying to please, even if their display is not to the liking of specialists such as ourselves.

Museums usually do what they can to win friends and to be of genuine service to the public. It may be that anyone with a serious purpose could arrange to get a better view of it.

As for the lighting, I haven't seen the display, so I can't comment specifically. I do note that subdued lighting somewhat common in museums, and flash photography is usually completely forbidden--glass or no glass. Even if you put a spotlight in a closed case, will that heat up the case and reduce the relative humidity? I'm pretty sure it will.

I got the distinct impression from the many angry messages that some are convinced that the museum is destroying the instrument with almost malicious negligence. I'll probably get some angry replies about the neck, but I just haven't seen any evidence of negligence.

There was one other complaint, about who gets to use it. I didn't see it written anywhere that some other deserving artist couldn't play it occasionally, as before the loan. Nor did I see anywhere that this is a permanent arrangement.

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you can go into Carl Becker's shop...


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Morel actually did the work, and as far as restorers go, he seems to do an excellent job - possibly the best possible choice for an instrument of that caliber.

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I walked past the violin twice trying to find it. It's in a dark niche in a dark hall, in a dark case, and not near anything else at all--just on the way from here to there. A very strange display, really, not in any particular collection or room (at least that's where it was when I was there). My first thought was wondering if the location was obscure enough that I could just slip it under my jacket and walk out, without anyone noticing for a week or two.

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Michael already gave a description of the display, but I'll add some words. The "presentation" was strange to say the least. It was in a corner of a hallway (in front of auditorium entrance). I'm a relatively skinny fellow, and I had to "maneuver" behind the niche Michael mentions to see the back and left bout of the violin. The violin had a "coat-hanger" holding the scroll up, and the chin-rest was at the base of the display case, so the body of the violin was projecting upwards about 45 degrees. It was as if the museum didn't have the money to build a "proper" display case for the violin. (I don't think the museum has any expertise in musical instruments.)

The violin was in a Plexiglas case, not Heifetz's "violin case." To me, it was strange that Heifetz would choose SF Fine Arts Museum (I understand why he might donate it to CAL, but not SF Fine Arts Museum), because it was clear to me even from the presentation that the museum didn't know how to take care of an instrument like that.

When the instrument first went on display there, I wrote to the curator requesting an inventory (i.e. list of items) associated with the violin and Heifetz bequest (I was interested in the bow, which was not on display.) I never got a response back.....

I *blame* Heifetz for making a bad choice in venue.

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"I'm a relatively skinny fellow, and I had to "maneuver" behind the niche Michael mentions to see the back and left bout of the violin."

Aha! So you could see the back of it. Seriously, though, it sounds like they have made a good choice of what to do with it after all. Prevents us from making a heist.

Maybe if they do display it again, they could be persuaded to do a better job, especially if some genuine expertise and creativity were volunteered. Or maybe they're ignorant pigheads and we need to bring flashlights, but it's worth a try.

You'd be amazed at where you can find ignorance. A friend of mine bought a Stradivarius harpsichord (i.e., Ruckers) cheap from a Steinway estate auction. It was strung with piano strings!

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"I'm a relatively skinny fellow"

........and a brave one, too. I thought about trying to squeeze back there, but figured a guard would chase me out or that I would knock the whole thing over.

The Palace of the Legion of Honor is like a lot of museums, I suspect, in that it has no guiding principal. They just display whatever they can get their hands on -- glass ware, African masks, violins. (I guess there is one principal: if someone donates something you take it.) The other fine arts museum in the city, the de Young, doesn't seem to have that problem. The de Young has such an integrated, fluid collecton -- it's a delight to go from room to room. The Palace is just stuff, nothing memorable. Even their touted Rodin's Thinker is just one of many copies.

Anyway, I agree with Michael's opinion that Heifitz made a bad choice. I look for the violin to show up as a prop in some reality tv show in a couple years -- where aspiring artists debase themselves in front of millions for a chance to play the "The Violin" and carry on the Heifitz legacy.

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"The conservator is probably unqualified because he makes violins."

Well no, I didn't actually say that at all. I was merely pointing out that in an attempt to add respectability to the arrangement they have been somewhat devious. In fact if the instrument is to be used then Roland is an excellent choice.

I think that if I wrote an important document and referred to a museum conservator as a "violin restorer" there would be howls of protest .... right?

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Quote:

Will you guys look at what you have written?

You would like to see the violin in a glass case.

The concertmaster is an obscenity, and an unworthy violinist. He earns too much money. He should play a $1000 Chinese violin so you can afford tickets. "For the rest of us who's lucky to get a balcony seat, a chinese violin sounds just fine, thank you very much...." Perlman is dumb, and not a great violinist either. The conservator is probably unqualified because he makes violins. The museum is trying to promote their chamber music series. It's unacceptable for the museum to use the violin to promote its chamber music series, but it's admirable to promote chamber music. The whole thing smells of marketing. [symphonies mustn't market their music?!] Most of the time the violin will sit around in the concertmaster's house or office. When not in use, it will be in museum-approved, secure, climate-controlled storage. You didn't like the way the violin was displayed. The violin was ruined at Perlman's whim. Maybe they lengthened the neck. [Or maybe not. Do your homework.]


Well mr/ms "voice of reason" You have managed to take our opinions and placed them all out of contact. The chinese violins were a completely sarcastic statement...and the $1000 is way much more than anybody sould pay for a chinese violin...unless it is a well build one. And the concertmaster statement was relatively compared to the master himself, mr Heifetz. You have managed to mis-interpreted everything we/I said. So i guess you did not do your home work either! In any case, thanks for you kind input!

All we/I are asking is for the SFOS and the "decision" making people to respect the wish of the sole ownwer of this instrument ( mr Heifetz) and leave this instrument alone!!!

Stop making deal!, which deviate the dead man original wishes!! I don't give a "hood" of what you would like to do to any violin, as long as you have the right to it...otherwise, leave it alone!!! You want your friend mr concertmaster to play any violin? buy them yourself and give it to him!! Not Heifetz's violin!!!

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