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Cello Missing for 40 Years Found and Surprise

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https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2020-07-22/the-mystery-of-a-stolen-rare-cello-has-a-surprise-ending

The image revealed the luthier’s label, visible through one of the curlicued f-holes.

Across it was a note inscribed in the feathery pen of the master himself: Pour la petite Comtesse Marie 1834. “For the little Countess Marie.”

“I could hardly believe it,” she recalled. The cello had been given to her as a child by her father; nearly 40 years earlier, it had been stolen.

Custom-made for the daughter of a French aristocrat two centuries ago, it was a spectacular, rare one-eighth-size cello produced by Bernardel, protégé of Nicolas Lupot, violin maker to King Louis XVIII. Bernardel’s craftsmanship earned him renown as among the finest string instrument makers in France.....

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That was an entertaining read! :) 

It went a little overboard on the sentimentality...but hey!  I suppose in this instance it works...^_^

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Golly darn, I wish I could find my first-through-third violins, my first trumpet, clarinet, piano, and guitar. Naturally, just like the fractional-sized cello mentioned in the article, each of my instruments was "made for an aristocrat", according to the seller.  :lol:

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6 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Golly darn, I wish I could find my first-through-third violins, my first trumpet, clarinet, piano, and guitar. Naturally, just like the fractional-sized cello mentioned in the article, each of my instruments was "made for an aristocrat", according to the seller.  :lol:

it almost sounds like weisshaar had the cello but was at odds with the girl's father so didn't let them know

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Neat story! Kudos to Eittinger and Walevska for handling the return that way. Win-win with a nice story in the LA Times.

It all begs the question about the quality of beginner instruments. How many frustrated young players have quit over the years who might have been inspired to continue if they hadn't started out on squawky, hard to play VSO's? Beyond that, though, is the question of motivated, talented students getting inspired by playing on an instrument that has a "history," like having been made for a "princess" or having been around for a few centuries?

Of course, we should be careful about perpetuating myths and iconic devotion, but a little "magic" and "fairy dust" in the right doses might be ok, if it inspires a sense of awe and respect for the instrument and the music.

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Great story. I was left feeling like the best possible end would be to figure out a way to keep the instrument in use with deserving young players, although I   suppose that's not the most realistic thing to hope for...

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Not this is just a hypothetical question, so please don’t throw rocks, thinking that I am recommending that it be done in this instance, but, could a nice fractional size cello be turned into a viola? I 1/8 Cello is very tiny indeed, so I wonder if it would be feasible

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There are lots of nice violas...why would we want to convert a unique fractional cello into yet another viola?

Or are you just wondering if any tiny cello can be turned into a playable viola?

I'd think they'd be too deep?

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15 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Not this is just a hypothetical question, so please don’t throw rocks, thinking that I am recommending that it be done in this instance, but, could a nice fractional size cello be turned into a viola? I 1/8 Cello is very tiny indeed, so I wonder if it would be feasible

Maybe a cello da spalla, if you believe in that sort of thing.

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Meanwhile, Valevska says “there have been five great women cellists.”

who?

Natalie Gutman, Zara Nelsova, Wendy Warner, Beatrice Harrison, Marion Davies, Shirley Treple, Raya Garbasova, hmmmm is that five?

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15 minutes ago, Rue said:

There are lots of nice violas...why would we want to convert a unique fractional cello into yet another viola?

Or are you just wondering if any tiny cello can be turned into a playable viola?

I'd think they'd be too deep?

Dear my heart, didn’t I just say I wasn’t suggesting such an awful fate for this cello?

I think it would be far better to totally take it apart so we can study how it was made, and then the pieces can be sold on eBay.
 

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LOL...or we can just put it in a museum, as a lovely example of a quality fractional cello - along with sound clips! ^_^

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BTW...as part of my explorations into guitars - I have both 'regular' and 'thin-body [or thinline]' nylon string instruments.  Both play well enough...but the regular model, with the deeper body...sounds much better.

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

Meanwhile, Valevska says “there have been five great women cellists.”

who?

Natalie Gutman, Zara Nelsova, Wendy Warner, Beatrice Harrison, Marion Davies, Shirley Treple, Raya Garbasova, hmmmm is that five?

https://macdndev.azureedge.net/genesis-temp/5/6/6/e/f/5/566ef54ab3686e592acd5f9a0f41dd2160180b88.jpg

:huh:  :P

 

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What bothers me most is that Dad made a case for the little cello, Mom made a green velvet lining for the little cello...

...and the brother burned the case due to the woman's trauma of having lost the little cello...

...which was hanging up as a decoration in a guitar store.

I think I would treasure the case custom made by my parents more than the little cello that was made by a stranger - that was also too small for me to still play, and was being used as a decoration.

 

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2 hours ago, Michael_Molnar said:

What bothered me about this story is the lack of sales receipts/records in selling valuable historical instruments. It exposes a dark backstory about dealers in the high end trade.
 

I agree, it is impossible that the people involved in these transactions did not know that they were dealing with stolen property, but they did not care.

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10 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I agree, it is impossible that the people involved in these transactions did not know that they were dealing with stolen property, but they did not care.

It isn't entirely impossible, although it may be improbable. If the family and Weisshaar had a contentious relationship, there's always a chance that he didn't know that it had been stolen, even if it's only a small chance. 

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