Antonio De Lorenzi takes a seat onstage in the concert hall of Museo del Violino in Cremona, Italy, and carefully tucks a Stradivarius (a violi crafted in 1727 and called Vesuvio) under his chin. Through an earpiece, the soloist hears a metronomic beat as a voice says, “Go.”
De Lorenzi draws his bow across the lowest string and plays G for half a beat. He pauses. He then follows with A-flat. Then A. He moves up the scale, never changing his pace as he works through all four strings. Once he finishes, he repeats the exercise, this time sounding each tone just a bit faster. Clearly, this is no ordinary concert—or a typical practice. Outside, police have cordoned off the street to traffic. Inside, workers have shut down the heater despite the January chill, dimmed the lights, and unscrewed any buzzing bulbs. As each solitary note reverberates, an audience of 32 microphones dotted throughout the auditorium silently listens.
This was part of a campaign to preserve the Stradivarius sound. The museum hoped this painstaking exercise grants the rare treasures a degree of immortality so they might enchant future generations. (1)
Humans. Always wanting to keep things alive. Never satisfied with the ephemeral; always seeking the eternal instead. And yet, life itself is ephemeral. The universe is ephemeral. The cosmos itself is shouting: There is nothing that lives forever.
Echoing through the aeons.
Break the violin.
To remind us that it once was alive…
Can you feel the violin in your hands?
Can you whisper?
“There is nothing that lives forever. Except the things which never did”…