Saturday, January 4, 2020

the violins of hope are coming

A couple months ago I reported here on a press lunch I attended for the impending Violins of Hope residency. Now I've published a preview article all about it for the Daily Journal, which will tell you what it is that I'm talking about.

I compiled this article basically by boiling down the residency's extensive calendar, looking for the important items and those taking place in the immediate San Mateo area, where the DJ's readership is located. But there's nothing in the calendar to say specifically, for instance, that the Jan. 16 concert is the central event or that it's being repeated twice in other places. You have to read through all 50 or so listings and pick them out, so I did that.

Attempting to describe the meaningfulness of having the violins play would be a challenge for me. I consider ascribing significance to hearing a particular violin just because it went through the Holocaust to be something of a stunt. So I just picked out an appropriate quote from the press release and used that. I'm going to be reviewing some of these concerts and my only interest in the specific violins will be in how they sound.

On the other hand, I was gut-struck by one of the photographs in the museum exhibit, where the luthier who's collecting the violins opened one of them up for repair to discover that a previous 1930s German repair-jobber had scribbled Nazi graffiti on the inside of the violin, leaving his spoor where the Jewish owner wouldn't notice it was there. That's significant, and disturbing.

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