Lebrecht Music & Arts now has rare pictures of American violinist Michael Rabin. He died tragically at the age of 35.
Jacqueline du Pré ‘s 25th death anniversary falls on 19 October 2012. The famous British cellist is forever linked with her thrilling and transcendental performances of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor. She was married to Daniel Barenboim, the pianist and conductor. Her career was cut short by multiple sclerosis which forced her to stop performing at 28 and led to her tragic early death.
The answer seems to be yes if wood is used that has been attacked by fungi.
A good violin depends not only on the expertise of the violin maker, but also on the quality of the wood that is used. The Swiss wood researcher Professor Francis W. M. R. Schwarze (Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, St. Gallen, Switzerland) has succeeded in modifying the wood for a violin through treatment with special fungi. This treatment alters the acoustic properties of the instrument, making it sound indistinguishably similar to a Stradivarius.
In his dinner talk at the 1st ECRC “Franz-Volhard” Symposium of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and Charité – Universitätsmedizin on September 7, 2012 in Berlin-Buch, Schwarze reported on his research and gave a preview of what his wood treatment method could mean, particularly for young violinists.
Low density, high speed of sound and a high modulus of elasticity – these qualities are essential for ideal violin tone wood. In the late 17th and early 18th century the famous violin maker Antonio Stradivari used a special wood that had grown in the cold period between 1645 and 1715. In the long winters and the cool summers, the wood grew especially slowly and evenly, creating low density and a high modulus of elasticity. Until now, modern violin makers could only dream of wood with such tonal qualities.
Read more on this website.
It seems that Dr Schwarze has cracked a problem that has defeated instrument makers for 300 years, matching, or even beating, the Master of Cremona.