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The so-called “mystery of Stradivari” has long confused me. How is it possible, I wondered, that with all of the tools of modern technology, and all of our increased understanding of the way the world works, we can’t seem to find a way to make instruments that can at least equal those of some guy working in Cremona, Italy, over 300 years ago?
Not surprisingly, I’m hardly the first person to find this perplexing: it is a long-standing, indeed quasi-iconic, mystery throughout the classical music world.
It confused Joseph Curtin too. But Curtin is hardly your run-of-the mill ruminator. He is one of the most recognized violin-makers working today, a MacArthur Fellowship-winning artisan who combines premiere craftsmanship with an unabashed enthusiasm for acoustics and rigorous scientific methodology.
He is also a delightfully frank, open and approachable fellow. (more…)