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Want to hear the world’s most expensive violin? Click here…

It’s the Vieuxtemps Guarnerius, on the market for $20 million. We don’t think it fetched quite that much, but it has been given on loan to Anne-Akiko Meyers and she’s making the most of it. Read the pedigree here. Then click the video.


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  1. It’s a del Gesu!

  2. richardcarlisle says:



    Your best ever… she adds a unique touch right near the end to this most beautiful, accomplished melody of all time and the ultimate golden tone of the instrument is well portrayed in this clip.

    Only in dreams such perfection is usually reached… thank you a million times over for something this fulfilling.

    • richardcarlisle says:

      The way she varies her vibrato through a full range so delicately, exquisitely, appropriately is a phenomenum in itself.

  3. Larry Wheeler says:

    This violin, an extraordinary Guarnerius del Jesu, is a perfect match for Anne-Akiko Meyers. Violin and violinist become one, allowing the sound to become pure music. Her ability to play Bach’s beautiful Air simply makes it simply beautiful. Along with the many subtle colors and seamless lines we hear hints of the power that could be summoned at will.

    While the attention is quite rightly focused on the beautiful violin and violinist, the piano accompaniment of Anton Nel provides exquisite support.

    • richardcarlisle says:


      For me the most mesmerizing rendition of the Air EVER– and the exquisite vibrato ranging delicately from almost inaudible to prominent … she has provided a great gift to be enjoyed over time, crediting of course both the violin she loves deeply and the piano accompaniment of Anton.

  4. jim sillan says:

    boring rendition of the bach

    • I have far too many recordings of this piece already, and this one doesn’t sound any different from all the others. This might be the most generic interpretation of this piece I’ve heard.

      • Larry Wheeler says:

        In that case, gentlemen, we should all very much look forward to your own posted versions of this piece-putting on Airs, as it were. In the meantime, have you any thoughts on the violin? Presumably, that is why you came here.

      • Wow. You may not like it, but it is anything but generic. I find it a fascinating historical document, because she integrates aspects of what we now consider “historically informed” performance into her reading, but it is far from a performance of that type-quite rightly, as she is using an instrument set up for a modern performance, accompanied by a piano in the original key. She also integrates some old fashioned portamento, making this a kind of hybrid of three distinct styles of playing. This is a “modern” undogmatic approach that is quite different from any I have heard before. I really like it, but I love mixing things up like that-why not?

  5. robcat2075 says:

    Why do we keep calling this the “Air on the G string” when no one seems to play it on the G string anymore?

  6. Jayne Smith says:

    Such a glorious sound! The interpretation is beautiful.
    The tone of the Del Gesu and the clarity are fantastic. Kudo to Ms. Meyers for not letting this sit in a museum.

  7. Connie Schram says:

    sounds so pure and angelic; delicate and exquisite vibrato; thanks for sharing!

  8. Nandor Szederkenyi says:

    Question of taste; wonderful violinist, great instrument, however I am not sure if Mr. Bach would like this interpretation.
    On the other hand, pushing instrument prices to this astronomical range is simply not fair, making impossible even to the top stars to be able to buy them.
    To me, having a great violin is like a marriage; playing a violin that is on loan, is like having someone else’s wife ;-)

    • Paul Ricchi says:

      After you check with Mr. Bach, please get back to us and let us know what he had to say.

  9. Larry Wheeler says:

    @robcat2075- The Air on the G-string is an arrangement by August Wilhelmj of the Air from Bach’s 3rd Orchestral Suite. The suite is in D, the arrangement is in C, two octaves lower. Ms. Meyers plays it in the original key and register.
    @Nandor- To play this in ‘authentic’ style, the violin would not have been this one, which is set up for modern projection and tone. Also, the accompaniment would have been harpsichord, not modern piano.
    The market determines the price of instruments, as with any work of art.
    All artists who play on great instruments know that they are simply custodians for future musicians. The marriage is in the sound and expression, not in the ownership. In all likelihood, the banks would own the instrument anyway, just as with a home and mortgage.
    @Jane Smith- agreed.

    • robcat2075 says:

      My question wasn’t “how did it get that name?”

      • Larry Wheeler says:

        It is often called ‘Air on the G-string’ because that is such a familiar and famous name for this piece. WGBH listed it as such, presumably (and hopefully) for that reason.
        Did you know the Air was the very first piece of Bach ever recorded? That version, from 1902, was an arrangement for cello and piano.

  10. Nandor Szederkenyi says:

    @Larry Wheeler, You’re right, actually I didn’t mean authentic style, just simply style; maybe I was suggesting that this isn’t exactly how I like it and for this reason I started with “question of taste”. Actually, recordings can be made very differently too, even a much less superb sounding violin can be “processed”. It is also mostly the player who makes a certain kind of sound; give this violin to an untalented student and you’ll be surprised. But this subject could make endless discussions…
    The market is nothing but money making for business people and often, especially with high value instruments very dirty. I don’t know if you are a violinist or not, having a nice instrument to play on, but I am, I have a beautiful Italian violin, and believe me, this violin is my best friend. If I wouldn’t own it, knowing that I would have to give some day back to the owner, I could never develop this magical feeling ever.

    • Larry Wheeler says:

      You may be referring to speculators. More often, the market can make money for the musicians who bought fine instruments many years ago. I have a mid-18th century Italian viola that I waited eighteen years to acquire. While the previous owner realized a handsome profit, I would hope to do likewise.
      Many symphonies, through board members and foundations, are buying great instruments for use by their principal string players. I highly doubt that those musicians’ output is diminished by the fact that they do not personally own those instruments.

  11. richardcarlisle says:

    Our being able to fully appreciate this recording– both from the instrument quality perspective along with such an exquisite performance — all adds up to a rare blessing… whether Ms Meyers “owns” it in a material sense seems to pale in importance compared with the opportunity to give this performance to us… and if someone owns such an instrument how then to distribute it in a will .. this is perhaps the best arrangement after all.

  12. I retained my breathing for some time !

    Wonderful indeed !

    In my next Life, I will marry a Girl Violinist ! I promised myself !

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