Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
An open letter to the criminals who stole Frank Almond’s Strad warns them that it could soon be worthless if they don’t treat it well.
Good advice, though there are better ways to give it back. Leave it with a local minister, priest or rabbi. I would suggest an amnesty in exchange for its safe return. Is there such a thing as buyer’s remorse among thieves? Perhaps the thieves have gotten their thrills out of it by now — though it seems like it may have been a contract job.
Tartini’s violin. Imagine. A part of human history that no one can truly “own.”
This letter made me weep…as if my talented child had indeed been kidnapped. If these sociopaths threw the case aside, I doubt they’re professionals and will never see what Frank Almond wrote – or care. A couple of thugs who, for a quick thrill or fix, have sacrificed their lives – for they will be found out. As for the beautiful Strad: even if it sounds corny and New Age, why don’t all of us imagine a white, protective light around it on the way to its safe return? Claudio Abbado would have approved…
A no-questions-asked reward might not hurt.
Set it down and walk away? Think again. Bomb squad to the scene. From Stradivarius to smithereens. At least don’t try this in an airport or any government building.
Philippe Quint, who plays the Ruby Strad, and I discussed this last night in a pre-concert chat. The story is so sad and so awful, and Frank Almond’s love and care for his instrument so well documented (he wrote a book about it), that it is almost beyond comprehension. Should every violinist with an historic violin now walk in fear? Have we, as a people, become so craven? Mr. Almond’s letter broke my heart.
Nice piece, though there was no need to discredit it with the statement it needed to breathe. It doesn’t – and it doesn’t say so in the article either.
This is one circumstance where I might advise the thieves to pay cash for a last minute flight to Frankfurt, and not worry about not carrying passports or documentation for the instrument or declaring it at Customs (perhaps as an Item #5 in the open letter?)
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
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