The Locked-down Violin

April, 2020

To have a break from the rough arching of the viola back this morning, I picked up the new violin lying on my other bench and started to play.

Finishing an instrument, even after many years, is still a bit nerve-wracking because after days and weeks of work, of concentration and commitment, there is a lot of me invested in it, and of course, I want it to turn out well.

So, I started to play, slowly, and without any definite direction or goal, just notes, no scales, some double stops, an occasional tune, and then back to notes again. And forty minutes later I was still at it, pushing the notes, pushing the sound, listening, still absorbed in what it could do.

I remember one morning coffee break in Oxford some years ago when Suzanne Stanzeleit, who was then part of the Maggini Quartet, picked up one of my fiddles and didn’t put it down throughout the break until she had to go back to teach, and I knew that I didn’t need to worry about that violin, it would find a home because someone, at least, didn’t want to put it down. And that is how I feel about this one, except of course, at the moment, it is only me that can go near it.