The Vieuxtemps Guarneri Could Be The World's Most Expensive Musical Instrument
The Stradivarius is often considered the ne plus ultra of violins but a violin by another master could be the world's most expensive musical instrument in the world. The instrument in question is the Vieuxtemps Guarneri created by a craftsman from Cremona, Italy known as Guarneri del Gesù. The Guardian reports that the beautiful instrument was created in 1741, three years before the master's death and is one of the last violins he created. It is being put up for sale through Bein & Fushi of Chicago, a top dealer of some of the world's most expensive antique instruments, with an asking price of $18 million. The violin is named for Henri Vieuxtemps, a 19th century musician who composed solo pieces for violin. It has been been touched by many masters including Yehudi Menuhin, Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman and was played by Joshua Bell when he appeared with the Chicago Symphony in October. It is currently owned by retired British financier and music philanthropist, Ian Stoutzker.
While around 640 violins created by Antonio Stradivari survive, there are just 140 created by Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri. The Guarneri instruments are praised for their deeper, richer sound. The current record price was set by another Guarneri last fall. Violinist Aaron Rosand sold the Kochanski for $10 million. Following the sale, Rosand donated $1.5 million to the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.
(Above Philippe Quint plays music from The Red Violin by John Corigliano on the "Vieuxtemps" Guarneri del Gesù violin of 1741.)