Because, if you listen to it, Cremona can hit you right in the heart.
When Lena Yokoyama began to play, I felt my eyes filling with tears. The subtle sound of the Stradivari made its way through my emotions, like water that inevitably impregnates every fiber.
There was no reason to be so emotional, no sadness, no memories, no sorrow. Only music. Pure, enveloping, beautiful.
She was just a few meters away from me, and yet unreachable. So tiny, focused in a physical effort that was incomprehensible to me, aware of the implacable gazes of a full audience that never left her even for a blink of an eye. Perfect in her beauty, complete only with the instrument she held in her hands. As extraordinary as a Stradivarius can be, you suddenly realize that only an arm trained to support its weight can appreciate its value, only fingers sensitive enough to distinguish every vibration can taste its essence, only a spirit ready for passion can contain its intensity.
It was a sweet and feverish battle, intimate and shamelessly exposed, the one which I witnessed together with the rest of the audience during the audition of the Stradivari Vesuvio at the Giovanni Arvedi Auditorium in Cremona. That of a brave and heroic soul who tamed a mythological instrument, son, according to ancient Renaissance superstitions, of the devil himself. And who knows if the name Vesuvius was not an accident.
How to attend the audition of a Stradivarius
No, this wasn’t an event for a lucky few, but one of the auditions held on Sunday mornings at the Giovanni Arvedi Auditorium in Cremona. In the same building is housed the Violin Museum since 2013, one of the most important attractions of the city and beyond.
In the Auditorium on holidays there is usually an audition of one of the precious instruments housed in the museum: violins, violas and cellos of the most important Cremonese violin making families. A truly exceptional experience, especially for those who have never had the chance to hear these wonders live. Don’t worry, you won’t fall asleep: the event lasts about half an hour and also thanks to the spectacular architecture of the hall, it is really involving. The Giovanni Arvedi Auditorium has been built and designed so that each spectator could listen to music in the best possible way.
The acoustics were studied by Japanese engineer Yasuhisa Toyota together with architects Palù and Bianchi. The result is truly breathtaking! The entrance is a wooden wave that recalls the sinuosity of the soundboxes of musical instruments. The stage is at the center of the scene, literally surrounded by the stalls. This solution, in the intention of those who created the architecture, was to make the public participate in the performance and indissolubly bind musicians and spectators in a sense of empathy. And it works.
If you’re in Cremona, a concert at the auditorium is a must-see.
If you don’t have the chance to enjoy the perfection of a Stradivarius, you can always book for one of the many events held in this magical place, where, in addition to classical music, jazz is also at home.
The Violin Museum in Cremona
Until 2013, Cremona, the international home of violin making, world excellence and a place of pilgrimage worldwide, didn’t had a real place dedicated to these extraordinary instruments.
With the inauguration of the Violin Museum of Cremona, the pride of an entire city finally found a home. In the Palazzo dell’Arte, an unmistakeable example of Fascist architecture wanted by the RAS Roberto Farinacci, today one can follow the history of Cremonese violin making through the reproduction of a workshop, a very special listening room and a gallery with some of the most important works forged by the Cremonese violin making families: Amati, Guarneri and Stradivari. Here are kept some of the violins purchased or donated to the city of Cremona that are periodically played during auditions at the auditorium.
Obviously, there is also room for the memorabilia that belonged to Maestro Antonio Stradivari and for the reproductions of these instruments made by the School of Violin Making in Cremona attended by students from literally every corner of the world.
The museum can be visited independently or with a guide. If you want to hear the sound of a masterpiece live, you can add an audition at a cost of €8.00.