In 1987, Mr. Perlman generously lent the "Soil" for the Antonio Stradivari Exhibition in Cremona.
While attending a concert soon after Mr. Perlman acquired the "Soil" Stradivari of 1714, I recall being transfixed by the violin before a note was played. While being transported to Mr. Perlman, the stage lights illuminated the back of the instrument. The brilliant red of the varnish and the spectacular maple of the back reflected to where my wife and I were seated. Upon hearing the first few notes, the picture was made complete.
The instrumentís name is a reference to Monsieur Soil, who the Hills recorded as the owner in 1902. Early this century, the violin was acquired by the
collector Oscar Bondy of Vienna, who also owned the inlaid "Hellier" Stradivari of 1679. In 1950, the instrument was purchased by Yehudi Menuhin.
Itzhak Perlman acquired the instrument from Lord Menuhin in 1986.
Many consider the "Soil" to be the greatest sounding Stradivari in existence. In addition, it is one of the most beautiful. From the apogee of Stradivariís "Golden" period, the design and workmanship is of a strong and bold character. Stradivari chose the finest of materials, including the stunning back of two pieces which he joined with the "flames" descending from the edges toward the center.
Contributed by Jeffrey Holmes
The "Soil" is illustrated in Charles Beareís wonderful book entitled Antonio Stradivari, The Cremona Exhibition of 1987, J. & A. Beare (London 1993) Hill, W. H., A. F. and A. E., Antonio Stradivari His Life & Work (1644-1737), W. E. Hill & Sons (London 1902); reprinted by Dover Books (New York, 1963) Doring, Ernest N., How Many Strads? Our Heritage From the Master, William Lewis & Son (Chicago 1945)
This picture was sent to me from Charles Beare with permission to use them on my site. It was scanned by Jeffrey Holmes. It may not be downloaded for personal use or on any other web page.