Stolen Violin Stories

by Emon Hassan on July 14, 2010

Watch this video first. Then we’ll talk.

This is one of many X to X stories I’ve encountered over the years. [one] [two] Goes like this.

YouTube announced 4K videos. I look it up. I find, among others, the above video about Robert Cauer. Robert Cauer, it turns out had restored the famous Stradivarius Cello that almost got converted into a CD rack. The article I linked to in that last sentence wasn’t what had come up when I searched for that particular lost Stradivarius. The one that came up was from 1994, on Wall Street Journal, where it mentioned Cauer in a short paragraph. It was written by Daniel Pearl.

So, I’m hooked on stolen Stradivarius stories. One of them, also mentioned in the Pearl piece, is of a convicted child molester who’d played a Strad  for 51 years, for National Symphony Orchestra, social events etc, and never mentioned he had one until in his deathbed.

Speaking of, when 91-year old Erica Morini died in 1995, she never knew a friend of hers had stolen her beloved Strad and appraised it.

By the way, how many Strad owners do you think live in Manhattan?

Not all stolen Strad mysteries are solved. If you want to get into that business, start with this one.

But let’s back up a little. Where do you think that Stradivarius (see three lines ago) ended up? Well, turns out the famed Violinist Joshua Bell is now the proud owner. What did he have to give up? He sold his ‘Tom Tyler” Stradivarius to pay for it. It comes full circle, for me at least, because Bell played the “Tom Tyler” for “The Red Violin” soundtrack, one of my favorite music movies, if not movies (if you haven’t seen it, I feel bad for you).

Amati, Mussolini

Can we safely say that the Gibson Strad is a real life ‘The Red Violin”? I’m telling you, there’ s a movie in there.

But what, you ask, makes this X to X particularly weirder for me? The ‘Gibson’ Stradivarius, the very one Joshua Bell owns, was stolen from Carnegie Hall backstage on February 28, 1936.

That’s my birthday, minus 40-years.

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