Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Strad Inspired Violin - Log 11/10/2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The Dedication

A few weeks ago I spoke to Ben regarding dedicating my new violin to my long time childhood violin teacher, Dr. Samuel W. Siurua. We agreed that his name should be written on Ben's violin label. Because Ben had lost his original label file due to his computer failing, I volunteered to create a new file to Ben's specifications. This I did as a personal contribution to completion of this violin.

To the left Ben is cutting the new labels which he printed from my file on to a copper acid free parchment paper. The border motif was produced as Ben specified by scanning a copy of a Petrus Guarnerius of Venice label. The script, I selected to match as closely as possible that which Ben had originally used. It was 96 point Arabic typeset which I inserted and then reduced when the label was re sized to fit 10 labels per page.

Here is the label after Ben has written "To: Samuel W. Siurua" and positioned it roughly where it is to be glued.

Ben applies the glue.

The label is now glued in place, positioned so that it can be seen through the Bass side F hole after the top has been glued in place.

I drove up to Robin Run Village with these photos and uploaded them to my laptop for Sam to see the same afternoon. I told Sam that I was giving him naming rights to the violin since it was being dedicated to him. We discussed several options but rather than choosing one that included his name he settled on the expression that he had told me he used to refer to his violin teacher at at Chicago Musical College, Paul Stassevitch. Sam of course has always been a modest person so I could understand his reluctance to call it Samuel or Siurua or a variation thereof. However, I fully understand his reasoning in selecting the expression "The Saint". To Sam this choice recognizes the genius of Paul Stassevitch as both a teacher and violinist. Paul Stassevitch taught many wonderful violinists and chamber musicians including the great violinist, Ruggiero Ricci.
Paul was himself a student of the famous Hungarian violinist, Leopold Auer, who taught early on as head of the violin department at the St Petersburg Conservatory and later at the Curtis Institute having as pupils over the years such violin greats as Jascha Heifetz, Efrem Zimbalist and Mischa Elman.
The violin will symbolically carry on the line of a kindly, understanding, and nonjudgmental interpersonal style that inspired both Sam in teaching and through Sam me in my career as a human services professional.
Sam and I agree this name recognizes and honors him and his teaching approach. When I pass the violin down to another person who loves the violin, hopefully, it will inspire in them love for music and the violin whether or not it remains in my family with a grand niece or goes outside of it.
I called Ben after meeting with Sam and asked him to write the Expression "The Saint" inside the violin in a position that could be seen. He agreed.

The next major step will be carving of the neck and scroll from the block of maple pictured here to the left.


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  3. my teacher is making me do this so... yeah.

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