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Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Travels of a Cello Bow


How is that for the first headline after weeks of getting back together after my computer fried (lovely present from Santa)? However, it is the most fascinating story.

Berlinsky, who passed away in 2007, was the founding member of the Borodin Quartet.
He played - with this bow - at the funerals of both Stalin and Prokofiev, performed all the Shostakovich Quartets for the composer in private, and gave the first performance of the Shostakovich cycle in America. Therefore, the bow he played with is a very special instrument.

Extraordinarily, it came with its own passport. Apparently a passport is essential for musical instruments traveling in and out of Russia.

So what happened to Berlinsky's cello?

He didn't have one. In Russia, musical instruments belong to the state.
Read this charming story in the newsletter of the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center