The Greek violin virtuoso Leonidas Kavakos has been playing on various Stradivaris for quite some time. But it was the encounter with the "Willemotte" Stradivarius 24 years ago that left a deep impression on him. It wasn't for sale back then but last year he discovered that the violin built in 1734 was finally available.
"The violins are like human beings, the ones that you are interested in you don't forget their faces, right?"
Leonidas Kavakos is passionate about the art of violin-making.
"This was made rather late in Stardivari's life and first of all I have to say that it's amazing that a man of such age, he lived 93 years, until the very last moment, was building instruments. That is quite a miracle."
"He was I think probably the only or maybe one of the very few violin makers who at their time were so famous. Stradivari was already making instruments for Medici. He had enormous commissions from the very important noble families of the time. After he reached a certain age he brought his son in to help him. Yet what is remarkable is that every now and then a certain instrument shows up where you can see no interference of the son's. And yeah, this is one of them."
"He's experiencing, experimenting the whole time with the model. He's looking for something, he's changing, he's never, you know even though he was so successful, he was never, you know, creating the same sort of, say, idea. He was still changing all the time. It's amazing. We can all learn from that."
"These instruments were built before Mozart's time, when an orchestra and the whole concert procedure was totally different. While they are still the same boxes they have certain changes of course, minor ones though which allow us to play without the help of microphones in the halls and against big orchestras."
"It's amazing because it's like with human beings, as it is just kind of this kind of chemistry or this kind of interaction or energy you know that that flows between the two sides, and then that creates a certain kind of special atmosphere, and that is exactly what a great instrument is about."