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series: Violin Masters: Two Gentlemen Of Cremona
air date: 1/17/13 4:00 AM
This film examines the amazing confluence of time and talent that occurred in the early years of the 17th century when the two greatest violin makers in history were working within steps of each other in the small Italian town of Cremona. One -- Antonio Stradivari -- is a household name; the other -- Guarneri del Gesu -- is considered a genius equal in every way to Stradivari, yet most outside of the music community have never heard of him. Why is that? Eminent historians and experts weigh in on differences in productivity, clientele, life span, working technique and the "pr" factor that characterized the two artists, while 10 of the world's leading violinists, from Itzhak Perlman to Joshua Bell, share what makes them fall in love with a particular instrument and count on it, night after night to enhance their sound. For unlike other Renaissance masterworks, these 300-year old Cremonese instruments of immense value are not kept under glass in museums; they are at once works of art -- and working tools.
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