In the Sunday, January 15 issue of the New York Times Magazine, Daniel J. Wakin writes about the late cellist Bernard Greenhouse’s love for his Stradivarius cello. “The instrument, known as the Countess of Stainlein, ex-Paganini of 1707—perhaps the greatest surviving Stradivarius cello—had been with Greenhouse for 54 years. It was his voice on numerous recordings and a presence at up to 200 concerts a year. … Now his family has entrusted the sale of the Countess of Stainlein to the Boston violin dealer Christopher Reuning, who this week will open sealed bids starting in the millions of dollars. … Reuning expects that the Greenhouse cello will match or exceed the previous record of $6 million for a cello. … The history of the Greenhouse cello has been traced to 1816 and Vincenzo Merighi, the son of a violin maker who played in La Scala’s orchestra, becoming its principal cellist in 1823. Merighi later played quartets with Paganini, who bought the cello for his collection.” Greenhouse tracked the instrument down in 1957. Wakin goes on to discuss the relationships several other high-profile string soloists have had with their instruments, including those who opt to play their instruments on loan from foundations rather than own them outright.
Posted January 17, 2012