The climate messages held by one 300-year-old violin

Posted on: July 12, 2022

“For the last 50 years, David Harrington, the founder and artistic director of San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet, has been playing what he calls ‘pretty athletic music’ on a violin made in 1721,” writes Rebecca Solnit in Thursday’s (7/7) Guardian (U.K.). “The instrument made by Carlo Giuseppe Testore in Milan has survived three centuries, providing music for countless audiences, and can be heard on more than 60 Kronos albums…. This violin is from before … James Watt made the steam engine a voracious, ubiquitous device devouring coal and wood and then oil…. Before we began gouging out the Earth so frantically to feed those steam engines and then those internal combustion engines…. Before human impact exploded into a destructive force with the power to change the acidity of the oceans and the content of the atmosphere. The sheer thrift of an instrument lasting so long said to me that maybe you could have magnificent culture with material modesty, that the world before all our fossil fuel extraction and burning could be plenty elegant, and maybe that the world we need to make in response to climate change can feel like one of abundance, not austerity.”