Cremona, July 28, 1985
I had heard a lot about Simone Fernando Sacconi before I met him personally: it was a few days before Christmas of 1961, when I was invited to the seat of the Provincial Tourist Organization to try out two Stradivariuses that Desmond Hill had brought from London. It was necessary to decide on the acquisition of one of these, with which Cremona could honor in proper fashion its most illustrious violinmaker. The decision was made to take the ex-Joachim, which was rebaptised a few months later «The Cremonese» 1715. Professor Alfredo Puerari, Director of the Civic Museum of Cremona, and Simone Fernando Sacconi were the protagonists of this memorable event. Right then began the modern era of the history of violinmaking in the city that had given birth to the greatest violinmakers of all time.
Thus I had my first chance to examine closely two extremely precious instruments made by Antonio Stradivari, with the enlightening aid of Simone Fernando Sacconi. His way of communicating was inimitable: he showed an extremely profound knowledge of the problems in consideration; aided by a prodigious memory, he cited facts and experiences of his own in order to enable everyone to understand.
Every year from 1961 on, he returned to Cremona for a few weeks; that was his only vacation. A very unusual vacation, however: he lived intensely busy days in the city in which Antonio Stradivarius had worked, the man he considered the greatest of all violinmakers, and at the same time, his true teacher.
There were many scholars, enthusiasts, and great concert artists who came to him for advice about valuable instruments; he reserved particular attention for young people, however, and with them he was most generous with his teaching and advice.
Simone Fernando Sacconi, considered one of the most prestigious violinmakers of all time for his capacity to transform the enormous quantity of physical and intellectual energy that he possessed into admirable creations, is responsible for one of the most important theoretical works known in violinmaking literature. In 1972 he stayed in Cremona for more than two months; he had to finish writing what was to become his artistic testament: The 'secrets' of Stradivarius. He asked me to collaborate with him on the final revision of the text; for me it was a great honor and an unforgettable experience.
On November 11, 1972 he was awarded honorary citizenship for his great merits in the field of research on violinmaking.
He said good-bye to me for the last time on November 30th of that year; I never saw him again.
Cremona, July 28, 1985
Taken from the book: «From Violinmaking to Music: The Life and Works of Simone Fernando Sacconi», presented on December 17, 1985 at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC (Cremona, ACLAP, first edition 1985, second edition 1986, page 326 - Italian / English).
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