The Maestro  Sacconi
in the testimony of the master violin and bow maker and expert
Bernard Millant


Paris, August 29, 1983
Link: Bernard Millant


The scene takes place in New York in the spring of 1949. I was working as a violinmaker for Mr. Rudié on 49th Street, and I sat at the same bench with Jacques Français.

My father Max Millant knew the Emil Herrmann Company, and I went there to meet people. My first contact with Fernando Sacconi dates from then; he was the director of Herrmann's shop at the time. Our contact was direct and pleasant, since Sacconi spoke French very well. He knew Jacques Français well, and there we were, invited to spend a Sunday afternoon in the spring at his private home on Long Island. A simple reception, relaxed, a real family atmosphere with the presence of Mrs. Sacconi.

Among violinmakers: what does one talk about? violins, evidently, and clients, with numerous anecdotes... then after tea, Sacconi invited us to visit his private workshop – or I should say sanctuary – on the second floor, the attic of the house. For his pleasure and for the furthering of our art, he had fixed up a workbench which (as was obvious to an experienced eye) [made one think] more of an «experimental laboratory» than of a productive workshop. In one corner I noticed a washing-machine that looked as if it had been dedicated to other use, and I asked him, “What do you do with this?” “Oh... I'm experimenting with the treatment of certain types of wood: maple and spruce.” “What do you soak them in?” “Nothing... I put them in contact with certain vapors, but if the result is good, I'll tell you later what it's all about.”

Indefatigable researcher and in love with his profession, he idolized A. Stradivari.

I saw him again later, a good deal later and many times in my office in Paris, but I never was able to find out how that experiment turned out.

Paris, August 29, 1983

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, D.C. (Cremona, ACLAP, first edition 1985, second edition 1986, pages 77-78 - Italian / English).