I met the great Simone Fernando Sacconi under exceptional circumstances, in 1937 during the famous, unforgettable exposition in Cremona. He was on the jury, and the visit to the «Mostra» (exhibition) with him as a guide has remained engraved in my memory. He was 42 then, and already enjoyed an enviable reputation, having begun his apprenticeship at the age of eight!
I was immediately taken by the warmth of his reception, by the profundity of his glance which lit up on upon contact with the marvels that passed before our eyes, by the natural charm that emanated from his person and continued to grow throughout the years.
In the modern section of the exposition he had presented a quintet which had earned him the esteem of his peers and the gold medal. The perfection of the workmanship evidenced not only the value of the artisan, but also the real love that he had for his profession. Your eye, instead of being attracted by some detail or tempted to formulate criticism, was subjugated by the harmony of the whole ensemble. Truly, only a great master could obtain such results.
I came back from Cremona with the desire to meet again soon with this marvellously talented being and to exchange with him all those ideas that come to mind when one finds oneself on the same wave length with someone else! Alas, 1939 was already on the horizon, and then came the war years which prevented all chance of contact.
When I had the joy of seeing him again some thirty years later, in 1966 on the occasion of his 70th birthday, I found him just as he had been in 1937, with the addition of that harmonious equilibrium, that serenity which maturity confers on one, and his beautiful white hair and warm glance.
He had put all those years to profit diving into his research on the different schools, and above all, giving free rein to his passion for his model and maestro, Antonio Stradivarius. All this work gave birth to that prodigious document, «I ‘Segreti’ di Stradivari» (The ‘Secrets’ of Stradivarius), a sort of testament for Fernando.
Along with the commemorative medallion and his copy of the «Hellier» Strad, which had the place of honor at the New York Exhibition, I still conserve the memory of that last encounter. But what is more, one of my most prized possessions is an instrument made by the hand of this friend in New York in 1936, a splendid copy of the 1716 «Cessole» Stradivarius, a striking example of its author's talent.
Fernando Sacconi was an artisan who through incessant labor brought his art to that high degree of perfection that only true passion for the profession enables one to obtain.
Faithful, modest in spite of his reputation and erudition, and with Latin sensitivity, one could say of him along with Shakespeare: «The elements were so mixed in him, that nature might stand up and say to all of the world, 'This was a man!'»
Geneva, July 1, 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 50-52 - Italian / English).
© 2024 - In memory of Francesco Bissolotti in the 5th anniversary of his death