The Maestro Sacconi
in the testimony of  the violinist
Renato Zanettovich

  Trieste, Italy, June 7, 1985

I met Maestro Sacconi during my first trip to America, back in 1948. Mario Corti had insisted that I go meet him. Therefore, as soon as I arrived in New York I climbed the stairs of that building on 57th Street next to Carnegie Hall, where Sacconi was then working for the Herrmann Company. When the Maestro met with an Italian, his face lit up and he was very moved (I think he must have had great nostalgia for his country). And that's how he received me, too: with the greatest cordiality, showing his keen interest in my work (the Trio di Trieste was on its first American tour) and in my instrument, which was then a Bimbi, an eighteenth-century Florentine violin. When he saw that the fingerboard was pretty deeply grooved, he went to work right away on his own initiative, and gave the instrument back to me that very afternoon. I stood there wondering how a truly great man could show such real interest in what would be considered a third-class instrument (and just think, hanging almost carelessly from the ceiling were a couple of Stradivariuses, a Guarnerius, a Guadagnini, and more) and give importance to a young concert artist who had just begun his career; and right at that moment I saw Milstein come in. He'd come to have the E-string tuner on his Stradivari adjusted. As I was going down the stairs after having left the shop, Milstein commented, “Sacconi, a Master!”

During every American tour I loved renewing my visits to Sacconi; when Herrmann retired from the business, I went to see him at Wurlitzer's; I left bows to be haired, and also had an appraisal done of a Carlo Giuseppe Testore that I'd acquired at an auction in London. He was always so happy to see me again, and always received me with his habitual fervor, as if we'd just left each other the day before.

I saw him again in the late 60's in Cremona when he was holding courses in violinmaking. I went with my colleague Baldovino to show him a violin that we had found in London, a Guarneri del Gesù with an exceptionally beautiful tone; we weren't sure of the authenticity of the instrument, though. Sacconi examined it with great care and said that it really was a Guarneri del Gesù, recognizable partly because of a tiny point of ebony that Guarneri inserted on the inside of the back to mark the thickest point of the wood. I met Sacconi still another time in Cremona some years later together with the late Engineer Paolo Peterlongo, who wanted him to adjust the Fontana (ex-Oistrakh) Stradivari violin in his well-known collection, a stupendous violin that I have had the chance to play often, and which was harder to play after that adjustment, but much more brilliant.

I think that as far as knowledge of instruments and, in particular, of their restoration is concerned, Sacconi was perhaps the most important man the violin world has had in the last decades. Such erudition was illuminated by a most precious humane attitude; he was completely unselfish and had an absolutely rare love for his work. It was really a pleasure to observe his joy at the sight of a beautiful instrument. I hope all he sowed will bear fruit in the future through his various and numerous pupils.

Trieste, Italy, June 7, 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, D.C. (Cremona, ACLAP, first edition 1985, second edition 1986, pages 269-270 - Italian / English).