The Maestro Sacconi
in the testimony of the restorer of rare violins
William H. Webster

          Old Tappan, New Jersey, USA, June 16, 1985

I apprenticed in the Rembert Wurlitzer shop in the early nineteen seventies, and it was there that I came to know Maestro Sacconi. Earlier I had been a guitar maker for a large New England firm and a novice violin repairman in a Boston instrument shop. I received the impression from the latter experience that no universally agreed-upon technology for repair and restoration existed, although there was an abundance of dim and arcane speculation in the field. Such ambiguity was not acceptable to a practical-minded Yankee like myself, and so it was most fortunate that a violin I had repaired found its way into the hands of Dario D'Attili, then the general manager of the prestigious Rembert Wurlitzer firm in New York. I was astonished and elated to be offered an apprenticeship in the shop of the great Sacconi, who was revered utterly by the more experienced repairmen I knew.

I observed firsthand in the Wurlitzer shop the brilliance of Sacconi's methods, for I worked among craftsmen who, without exception, were able to accomplish restorations and repairs of extraordinary beauty and accuracy. Sacconi was a man who had recognized the truth in simplicities, for he had contemplated and understood not only the fabulous artistry of the classical makers, but also the irrevocable principles which underlay the form and structure of the finest instruments. Sacconi then schemed against the resistance of the materials, the corrosiveness of time and the limits of Nature herself to recall these instruments to their former life.

All the more remarkable was the fact that he had done this knowingly and methodically, so he was able to set down his discoveries and to share them with the world. It was the true genius of Sacconi that he was able to make the sublime and seemingly unknowable methods of the classical makers explicit and comprehensible to other craftsmen and artists.

When I joined Rembert Wurlitzer, Hans J. Nebel directed the shop, and it was he who passed on to me the lessons of Sacconi. The Maestro himself worked there only a few hours each week, yet his spirit and guidance were with us every moment by our very use of his methods, much as I sense his presence still as I work in my own shop all these years later. In fact, there is something of Sacconi's thought and spirit in every instrument ever worked on by the Master and his students, and it will continue to be so if we abide by his lessons. Truths discovered and disseminated endure forever.

Old Tappan, New Jersey, USA, June 16, 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, page 168 - Italian / English).