Stradivarius Violins are famous for being some of the most expensive musical instruments in the world. One of these Stradivarius sensations is the Molitor Stradivarius. The violin is one of the famous violins in the Stradivarius collection of instruments that is noted for its exquisite beauty and fine craftsmanship, which is the hallmark of Antonio Stradivari’s instruments.
The Molitor was made in 1697, the beginning of the golden period of Antonio Stradivari. It was noticed first in the hands of Juliette Récamier by the end of the 19th century. Juliette Récamier was a prominent socialite, who was known to be a patron of art and music. Récamier owned many other Stradivarius violins as well. In 1804, the violin was somehow passed to a young general in Napolean Bonaparte’s army. The Molitor Stradivarius is also famous for its association with Napolean Bonaparte.
After Napleon, the Strad then landed into the hands of Count Gabriel-Jean-Joseph Molitor. It is because of him that the violin was given the name of Molitor Stradivarius.
The violin remained in Molitor family for nearly 70 years. In 1917, during the World War I, the violin was sold and came into the possession of Monsieur J. Mazeran through the firm of Caressa & Français.
The Molitor Stradivarus then arrived in the US in 1929 when it was acquired by Louis Baily on behalf of the Curtis Institute. The instrument was lent to many students for practising. However, later the Institute decided that it was too to valuable to lend to their students and the Strad was sent back to the Hill’s in London in 1936.
After passing through the hands of several British owners, the violin reached to Elmar Oliveira, a noted American Violinist. In recent years, the violin has been sold to another violinist Anne Akiko Meyers who has been performing in with this beauty in concert halls around the world.
The instrument itself is an epitome of both the change and continuity in Stradivari’s craft. By the time Antonio started working on this particular violin, he was rethinking his long-tested patterns of violins. Unlike the previous 36 inches form, he developed a smaller pattern. The Molitor was crafted bit smaller and had 35.5cm of its body lengthed. However, Antonio Stradivari repeated the same craftsmanship in constructing the refined edges, the elegant f-holes, and distinct corners as his previous designs. Undoubtedly, the Molitor has the same exquisite maple used for the back of the violin. What makes Molitor and in general all Stradivari violins special is their quality. They are considered the best instruments when it comes to sound quality. The quality of wood, the thick wooden plates lend them their unique sound post and bass bar.
Another interesting fact about the violin is that it set the record for the highest auction price ever paid for a musical instrument for a brief period of time. It was sold in $3.6 million. The Molitor Stradivarius violin was sold through auction by Tarisio Auctions in 2010. However, a year later that the record was broken with the sale of Lady Blunt Violin.