When I first played one I couldn’t eat properly for two days afterwards. It was just the most amazing experience.
From a player’s point of view, there is a sonority, a capacity to project, which almost no other maker of violins has – that possibility to project so well, while maintaining quality. You can have loud violins that are brash and hard but have no tonal variation. Then there are those that have tonal variation, but in a great hall with an orchestra behind you, they can’t be heard.
A Stradivarius has that ability to project and the range of tonal colours. That is why they are so highly sought after.
And, from a luthier’s point of view, they are just incredibly beautiful to look at. The carving, the colour, the detail – though I’m not such an expert on those things.
Carrying one with you though, is not without its difficulties. I’ve had the Regent Stradivarius on loan from the Royal Academy of Music since 2000, and it’s just like having a child. You just have to take very good care. You do have to get over the fear, though, in the end. But apart from the monetary value, you’ve got something that’s irreplaceable.
Tasmin Little is an English classical violinist and concert soloist. Her latest recording is 'Violin Sonatas: Strauss, Respighi'