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Maxim Viktorov: relation to the violin - a measure of civility
31.03.2011

- How many violins are in your collection and how they are stored?
 
Can we not bring into land our conversation? Then you will surely ask how much it all costs ...
 
- Well, tell me why and how you started collecting?
To begin with, I never aimed to assemble the collection. These violins have no value as a collection. Each of them is important itself. The fact is that such instruments are very few in the world. And each of them is absolute perfection in the history of human activity. After 1917 no one imported these violins to the country. And I do. Like them.
- Do I understand correctly, that all these instruments - even the old, but with metal strings, stretched later? It is with them for decades fighting "bargee."
 
You want to raise the question of authenticity? Yes, they are all with metal strings. You can put gut strings to hear how it sounds. There is a certain charm, and many people indulge in it sometimes. But today's strings are of such high quality, that are fine to show a better sounding of instrument. Training with gut strings are possible, interesting on their own, but have no sacred importance.

- As far as we can judge, you are more very fond of the violin of the art of making music on it. Or can you still hypothetically admire a good game on usual instrument?
 
If the person is talented – you see it. He can play on wood board. But the idea is not to make experiments, but to put worthy instruments into hands of deserving musicians.
 
- The same musician plays the same music on two different - even great - instruments in different ways?

I can sometimes identify by ear the master who made the violin - if it is from the "Big Ten" of Italian masters. And the difference between different tools is colossal. But what the thing is today? The measure of civilized nations is not how the violin sounded, and what is happening around it. As far as the violin school of any country is a leader. As far as people are generally able to perceive a high art. This is also the most difficult art - playing the violin. And today remain very few people who can appreciate the art. The audience gets elected. As the violin is stored and protected - it's all irrelevant. I do keep them. Question is quite different. Even some time ago in Russia for concerts of Heifetz people were flocking to, hung on the windows. Today, these stories belong to the past. That's bad.
 
And here's what I do - it is my sincere attempt to somehow keep the situation. To make it at least not deteriorated. Hence instruments, hence the contest. This is not an investment. This is quite a different order problem. Although the main trend is to direct the generation of pop, there are things whose value is an enduring, which is still higher, still stronger, deeper, more fundamental and more important.

- Are you satisfied with the development of your contest Paganini?
 
Yes. It all started with a small number of participants and at a time when it was at all not clear why it is done. But today it's contest of authority, it is known all over the world, and real young virtuosos keep coming to it. The last time there were participants, I believe, from 35 countries worldwide. That is a lot of violin schools were represented. We have gathered a large international jury, one man from each country. It was a very broad international forum. The winner was a brilliant violinist Christoph Barati of Hungary, he was already known, major player. Those people who have won before, made their careers too. And they are in a special club of winners of the Moscow Paganini contest. Yes, I'm satisfied.
 
I invite the winners of the subsequent concerts. Sometimes I go back to the winner of the contest, not at once, but several years later. I invite him to play or release a disc. Here on September 5 in the Alexander Hall of Kremlin two laureates of the contest - Kyoko Yonemoto from Japan and Alina Baeva played with Pinchas Zuckerman. And both musicians have already taken place. But when they participated in the contest, both were still young talents. In Kremlin they played the violins from my collection. From time to time I give the musicians my instruments - for work, studies - at a time, from six months to three years.
- So, you can be turned to, to apply for ...
 
This all occurs informally.
 
- Are there any difficulties with the export of your instruments abroad? I know that many of the string players groan from our customs.
 
I have no difficulty, because I do not infer violins. I know that the customs authorities with the participation of experts should take care what instruments are entering Russia, which depart. Work must be done very carefully. But no problem with that.
 
- Do you encounter with counterfeits of instruments?

Do not come across, because today it is impossible. When it comes to serious violins, then there is the opinion of experts and expertise. For a few million or even a few thousand dollars, no one will buy an instrument that does not meet the strict criteria. Today it is very difficult to sell fakes.
 
- That is just a known range of experts, whom can you trust?
 
Everything is much harder. There is expertise. A comparative analysis of the tree, of which the instrument is made - when and where it grew, what is the chemical composition of the varnish, which it covered with. In order to make a fake, you need a time machine back to the XVII century, in the right place to grow a tree with the desired thickness of the rings. In general, this is unreal. In addition, there are many things that are associated with soundings of violins. This is a detailed study. Even with the knowledge of all these data science cannot be deceived.
 
- And, for example, if the old violin, which was made by an unremarkable master pass for the Guarneri? It is made of wood of that time ...
 
Then it will be a stool, not a violin. That's the whole difference. Just take it for granted - now forging a fake of good violin to sell is unreal.
 
- What kind of future you promise to your violins?
 
I want my children feel the same responsibility for this burden, as I do, and maintain these artifacts.



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