Ruggiero Ricci’s del Gesu Zygmuntowicz copy
This post originally appeared on the ‘fiddlefish.com’ blog. It’s here for archival purposes only.
Interesting: Tarisio is selling an ex-Ricci Sam Zygmuntowicz violin. The violin is a copy, coincidentally, of Guarneri del Gesu’s “Plowden” from 1735. It has a lot of similarities (visually) to my Jan Spidlen although Jan likes to take it easy on the antiquing (something which Sam, conversely, takes no prisoners with). Sam Zygmuntowicz made waves a few years back, at the same auction house no less, when a couple of his Strad copies (ex-Stern i.e. Isaac Stern) fetched astronomical hammer prices well over 100K USD. This was and still is uncommon, but it goes to show how en-vogue these modern makers have become.
I was taken aback when I read this 1995 Zygy was for sale; it being an ex-Ricci. I jumped the gun and assumed Maestro Ricci had just passed away! But I cannot find any news of such. Thankfully. I had a really touching phone conversation with Ricci just last year. And his wife Julia informed me that he, despite being in his 90s, still remains quite unstoppable (though he does not play any more). Ricci and I chatted a bit about his glissando methodology (an amazing forensic discovery), about some of his students, and best of all, he shared some of his sacred violin heuristics (go figure, slow practice was at the top of the list).
I don’t expect this Zygy to fetch anything close to that of the ex-Sterns. But I would love to be proven wrong; not only to celebrate our modern luthier masters but also in celebration of the great Ruggiero Ricci.