Venice is an iconic landmark—a city built atop a body of water whose long history and stunning views have inspired great works of art over the centuries. It is also, as of last weekend, the only place we can think of where it’s within the realm of possibility that you might see a string quartet playing Vivaldi while floating around on a big violin boat.
Last Saturday morning, Venice’s Grand Canal was visited by the kind of violin that might be expected to emerge from the laboratory of the world’s least threatening mad scientist. The New York Times reports that the boat is called “Noah’s Violin” and was created by Livio De Marchi, “who conceived the idea during last year’s lockdown” and named it after the biblical ark in order to “bring a message of hope after a storm.”
The quartet performed from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” paying homage to the Venetian composer, as well as pieces by Bach and Schubert as the Violinzilla traveled from Venice’s city hall to the church of La Salute—which was originally built “as a votive offering to the Virgin Mary for deliverance from a plague that decimated the city in 1630.”
De Marchi, whose work was assisted and financed by the Consorio Venezia Sviluppo, described the giant violin as “a sign of Venice restarting” and the choice of instrument as a tribute to Vivaldi. He also wanted the violin boat’s helmsman to wear an 18th century black cape and tricorn hat “to channel the spirit of Vivaldi.”
The musicians who played on the boat called their performance “challenging” but also, in the cellist’s case, “the most moving experience of my life.” Even though the vessel was tough to build and control, it made its way down the Grand Canal without any issues larger than some sheet music getting grabbed by the wind.
For more information on “Noah’s Violin” and potential inspiration for building an aircraft carrier-sized string instrument of your own, read about the boat in The New York Times’ article.
[via Boing Boing]
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