original text in Japanese by Naoki Domitsu
photo by Tomoko Nagakawa
Cremona is considered as the city which gave birth to the greatest violin-makers of all times. The town of Cremona is located 80km southeast of Milano in the Lombardia Plane of northern part of Italy, east of where Adda river and Po river meets. The old town still retains the medieval atmosphere with Duomo (cathedral) in the center. Standing next to Duomo is Torrazzo, the tallest tower in Italy.
The word "LlUTERIA" means lute workshop or instrument making studio and "LIUTAIO" means lute maker or maestro artisan. There is no place other than Cremona where one so often encounters these words on signboards on the street corners. Clearly, Cremona still remains even now as a "town for stringed instrument", following the path of the great maestros namely Andrea Amati, Antonio Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesu.
Compared to those musical instruments produced in other cities and other countries, the tonal quality of the "Cremonese" instruments still continue to improve even after 300 years. Surrounded by the masterpieces by the Amati and the Guarneri families of luthiers, a beautiful Stradivarius 1715 violin "il Cremonese" is housed and displayed temporarily at the Stradivarian Museum in Cremona. (The "il Cremonese" is normally displayed in the City Hall.) In the Stradivarian Museum, one will be able to see the enormous amount of research material, superb collection of wooden moulds, paper models and special tools that belonged to the great Cremonese violin-makers. Looking at these collections, one feels the luthiers' overwhelming zealous in making the masterpiece instruments.