Ruth Palmer

Friday, 19 November 2010

ruth

Last night I saw the most amazing documentary about the classically trained violinist, Ruth Palmer, and her search for a violin. I was so shocked to learn that many professional musicians don't even own their own instruments because they have become too expensive. This is particularly true of the violin, which has become a prized possession for rich collectors, leaving musicians dependent upon the kindness of people willing to lend their instruments for a certain period of time.

One of the most absurd things for me was watching how so many beautiful violins that make some of the best sound, are under lock and key in museums and collectors' homes, separated from their primary function of creating music. The narrator of the documentary compared it to keeping the Mona Lisa behind a curtain. It seems a bit pointless. After all, a violin is a musical instrument, it is meant to be played, not looked at behind glass in a museum. It's incredibly sad, and probably very frustrating for many musicians.

The second thing that really bugged me was how the value of these violins was constantly measured in terms of ridiculously large sums of money (we're talking millions here). I'm not generally pessimistic about the state of the arts these days because being an artist has always been a bit difficult and it's silly to romanticise the past. But I do find it worrying that just about everything in the arts these days is becoming increasingly commodified and overtaken by people who wish to invest in money, rather than in creative output.

If you'd like to read a better review of this documentary click here. You can also visit Ruth Palmer's official website here. She's an amazing violinist and every time she played in the documentary you could feel how intrinsically connected she was to the instrument in her hands.

Photography by Tim Meara.

8 comments:

Enia Is (Almost) Here said...

i haven't heard of the violinist in question, but i do remember reading about the 'violin issue' a while back. i agree, it is profoundly sad that they are have become more valuable as vanity objects than as creative ones...

Vanessa said...

Oh, I didn't know that about the instruments but I totally agree with you that they should be out there, used for the very thing they were created for instead of gathering dust in a cabinet. The arts are often cash strapped but then so much money is poured into the wrong things; exagerrated prices for paintings and instruments and the other day, I heard the directors at the Royal Opera House earn an absurd amount which explains why you pay 150 pounds upwards for a seat. Great post!

Sundari said...

That sounds very sad. It is a bit pointless to keep things from being used for their natural purpose. I know a very good photographic artist and she doesn't even own her own camera. I feel a bit selfish with all my cameras.

Felix Curds said...

art is made to be shared, so that is really just terrible...

Ella said...

i suppose ruth palmer is living proof of “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul”

hila said...

yep, I agree with you all!

Tracey said...

I totally agree with you - it is so wrong that a gifted artist doesn't have access to the very best of instruments ... music must be shared, otherwise it doesn't live to its full potential.

hila said...

yes, how true, unfortunately that's not the way of the world!