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About the Production

Gathering material for this documentary took us to Seattle, New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Aspen, Chicago, Ottawa, Toronto, London and Cornwall, England, Milan and Cremona, Italy. We interviewed experts and historians including Charles Beare, OBE, generally recognized as the world’s greatest living violin expert, as well as other authors, experts and historians: Carlo Chiesa, Duane Rosengard and Andrea Mosconi, Director of Cremona’s Stradivari Museum. We interviewed violinmakers and restorers: John Becker of Chicago and Bruce Carlson of Cremona. The violinists interviewed constitute a virtual who’s-who of celebrated virtuosos (alphabetically): Joshua Bell, James Ehnes, Cho-Liang Lin, Loren Maazel, Midori, Elmar Oliveira, Peter Oundjian, Itzhak Perlman, Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin, and Pinchas Zukerman. These artists share their unique perspectives on what it means to own and perform on a Stradivari and/or a del Gesù. We learn that the relationship between each artist and his/her beloved instrument is intimate and utterly individual. Moving beyond the realm of classical violinists we learn from Regina Carter, the celebrated jazz violinist, how it felt to perform for the first time on Paganini’s famous “Il Cannone” del Gesù, an instrument rumored to be insured for $50 million.

Our narrator is the brilliant star of stage and screen, Alfred Molina. Mr. Molina has just received a Tony nomination as “Best Leading Actor in a Play” for his performance in RED, his third such nomination. He is familiar to movie-goers for roles in films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Chocolat, Frida, The Da Vinci Code and Spiderman 2 among many others.

The film’s musical score features the celebrated Canadian virtuoso James Ehnes with additional contributions from Pinchas Zukerman, Midori, Cho-Liang Lin, Jascha Heifetz and Regina Carter among others. Thanks to the amazing group of people who have helped make this film we believe it provides a unique and definitive perspective on the creations of Stradivari and Guarneri, Two Gentlemen of Cremona, the greatest violin makers the world has ever known.

The three-camera shoot of violinist James Ehnes was filmed and recorded over 5 days in Redmond, WA. We recorded each camera separately and edited together later to make thirty-six separate video/audio sequences. This effort was also made into a cd/dvd called “Homage”, which won a Canadian 2009 JUNO award for Classical Album of The Year: Solo Or Chamber Ensemble.
As seen on PBS. Packaged with both BluRay and Standard DVD in 5.1 surround sound.
James Ehnes plays the entire Fulton violin collection. Over 3 hours of music and HD video. Now on BluRay DVD with 5.1 Surround sound.
                                During the late 17th and early 18th centuries, two violinmakers from the same small town, indeed, the same block, were making the most sought-after violins ever created. Everyone has heard of Antonio Stradivari, but few know the name Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù. Through interviews with historians, experts, luthiers, and virtuosos, this documentary tells the story of these two masters of violinmaking and why today their stringed instruments are worth millions of dollars to musicians and collectors the world over.
Also available:
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Charles Beare OBE (Historian and expert)
Charles Beare is a British violin expert, craftsman and dealer. In 2001, the New York Times described Beare as "the most esteemed authenticator in the world." In 2002, CNN characterized him as the "world's most respected violin dealer" and "king of all violin dealers." Fourth of five generations of a family of violin experts, he is the Director of the London-based J & A Beare.