violin

In music, a coda is a passage that brings a musical composition to an end. This is the coda to a musical saga — the story of the Stradivarius violin that was stolen 37 years ago from my late father, violinist Roman Totenberg, and recovered in 2015.

That violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1734, was my father's "musical partner" for 38 years as he toured the world.

Jazz great Wynton Marsalis, a virtuoso trumpet player and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, has written — wait for it — a violin concerto.

As the daughter of the late virtuoso violinist Roman Totenberg, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. So I spent an hour with Marsalis — and the violinist he wrote his concerto with and for. (More on that later.)

David Bromberg is best known as a guitar virtuoso, who has collaborated with Bob Dylan and George Harrison and fronted his own band. But he's also a collector of American violins, and his collection is such that the Library of Congress has announced its intention to acquire it.

Claire Harbage / NPR

©Simon Fowler / Decca/Universal

About eight minutes into the first movement of Dmitri Shostakovich’s first violin concerto, with soloist Nicola Benedetti, the orchestra trades melodies with the solo violin. The whole movement has been a dense musical search, and if it doesn’t exactly open into a clearing, there is a sense of orchestra and soloist working in perfect harmony. I thought to myself, “That’s some pretty good soundboard mixing” until I remembered I was merely listening to a perfect melding of soloist and ensemble!

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