July 9th, 2015
It is my sad and bittersweet pleasure to announce that I am selling a very fine viola.
She is, honestly, a breathtaking instrument, with a bottomless range of colours, a rich, deep, caramel-chocolate-butter tone, sharp sensitivity, and a bright heart despite her inherent violistic melancholy. She is the epitome of flawlessness, a paragon of vibrational liberty, a triumph of craftsmanship so divine that its acheivement can only by its nature be reserved for the completely, absolutely devout. Stephan von Baehr, whatever else you might have to say about him, God damn it, can really make an exquisite, tormentingly, agonisingly perfect viola.
And I say this not just because I’m trying to sell her. I say this from the bottom of my heart, because I think I could never live with her loss if I didn’t express just how fucking incredible I find her. It has been a priceless, irreplaceable, imperative time we’ve spent together, and I would not be the musician nor the person I am today without her. I am honoured to have been her first love.
I’m not quitting music. No. I just… I really need a different one.
It’s taken me years to forgive myself for this, but I’m forced to accept that this viola and I are just a bad match. Where she demands concert halls, I give her Fusion Festival. Where she craves concertos in front of orchestras, I give her amplified overdubbed pop music videos. Where she pleads for solo recitals and hob-nobbing with the rich and snooty and a visit to the doctor every time the temperature changes, I give her smoky jazz bars and trips to the lake and tell her to suck it up. As with most failed relationships, we simply don’t fit into eachother’s lives. And neither of us deserves to be living a lie, forced through a mold of projections and expectations, always hoping, waiting, desperately for the evasive moment where enough hoops will be jumped through so that we finally fit. And as much as I could continue to personify her for another 5000 words, the point is, she’s just an instrument, and moreover, she’s MY instrument, MY tool, and I deserve to have a viola that doesn’t hate me for being who I am. As Ligeti said so wisely, nobody can tell you how to play, (and for that matter what!), not even an incredibly fancy instrument made by someone who is surely a modern-day Stradivari.
Finally, the strength is in the musician’s bones and muscles and heart and soul, and if I’m ever really going to play my heart out, my heart needs to be free of burdens, free of pressure, free of any kind of inhibition. I am not a “perfect” kind of player, and I really don’t need a perfect viola.
I’m really sorry it didn’t work out, my gorgeous friend.
But I think breaking up is what’s best for both of us.
Please spread the word.
Stephan von Baehr viola (2011) for sale.