for immediate release
The Hague, 25 November 2011
Contact: Dmitry Badiarov +31 6 1125 7695
Aquila Corde Armoniche Srl - one of the major producers of gut-strings closed the production on the 14th of November.
The Strad - the major magazine covering news related to the violin announced the news on their website on the 15th.
News quickly spread over the social networks and lead to the wave of panic calls from musicians worldwide trying to buy out whatever remaining stocks of gut strings available for sale. Hardly surprising - no strings, no music.
The cessation of production by Aquila was caused by the EU legislation restricting and effectively banning the use of raw gut materials on the territory of the EU due to BSE fears.
Aquila Corde tried to persuade the EU law-makers to review the law since 2006 and exempt the string-makers from the ban: if sausages have not been outlawed why should musical strings - which are not food - suffer? To this day EU ministries remained deaf.
Aquila is not the first to stop the production of gut strings. Sofracob, the French company which
was in business for 37 years closed in February 2010 for the same reason Aquila stopped the production earlier this month.
The closure of Sofracob was a massive loss, however the closure of Aquila's gut-string production will have the most disastrous consequences.
Firstly, Aquila strings were known for their extraordinary quality and adherence to the historical practices and research.
That research was published in a large number of articles and taught at a large number of conferences and master-classes Europe-wide. In this sense Aquila set the benchmark for other string-makers both in the EU and USA.
The gut-string is relatively a simple object. Essentially it consists of beef cerosa, that is, a few cow guts cleaned, stretched, twisted together, dried and polished. A variety of gut string types existed in the past. Some of these historical types of strings were available only from Aquila.
These include the half-wound strings as mentioned and described by Antonio Stradivari, the copper loaded strings for the repertoire of the 17th century as mentioned in a number of sources but reconstructed and brought to perfection only by Aquila Corde, the half-rectified strings introduced in 2004 and known for their extraordinary richness of tone and resistance which revitalised the sound of many a remarkable orchestras such as Ricercar Consort and La Petite Bande.
Aquila also created the first concert quality strings for the baroque violoncello da spalla and more. Aquila helped to rediscover a number of important details about both historical instrument making and historical performance practices (refer to the excerpts from two movies below to get an idea of what this historical practices are).
Secondly, Aquila was the only EU company capable of meeting the global demand for gut strings.
Their important output is now removed from the global Early Music market. It is difficult to believe that the few remaining EU-based tiny baroque gut string makers would be able to cope with the global or even local demand.
These small string makers might be unwilling to admit they have difficulties because they have nothing to offer but gut, however the reality is not extremely dangerous unless the EU laws are reviewed and changed.
Only this can save the Early Music and the remaining gut string-makers. Everyone would only benefit, if instead of ban, there would be free trade and availability of gut for music, not just for sausages... despite the BSE fears!
A few important musicians and early music groups are planning an action on the governmental level. To support this action an on-line petition was created on the 19th of November 2011.
These petitions are available here and here.
We would like to invite music lovers, musicians and everyone who cares about the culture, music, traditional crafts and quality of life to sign the petitions in order to support the planned action and share this among as many people as possible to avoid disaster and potentially irreversible loss.
### end of press-release ###
Dmitry Badiarov - violin-maker at Badiarov Violins
+31 6 1125 7695.
Feel free to translate and publish under my or your own name.
The several laws causing the crisis:
in English: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ%3AL%3A2004%3A162%3A0062%3A0064%3AEN%3APDF
in Italian: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ%3AL%3A2004%3A162%3A0062%3A0064%3AIT%3APDF
in French: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ%3AL%3A2004%3A162%3A0062%3A0064%3AFR%3APDF
The above law in every other EU language can be found at eur-lex.europe.eu
The Strad news release of 15th November 2011
The Guardian news release of 2006
Sofracob closure in February 2010
What does Early Music sound like?
Some modern players rely on gut too.