Today, in honor of National Buy-a-Musical-Instrument Day, a story from the archive that offers a glimpse into a Rosen family instrument purchase.
For artists, nothing can beat the chance to play a world-class instrument. Based on documents here, it seems that in 1944 just such an instrument hit the market when the renowned Curtis Institute of Philadelphia, PA, deaccessioned a fine 18th-century Domenico Montagnana cello from its collection. According to Alfred Hill, a stringed-instrument specialist in London at the time who knew the cello well, it was “an excellent example of the maker’s work, being massive in build, thick in wood, and possessed of an exceptionally fine tone.”
Perhaps owing to his chamber music connections, cellist Janos Scholz (husband of Anne Rosen, son-in-law of Walter and Lucie Rosen) learned William Moenning & Son had the Montagnana for sale. We can only imagine the family conversations that followed! In the end, Anne purchased of the cello for her husband, known in the family by the nickname Hansi. Walter Rosen handled the financial arrangements for the couple and secured the insurance.
In a letter of thanks to his father-in-law, Hansi, who played with the Roth Quartet and as a soloist, wrote: “I cannot tell you how happy I am about the Cello and I only hope I shall be able to do justice to it in the future.” No matter what instrument you play—and maybe it’s a new instrument today!—we hope you, too, do justice to it.
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