Violoncello "Batta-Piatigorsky," 1714. Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737). Spruce, maple, ebony. Cremona, Italy. Private Collection.
«After an eight-month hiatus, The André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments reopen today. They feature a refreshed and reinstalled presentation of the Museum's renowned collection of Western musical instruments that showcases more than 230 works.» The new display includes a wide range of objects—keyboard, string, percussion, woodwind, and brass instruments—and focuses attention on individual masterworks by exploring each within its musical and cultural contexts, by offering exciting comparisons of how different makers realized the same concept, and by providing examples of the development of various instruments. A highlight is the famed "Batta-Piatigorsky" cello made in Cremona, Italy, by Antonio Stradivari. Built in 1714, the instrument—which was owned by the distinguished cellists Alexandre Batta and Gregor Piatigorsky, and is now on loan to the Met from a private collection—is regarded as one of the best examples of the legendary maker’s work.
A daylong exploration of early music on Saturday, March 13 (see press release)—at the Metropolitan Museum will celebrate the reopening of the galleries. Three two-hour sessions will feature lecture-demonstrations on the use of period instruments, historical performance practices, and readings from original manuscripts. Participants include the New York Historical Dance Company, Parthenia, Lionheart, Asteria, ARTEK, and members of the Grand Tour Orchestra. Early Music Exposed is organized by Frederick Renz, founder of the Early Music Foundation and Director of Early Music, New York.