My dearest Sylvan,
I hope that this letter finds you in the peak of good health, I am sorry that I have not been there for you lately; somehow I just haven’t been able to find the time.
Even though we can measure many years together now I still know so little about you, I was once told that you came from Germany and that you are over a hundred years old. Despite your age you still look and sound wonderful. Your past fascinates me; all the hands that have held you and the music you have played. The places you must have seen, have you travelled far, or just in Europe?
I hope that you like the travelling lifestyle, I know our home is so very small, but perhaps this does not concern you, packed away in your box behind the drivers seat, it is both quiet and dark there.
I am sorry about your case, I know I keep apologising for it, and perhaps I should not, it is better than none, a student case is hardly fitting for such a mature instrument, but of course this is all in my mind, perhaps you do not care at all about such a minor detail. One day I will buy you a proper wooden case with real velvet cushions!
Still you have company, I hope the other instruments are not too raucous, I have seen all the jostling for space around there, sorting out those dynamics cannot be easy. At least you are with your own kind, my other violin is Czech, or so I was told, is your relationship harmonious? Are you in tune with one another? It is true that she was my first love, and until we met I played only her, I find it hard to open her case without feeling some sadness for the love we have lost. I refrain from playing her most of the time, perhaps it is time I found her a new home, after all instruments were made to be played.
I have no idea whether you actually like the music that we play together, perhaps you long for something classical or even some Jazz, well there’s not much chance of that I’m afraid, I am rather stuck on the folk. I do have plans to expand my repertoire; I’d like to learn some Klezmer and some Scandinavian tunes. I sometimes wonder if I bore you!
When I found you, you were in an attic, you had not been played for some years and your strings were all dusty and broken. You belonged to my grandfather, Cyril, although I never heard him play, I don’t even know what kind of music he played, my guess is classical. I loved my grandfather very much, I had a special relationship with him, we shared a birthday and I always remember him as cheerful and warm. Funny that I never heard him play.
I wanted you for many years after he died and I think roughly ten went by before you were given to me. I took you to the menders and you were set up, and when I played you I was so enchanted by your sound, your depth and resonance, your warm sensual tone, I fell in love with you, and because of you I played even more than perhaps I would have done.
My favourite time to spend with you is round the campfire, but now it is autumn and those times will be few and far between, the weather is wild and stormy today, the wind whips through the trees blowing down the golden leaves. Perhaps a big outdoor fire is just what we need, to warm up our hearts and our voices, to bring together a big group of people playing and singing the music of this land, the land that I love, playing to the trees, to the night and to the moon and stars above.
You are my violin, you are with me, and I suppose that is our destiny. What is is what is. It cannot be any other way, we were meant to be together and so we must make the best of it.
I send you all my love and kisses and a deep gratitude for your warmth and your grace, for your smell and your lovely silky wood, for your tone and your magic which is increasingly unveiled to me the more we play together, you make me yearn to do better, every so often I get a glimpse of how it could be, of how we could sound together and I strive to be the best I can be for you.
I do not know when next we will play together, I cannot and will not make you any promises, but my hands long to touch your strings and my ears to hear your soft sweet sounds.
Forever, your loving and occasionally daft friend and companion.