One of the rarest Stradivari cellos in existence has been
repaired after an accident last April. The decorated 1694
instrument suffered damage to its neck when it hit the edge of a
table during a photographic session. On 25 September it will be
returned to its display case in Madrid's Royal Palace.
New York-based luthier Carlos Arcieri was chosen to lead the repair work, which took place over three weeks in June. The instrument, which remained in the palace during the entire process, required a new neck to be made and fitted. The broken neck had been added to the instrument in 1857, though the scroll and pegbox are both original. Neither was damaged in the accident.
Arcieri made a replacement neck from maple, similar to that of the original instrument. He also adjusted the angle, shape and position of the fingerboard to make the cello more comfortable for a modern player, and restored small areas of the varnish that had worn away over centuries of playing. According to Arcieri, the most difficult part of the process was the removal of all parts of the broken neck without damaging any of the original instrument, particularly at the join with the pegbox.
A press spokesperson said that the cello will be heard in public during October, as part of the ‘King of Spain’ quartet of Stradivaris. The four instruments have been in the possession of the Spanish royal family since 1775. No details have been given as to the players, repertoire or date for the performance.