With a slight Spanish accent, the voice on the phone asks me: "Do you have cello bows?", I get a bit surprised, how what do you mean, have you cello bows, what a singular question, and then I answer yes, of course I have cello bows ... and I prepare myself for what almost always follows that overture, but with a doubt, with open curiosity about surprise, even if I could not really say what set it in motion.
In impeccable Italian, the voice, young and fresh, free of tensions, tells me that he got my name from a luthier in New York, Maestro Gould, after a while I remember, met him a long time ago at mondomusica, even if the meeting was short I understood that guy, Master Luthier, was really a Master, guided and dominated by a huge passion for his art ... basically there are two types of luthiers, many are builders of musical furniture, few are real luthiers, we recognized each other in a few moments, it was beautiful.
My horizon at that point changed completely, Emiliano comes to me sent by a Master, his questions must be accepted honoring the Master who sent him to me ... he lives in a distant city, he is a musician, he will be able to come to me in a few days, and in the meantime he will take a look at the website, he will come with his precious cello, a Master Luthier from a city close to my atelier must perform some small maintenance, he prefers to move with the train, I offer to go and pick him up, and we set the date.
He has a pleasant appearance, he is young, he looks young, but he is not so young, long over thirty, during the short trip we chat, and it is a real conversation, he does not display his more than respectable palma res, nor does he recite the curriculum vitae, but he rings with pleasant lightness the anti-covid protection measures with the obsession of the mother for order, cleanliness and hygiene, which today has become a dowry highly appreciated by all, while then, many years ago, it was looked at with suspicion
... and then the luck of having found hospitality (not free, but it went very well) with a fellow musician stuck abroad for months during the lockdown, escaping the possible fate of being closed for months with three musicians not really pleasant in the previous location, blessed solitude, many reflections, so much cello, so much study, so many conversations via videocall ... it is not a torrent, it is a beautiful creek, fresh, lively, he tells, I tell, the masters, mine and his, the current one that is giving him a hard time, the masterclasses he joined ...
Meanwhile we have arrived, the stream continues fresh to run, while he gently removes the mask, happy to find my airborne-covid-killer in operation, which I present to him briefly, and tells me smiling that he is looking for a bow that allows him to get the sound that he knows to be the sound he wants and that his cello can give, and that he has not yet found it, after having tried so many ... he has traveled half the world, and now, recently returned to Italy, he first looked for me, maybe I have what he is looking for.
I don't know how he did it, but as by magic I find him sitting with his beautiful cello, a quick tuning check done, ready for the test, he looks at me smiling, waiting, without haste, without urgency ... I take Elettra, it is the name I gave to this bow, diligently prepared for the test, and I offer it to him, with pleasure, without haste, without urgency. Emiliano tends the bow and begins.
The repertoire he uses is unusual for me, it is not the canonical and classic cello solo, it is one of the parts that he is probably studying in these days, a quartet of Brahms, he performs two movements, impeccable, very focused, I know that he is no longer only there with me, it is impossible to perform those musical passages in that way remaining in this too often boring real environment, what he needs is elsewhere, Emiliano knows where and how to take it here where he needs it...
And then he comes back here, with me again, beaming... yes, it is magnificent, I do not feel it, this bow is the hand that holds it, and the hand is the bow, and the sound, yes, it is precisely the sound I am looking for, just that, never had in my hands a bow like this ...
And he asks me about the weight, and the wood, and the mother screw, and our two creeks meet and play, I tell, he tells, our waters play, he drinks what I tell him, he does not lose a single molecule, I quench my thirst at his acute observations and good questions ...
I'd like you to try this, now... he gives me back Elettra, which supports time, speed, essentiality, cleanliness and slenderness, and I give him Maia, without telling him the name, without saying a word, simply smiling, Maia that sustains life.
Emiliano tends Rocky, and as before he leaves, while remaining with me, it is no longer Brahms, I do not recognize it immediately, it seems Ravel ... yes, it's Ravel
They are minutes, and they fly away, and Emiliano returns, flying, proud and happy, the hours have flown, and we have not noticed, it is time to get back on the road ... Emiliano wants to try them both, even where he studies, even where he is working with others, even where the exams will be celebrated, in a few days, he wants to ask a highly esteemed colleague to play his cello with these bows and hear from outside, at a distance ... I gladly agree, we get back on the road, while our creeks continue to delight us.
[to be continued in part 2 ]