The Lost Art of Funerary Violin
February 24, 2014 2:57 AM Subscribe
posted by vacapinta (8 comments total)
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The book An Incomplete History of the Art of Funerary Violin
, published in 2006, tells, for the first time, the story of a lost art and one that was eventually supressed by the Church. "During the Protestant revolution in Europe, a new kind of music emerged, one that ultimately sought to recognize the deceased and to individuate the sense of loss and grief. But the tradition was virtually wiped out by the Great Funerary Purges of the 1830s and 40s. Kriwaczek tells the fascinating story of this beautiful music, condemned by the Catholic Church for political as much as theological reasons, and of the mysterious Guild of Funerary Violinists that, yes, defends its secrets in our time."
The 220-page book is written in an academic tone and outlines the entire history
of the Society along with biographies of some of its key figures - George Babcotte and Herr Hieronymous Gratchenfleiss and even Paganini
The NY Times soon pointed ou
t that there are a few "niggling details" about the book: "There is no such thing as a funerary violin, said several leading violin scholars. There were no Great Funerary Purges. And Mr. Kriwaczek did not graduate from the Royal Academy of Music in 1974, as his biography claims, or receive a lifetime achievement award from the International Federation of Funeral Directors, an organization that appears to exist only on the author’s personal Web site."
Niggling details aside, the Guild has a website
and YouTube provides some examples of the classics of Funerary Violin:
The Erroneos Dirge of George Babcotte
The Softly Spoken Wanderings of Death