"Carrodus" violin to be played again after 50 yrs

SYDNEY (Reuters) - One of the world’s most precious violins, worth A$10 million (3.9 million pounds), will be played for the first time in 50 years when the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) begins its 2007 season in February.

The violin, one of only 100 built by Giuseppi Guarneri, one of the most famous violin makers in northern Italy during the 18th century, was bought by an anonymous Australian collector and permanently loaned to the orchestra, said the ACO.

“I am overwhelmed by the generosity and the vision of the owners of this extraordinary instrument,” said Richard Tognetti, ACO artistic director, who will play the violin known as the “Carrodus” after English violinist John Carrodus.

“It is a supreme honour to have the custodianship of this instrument,” Tognetti said in a statement on Tuesday.

The “Carrodus” was one of Guarneri’s last violins and while it was built in 1743 its value comes from its unusually good condition and tone, said the ACO.

The violin is “among the four or five finest ... still being played today”, Charles Beare, of London dealer J & A Beare, said in a statement issued by the ACO.