Honorary Unsubscribe

Randy Cassingham’s Honorary Unsubscribe Recognizes the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Often Obscure People who Had an Impact on Our Lives.
These are the people you will wish you had known.

Luthier extraordinaire

Rene Morel

A luthier (pronounced loo-ti-AY — the profession of making or repairing stringed, and especially bowed, instruments), Morel was “arguably the best violin restorer in the world,” said CNN. The grandson of an instrument maker, Morel was an apprentice luthier starting at age 12. He and his master, Paul Mangenot, made two violins per week — by hand. “We had no machinery,” Morel said later, “not even an electric motor.” Born in France, Morel moved to New York in the 1950s and specialized in restoration, which he called “adjustments”. He was the go-to guy when musicians like violinist Itzhak Perlman or cellist Yo-Yo Ma needed work done on their instruments. A musician would bring an instrument, sometimes worth millions, to Morel’s shop and play a few notes. “He would put up his sleeve and say, 'You see the goose bumps’,” says Perlman. “He said as long as he didn’t get the goose bumps, it was not properly adjusted.” Sometimes that would take some work: a complete restoration of Bernard Greenhouse’s 1707 Stradivarius cello took two years, and was recounted in the 2001 book The Countess of Stanlein Restored by Greenhouse’s son-in-law, Nicholas Delbanco. Morel died in New Jersey on November 16, from cancer. He was 79.

From This is True for 20 November 2011


Honorary Unsubscribe Books

HU BooksThe Early Writeups from This is True's popular Honorary Unsubscribe feature are now available for your Kindle (or Kindle software for your smartphone, tablet, or computer) as low-cost ebooks.

See details on Volume 1 (covering 1998 through 2000), Volume 2 (2001 through 2003), Volume 3 (2004 through 2006), and Volume 4 (2007 through 2009).

The honorees truly are the people you wish you had known.

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