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Everything posted by DR. S

  1. Yes - spicatto, off the string.
  2. Jacobsaunders - Yes, that is the instrument.
  3. I did not talk to the person who did the dendrochronology, so I am not sure. I understood it to be the same tree, but could be mistaken. Not sure how much that matters, I guess same tree would have more weight (and be cooler!) than same forest, but the dating and locale would still be valid.
  4. Worthless for insurance purposes, but you need to understand the nature of this business, especially when dealing with potential values in 7 figures, and with all the history of fraud, even in recent years. Reputation is everything. 95% percent certainty is not enough, and a violin at this level will most certainly need an appraisal at the top level of the industry. No one below that is going to risk their reputation. Their appraisals are not anonymous to the owner or me, but out of respect for their wishes is being held in confidence. Also, to answer some of the speculation, since they were unwilling to issue a certificate or written report, fees were returned. These were honest men. We got the info that we need for now. We are quite certain about what this is. Until the owner decides to sell, he is perfectly happy as things are. But keep the snide remarks coming. I really don't blame you, this is a one in a million event and skepticism is warranted. I have been skeptical up to this point, but I am now convinced. And as I have pointed out, I have no skin in this game, doesn't change a thing about the quality of the instrument I am playing on. Actually, this pretty much means at some point the instrument will be 'moved on' and sold, and it is definitely many many times out of reach for me to purchase, so in the end this news is a loss for me. My personal instrument is actually a very good modern and it feel like a truck played next to this instrument.
  5. Dendro report is done and and a third expert has looked at the instrument. None will sign off on their opinion, or allow their names to be used, because of legal reasons, but all who have looked at it, independently, came up with the same conclusion. The wood is circa 1689, Believed to have come from the same tree as used for 3 known Strads and 2 Guarneris. While no one really believes it is a Stradavari (pattern is not right) or a Nicolo Amati (actually too powerful and made about 40-50 years too late), they do believe it is from a significant maker, and thus the resistance, in today's market and the importance of maintaining reputations, to documenting an attribute to it as to maker or value. All scoffed at the idea that it is French. It has had significant rework, restoration on it, possibly a non-original scroll, and it was speculated that is was a prototype or experimental model as it is 2-4 mm longer than the standard patterns of the day. I think basically the only path to get an actual certificate will be to take it to London for a top tier appraisal when the owner is ready to put it on the market. Meanwhile, I am enjoying the heck out of it. So nothing concrete, but a definite trend toward a specific answer.
  6. Hard to just say what is an Amati like - lots of Amatis in that line over a pretty long period. The earlier Amatis are sweet and rich, but not very powerful. Nicolo Amati on the other hand is often credited with the development of the patterns, techniques, and training that allowed Strad and Guarnieri Del Gesu, (and many others) to do what they did. And his instruments were more powerful. Strad and his workshop pretty much 'perfected' the instrument and very consistently produced great instruments. Guarnieri Del Gesu produced a few that are often considered among the greatest concert instruments ever produced (such as the Cannon that Paganini used), but they were not as consistently great as Strads and some are notoriously hard to play (i.e. the Cannon). Earlier Guarnieris were more like Amatis - rich, warm, dark, but not powerful. As far as the best moderns and old Italians compare, I think it is true that if you blindfolded someone and played for them, they may not be able to tell you which is which, however, if you handed them the instruments to play, still blindfolded, most of the time they would be able to tell which is which quite easily. It may simply be the effects of age, many of today's instruments, in a couple of hundred years, may develop just as good of a feel and nuance as the best old Italians (or French) violins have today.
  7. The 'fast practice' video: Similar to my 'riff method', a great approach to learning each riff. I like it. However, I think if the passage gets long enough you still have to break it up mentally into a sequence of passages.
  8. Generally the neck reset is due to modernization work, and indicates that the instruments was built before they integrated that feature into new instruments. But since I am not an expert (though I have been told by quite a few experts of this fact), I will refrain in the future of making personal observations about anything but the playing qualities. I'll let the experts sort it out.
  9. None of the 'big dogs' have agreed to sign off on an opinion (that pesky liability thing when they can't be close to 100% sure), but all I can say is that Mirecourt mid-19th century is not holding up to their observations and opinions. Much older and further south seem to be a consensus so far, from what I am hearing. Possibly something experimental - it is a few mms longer than standard. Don't know how much the Dendro is costing. None of my business - not asking. I'm just as curious and fascinated as anyone. I have no opinion on anything except how good it is as a playing instrument.
  10. Interesting developments, stay tuned.
  11. Years ago there was this amazing Music Store, Patelson and Sons in Manhattan across the street behind Carnegie Hall. They sold individual parts to mush of the published Orchestral music. When I was a student, I bought dozens of parts for standard orchestral repertoire compositions. It was great to be able to prepare for auditions and/or learn music for upcoming concerts using the same publication that would be placed in front of you. Patelson's closed some years back and I was wondering if anyone knew of any other music houses that also sell published copies of orchestral music. I am aware of IMSLP and sometimes that works, but often what they have is a non-standard publication or something someone created themselves on Finale or something like that, plus it is shrunk down to fit an A sized sheet, so I'd prefer an actual publishing house copy. I am also aware of the New York Philharmonic site were bowed copies of a great deal of music is made available as a public resource, but again, not quite the same as a nice fresh full sized part.
  12. Dendro is in work. Having the instrument apart and closely looking it over centimeter by centimeter. No, it was not antiqued. The neck has been reset and re-angled, making it at least 200 years old. Much of the wear could only have occurred over many many years and are not things one would have done to make it look old. I won't argue about it being French or Italian, but if it is newer than early 18th century, I WILL be surprised. And I will reiterate, to me, this is all nothing more than and intellectual Exercise. I can accept whatever the ultimate answer is. I am playing on a world class playing instrument whether it was made by Nicolo Amati in 1669 or a factory Roth instrument made in 1950. Not only in how it sounds, but how it plays and responds. My Markneukirkin Theo Glaesel viola will never be worth more than 5-7K, but side by side its sound and sonority outshines every viola I have ever come In contact with, even using impartial judges not knowing which instrument was being played. But unlike this violin, my viola does not quite have that feel of an old Italian.
  13. I would like to add, because I failed to mention it before, that I agree very much with Spelman about staying relaxed. Watch the best violinists and they just never seem to work hard at all. It's quite infuriating actually ;-). I saw a quote from Milstein once (I think it was him), where someone asked him what the hardest passage was he had ever played, and his response was "If I can play it, it is not hard." And Milstein could play FAST!
  14. New Info, the owner just discovered tucked away in his paperwork, that the violin was identified as French, 1730. Having a Dendro done. Stay tuned . . .
  15. He apparently never talked about his cello specifically in any interview or biographical piece. I wanted to know this too, but can find nothing. Even looked for info on a possible auction of his cello. If you can find contact info of a family member perhaps they would be kind enough to respond.
  16. Never seen that much of a twist from tuning.
  17. Scoiattola - much of what you have said is dependent on hand size. On viola I do much like you say, the 2nd finger is the nominal position and I actually reach back a bit for 1st finger, this allow me to more easily reach the 4th finger stops. I also hold my hand more square to the instrument on viola, somewhere between cello and violin. I have a large (wide) hand but a relatively short 4th finger. On violin, 1st finger is the base as I have no issues with reach. I think the 1st finger as the base is best if your physical attributes allow it. I will relax the unused fingers on the string, but never lift. To build speed, I think of grabbing 'handfuls of notes', not just putting each finger in place for each note as they come. Also think about hand position and intervals of the fingers to get the fingers in place earlier. Think of a guitarist who has to put the entire chord down at once, then all you have to do is manage the bow to strike the notes at the correct time. Of course it is never that straight forward, but it can help with many passages. Yes slow practice definitely helps to ingrain the notes into your head and fingers, but you must play it slowly in the same manner that you would play it fast, such as putting multiple fingers in place ahead of time, as described above and with the same bow articulation - the bow is part of the 'choreography' of the passage. To build up to speed, break it down into manageable pieces - or 'sound bites' or 'riffs' if you will and work each one up to speed (actually above speed - when you perform, you want to feel it is comfortable), then practice connecting each part, so that when you play it is not a progression of single notes, but a progression of 'riffs' so that the mind does not have work so hard to keep up.
  18. Is there a twist to the bridge? What does that do? Have you experimented with David Rivinus' bridge design?
  19. Thank you everyone for your input.
  20. I'm holding my tongue here. I have made no assertions, only passed on information. I have done nothing but admit ignorance, except, to encourage possible rethinking, simply pointed out that an acknowledged expert who had it in their possession for 3 weeks had a completely different opinion, this is not MY opinion. My only opinion is how good an instrument it is, because that is all I am qualified to judge. If he is wrong, he is wrong. We'll find out soon enough.
  21. I am always puzzled why someone would make such a marvelous instrument and try to pass it off as something else.
  22. There was no bad news to give. It was sent without any specific expectations.
  23. Believer? What does belief have to do about this? I am here soliciting opinion, all of which I am taking seriously. I am also putting out other opinions that I have received from other reputable sources. I am trying to deal in facts, and where that is not attainable, then the best founded theory. Not my violin and not my money. I appreciate the comments and find the information valuable. But I am not some hick that has "grandpa's Strad' out of the attic (I've seen a bunch of those and had to break the news to the poor souls). I am a conservatory trained instrumentalist and have played on a lot of fine instruments. This instrument, may well turn out just to be a very good playing, valueless instrument - I have a viola like that. But the initial expert report definitely dictated further investigation. This is one of those instruments that when you play it, people ask what it is, and when someone plays it, they do not want to give it back. It has that nuance that you hear about with the finest instruments and the power to fill a hall and soar over and orchestra. I've been playing it for over a year, as I said, and finding out it is not of great value is perfect for me, I'll be able to buy it, I really do not want to give it up. But the owner is a friend and if it is of great value, I am not going to try to hide it.