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  1. I've been using one of the earlier Arcus Sonata bows regularly for almost three years. Tried the Sonata and the Concerto, and preferred the former. I'd say the Righetti carbon bows may be nearly as quick, and are closer to the usual weight; also tried some Rolland Spiccato and Arpege bows, and found the sound of the Arpege particularly good--better than the Arcus, but not up to a very lightweight and sweet-sounding pernambuco bow. I'm not entirely convinced that a very light bow is less work to play for long periods, since it takes more arm weight to stay 'in the string.' I've tried a Berg and was unimpressed (though it wasn't the deluxe model). After all that...: All in all, I think the Arcus Sonata is the best compromise under $1000. After trying some bows in the $2000-$3500 range (Treat, Quade, Finkel, Bazin, etc.) it seems evident that a really good hand-made pernambuco bow can still outperform and out-sound carbon fiber, so if I had the cash burning a hole in my pocket I'd probably buy wood rather than getting an Arcus Cadenza. Again...I preferred the less expensive Arcus a while ago, and might still today. I preferred the less expensive Rolland carbon bow (though I didn't try to vary the tension of the Spiccato). So I'd suggest that a player try them all--and preferably in a more-or-less blind trial--before assuming that $$$ means playability. (The same of course applies to wood bows!)
  2. If it's a real Sofia "Premium Master", then it's probably okay, or even very good. I can find them in Boston violin shops (and online) for $3300 up. It looks like one, but of course eBay can be a craps game! I have one similar Bulgarian violin that a like quite a lot. This may be an example of a decent violin that would sell for three or four times as much if it was made in Cremona by someone who happened to be named Pierluigi Ferraverra.... Michael, is that why you chose this example, or is there something evidently questionable about it that an expert can discern from the pictures? I don't see why anyone would shill this in the 500 buck range, though I agree that hiding the bidders' identities is a questionable practice that raises suspicions.
  3. Hm...I suppose you might try the Pirastro Obligatos, but from your description it hardly seems worth the money. Possible Violino (cheaper, Zyex, or even Eudoxa. If it's a fiddle that's otherwise of decent quality, how about loaning it to a violin-making student in the hopes that he'll open it up and regraduate it, set the soundpost better, cut a new bridge? Anyways, unless it'a a real collectible, I wouldn't get too attached to it. With a little looking you can find very cheap used fiddles with remarkably good sound from China or eastern Europe.
  4. The Vermeer Quartet make The Seven Last Words a specialty, and have an excellent recording. (They're also remarkable on late Beethoven.) I'm quite sure the parts I have are Peters.
  5. Hm....I guess 'roman' hears things somewhat like I do. I've disliked Heifetz's Bach since I was ten, and I'll turn 60 this year. For the most romantic Bach imaginable, and totally within high-Baroque style and convention, try to Elizabeth Wallfisch on a Hyperion CD. Listen to the phrasing of the Gm adagio, and the sparkling arpeggiated chords---quite a relief after the clumpy double-double- stops of Heifetz and the Russians. Rachael Podger is probably my next-best choice. For "modern" performances, Milstein (but why?.....)
  6. story

    Tango?

    Por uns Cabeza is apparently the most popular purchase from J.Nurse's "cacophonix" site, and his string quartet arrangements are usually very good indeed.
  7. The humidity seems to have an awful lot to do with it. In relative humidity below 35% I like Hill dark or A&B dark. They seem to work equally well for violin and viola. They're a little scratchy. That seems to be a trade-off. A bit of scratch under the ear may translate to a better sound at a distance. Listen while someone else plays. But when the humidity get up to 40%, Liebenzeller gold (I'm using #2) is wonderful for smoothness, and seems not to need as much rosin, or as frequent application, as most. I've heard that Goldflex is similar, but haven't tried it. Bernardel seems to be a very hard rosin. In a warmer, wetter climate than New England it may be just fine, but I haven't cared much for it.
  8. I love this topic! The solo violin is a great accompaniment for a woman's voice, and few major composers have tried the combination. I concur strongly about the Vaughan Williams songs. I believe they're actually called "Along the Field", after the title of one of the poems. The violin parts are not trivial...especially because the intonation has to be impeccable to work well with the voice. There's also a set of Holst "Sacred Songs" or something like that--on translated medieval texts I think. Very nice, and easier.
  9. Herr Theis's website (which looks somewhat abandoned, and still has the "cellodoc" moniker) claims that his auctions have a 14-day return policy if the instrument is not as described; and he gives this description for a "by Xxxxxx" listing: To the manufacturer of the instrument: 1 a violine by A. Stradivari... The violin definitely originates from the manufacturer named So I wonder whether an international buyer (especially one with a quick appraisal from a good shop) can hold him to his word legally?
  10. Interesting comments. Thanks, Mr. Darnton and 'aggressivo'. The pattern of likely shill bidding is also apparent. I can't resist looking at the offering from 'gmu6', and commenting on what I see, so that you experts can tear it apart and teach me something I see what may be a decent violin, nice purfling work on the table, purfling near the raised edges in very Italian fashion, f-holes quite elegant, with a smooth 'french curve' feel that the Ornatis in the Tarisio archive also have, and sized and placed very nearly in the same place on the table in pix of real Ornatis. The brand stamp looks right. But [1] the f-hole edges appear to have been blackened, [2] the wood of the table doesn't show grain in the same way as the certified Ornatis (which could of course just be the photographs), and most of all [3] the scroll, while not crude, doesn't have the elegance (rounded edges, wide Stradivarian first turn, etc.) of all four Ornatis in the Tariso pix. All but one of those pix show instruments with one-piece backs, and the other back is quite eccentric; the instrument offered by gmu6 has a two-piece back with quite conventional "Soil"-like antiquing. Following the "chains of trust" in ebay feedback, gmu6 seems to have sold cheap violins at very reasonable prices to people all over the place...I can't find any clear signs of shilling. My guess is that this could be a good "modeled after Ornati" violin, maybe Italian, maybe not. I certainly couldn't venture a guess whether it's a real one, but at least the scroll doesn't seem right.
  11. This topic caught my interest by the way the original poster declared the violin a fake, without mentioning any physical characteristics that would lead one to believe that it is indeed a fake. I know there are a many fakes sold on ebay, especially when the alleged maker is as famous as Ornati, and this may be one of them. But Walter Hamma is indeed a reputable authority (who wrote a major reference work on Italian violins), and I'm not inclined to reject the documentation just because one letter in the maker's name is misspelled. On the other hand, I'm not at all satisfied that this is a real Ornati. (It just doesn't "feel like" the ones pictured in the Tarisio archive, but I could certainly be wrong.) The pictures of the violin are suspiciously unclear, but they do seem to match the certificate. What is it specifically that makes you two seem so sure that this is a fake? (I have no interest at all in this sale, but am very curious what details clue you in...)
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