Jump to content
Maestronet Forums


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Profile Information

  • Location
    1787 NW
  • Interests
    details, patterns, organization, rhythm, flow

Recent Profile Visitors

9196 profile views

stradofear's Achievements


Enthusiast (5/5)

  1. in 2 weeks time there is a book launch in Cremona of the first comprehensive monography about Nikolai Kittel.

    Written by the experts on Kittel: Grünke, Gabriel and Chins. 30 Kittel bows in it. And some photos of documents contributed by kenway.

    There will be a lot of your questions and answers in it. www.nikolai-kittel.com



  2. Chris, I like da Salo better than Maggini, mainly on points of elegance. I don't think they're equivalent to the Cremonese, though. The thing that started the conversation with Bob was my liking mid-period Guads. He said I was just latching onto the appeal of the oddities, without understanding what fundamentals were missing, and he was right. I think this is a common problem, and know a lot of people develop their preferences on violin simply based on this type of thing, kind of like magpies going for the bright shiny things. :-) Now, much later, those Guads don't appeal to me as much as the late Turin ones, where, perhaps under Cozio's influence, he had a much better understanding of Cremonese style, and then synthesized a new model that reflected that without copying it. so I would call those late Guads as examples of later making that walked a new path while still understanding a lot about what went before. And many of them do have that essential buzz that comes from a work which is honest and coherent. Bruce, I understand the tonal problems of small Ornatis, but I sold a cello to a member of the Cleveland Orchestra (perhaps the cello of the head that Jeff pictured?) that was an incredible instrument on all counts, and superior to every other modern Italian cello I've seen. And it had all the tasty workmanship, too.
  3. This is exactly why I didn't want to get into this discussion, myself. I've only seen one maker named who more than once gave me the same sensual experience that's common with classical Cremonese makers, and that's Ornati. When I started, Bob Bein advised that I take Stradivari as my standard, because he had solved all the problems in the most attractive and subtle ways, and that once I understood his making, everything else would be relative to that. Strads are so subtle and beautiful that it seems a shame to be talking about the "goodness" of makers who don't appear to understand anything about classical making or Stradivari at all. And it's not like they didn't know who he was, which makes it even worse. As a class, I *think* that some of the dead Hungarian makers of the 20th century understood beauty and subtle making much better than the Italians of the same time, but I don't have extensive enough experience with them to be sure which ones I'd cite. When I look at a Scarampella, for instance, I'm not convinced there's anything at all good going on--it's more like he's reinvented the violin, and done a relatively poor job of it, compared with the people who did it first, of whom he certainly must have been aware, and could have learned something from if he hadn't been either ignorant or headstrong. Perhaps some would give him points for being bold, but to my eye it's not a good style, it's just a strong one. Gadda falls off the list for copying Scarampella. If you run through the list like that, you're left with the same situation Chris gave for not mentioning Americans (certainly no one will blame me for taking Chris' stance and broadening it to another country, right? or is stepping on sacred Italian toes off-limits?): why bother? The modern Italians of the early 20th century just fall too short of the mark for me to take them seriously, except in the commercial sense. If you walked into a shop as a new maker now with a Sgarbi-like violin that you'd made today, and Sgarbi hadn't existed, you wouldn't get the time of day--they certainly wouldn't offer to sell it for you. Manfio likes to mention how many of those makers were amateurs, and perhaps that's part of the problem. I'm not against modernity. There are now makers who do make really luscious things (one of the sweetest post-1750 instruments I've ever seen was a Ravatin cello). It might be more interesting to sort them out, but politically difficult.
  4. Jeff, when everyone gets a prize, no one has one. Between you and Chris, the two of you covered most of the makers one would commonly see for sale. To me, it sounds more like support for a sales brochure than a selective list of the best. Frankly, I don't see any attempt at all to pick the best. Of the ones named, one of my faves is Ornati. How many first prizes are we giving? Maybe I could drag out a few more, but why? The exercise, as it stands, reminds me of one of my former employer's mantras that went with virtually every sales pitch "This is THE FINEST EXAMPLE of this maker's work we have ever seen!" . . . (until we have the next one for sale).
  5. I'd like to mention the only modern Italians who haven't been named yet: Dispersore di Cucina and his friend Sonoingrado di Vendereche (now that I look him up, his real name might be Posso Venderequello). Otherwise, I think no one's left to name, except possibly some obscure names between the stuck-together pages of some dealers' Henley. . .
  6. Strictly speaking, that's probably correct. There's a tendency in the fiddle business to, whenever possible, upgrade something, if only by attaching it to a higher quality model as one might want to do in this instance. It sounds a lot better than "A Montagnana copy of an unknown tyrolian violin of no particular quality", doesn't it? :-) Still, in many cases (Montagnana, really, for instance) the model is definitely Stainer-derived. There's a Stainer model Goffriller here in Chicago that's jaw-dropping gorgous, and flagrantly Stainerish. Tecchlers, not so much.
  7. Some schools, particularly German and older English, liked to view the f-holes as punched out of a plate with no thickness, rather than one where you could see the thickness, and cut the under edges back, out of view, to accomplish this appearance.
  8. To me the earlier one seems more like Amati influence than Stainer, especially when you have one in your hands.
  9. The common connection, of course, being Venice. Goffriller, also, made Stainer models, and there are suggestions that the name Goffriller is a German one. The biggest part of the music business, in Venice, dwarfing violins, was lutes, and the lute makers were German. The Tieffenbrucker (Bavarian) firm in Venice was simply huge. It's not surprising that the violin makers around them, some of them German, were making a German model. Another place the Stainer makes an appearance is the very international city, Rome, around a German-named maker, Tecchler, and another, Platner. The third spot for a lot of Stainer copies to show up is Florence, with the Carcassis, for whatever reason. The city that never did have a Germain Stainer model is Cremona, where all of the makers, not just the prominent ones, either, were Italian, not German. I don't think one should forget to consider, then, that a lot of the spread has perhaps not so much with the demand for German violins as much as the fact that is some locations all the suppliers were German, and that's what they made--German violins--so that's what you bought if you wanted a violin. Just for one comparison, compare that some of the Cremonese makers whose names are very familiar to us never made many violins at all, and did it in small shops by their own hand, with the fact that the death tax inventory of one lute maker in Venice lists over a thousand unsold lutes! It makes the native Italian violin production look very small, indeed. I read an interesting article in Harpers this month about the watch business: because of the huge numbers, effective marketing, and distribution of Rolex, that's the watch every half-informed buyer wants, ignoring that really it's at the bottom, not the top, of the high-price watch market. Perhaps the Cremonese faced the same uphill battle against the omnipresent German violin. We still see the same type of fanboy thing with violins today, where people recommend makers whose instruments I am sure they have never seen or heard because of effective publicity, not honest evaluation.
  10. They may all work equally, but what's your definition of "fine"?
  11. A general characteristic of many new violins is a lot of noise, and yes, things do tend to smooth out over time. I don't know specifically about double stops in particular, but why not, since single notes are sufficent to see this.
  12. The surest path to not learning anything is to believe that there's nothing to learn.
  13. That's OK. But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. My first sentence really makes the point, by itself, I think: that anything we don't understand we tend to attribute to the absolute lack of its understandability, even though that may not be true. Before Francois Denis' "master plan" for violin outlines, I'm sure many people were saying it was done by eye, and there were many, many failed attempts to describe it from a design angle appearing to prove that it wasn't a design.
  • Create New...