Ron MacDonald

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About Ron MacDonald

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  • Birthday 09/05/1939

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  1. There is no reason to believe that a well repaired crack in a top would affect the sound detrimentally. One famous violinist once told me that a Rocca that he was particularly fond of sounded even better after it sustained two major cracks caused by mishandling on an aircraft and they were repaired.
  2. Joseph Fuchs played well into his nineties.
  3. Neruda died in 1911, so unlikely to have been in a plane crash. Ginette Neveu died in a crash in 1949 and Thibaud died in a crash in 1953.
  4. All my sources indicate that George Duncan emigrated to Canada in 1892. It is possible that he spent some time in Maine which shares a border with the Canadian province of New Brunswick. On the other hand, since he won a gold medal in London in 1885, it seems unlikely that he would be making number 3 in 1896. James Duncan of Cluny seems to have stayed there. I have his number 19 dated 1906 and his number 39 dated 1925. Both made in Aberdeenshire.
  5. I have a wonderful viola by Sarah Beaton:
  6. In their last days, W. E. Hill was unable to obtain the waterproof canvas that they had used to cover their cases. Their last cases (I have one) were sold with a plastic bag and a note to put it on in case of rainl.
  7. The recordings by Szigeti with Horszowski and Szigeti with Arrau (live) are very special.
  8. Back in the mid twentieth century, Lawrence Cocker of Derby became renowned for his bamboo bows. They were beautifully made--one distinguished cellist abandoned his regular bows and played exclusively with those of Cocker.
  9. Late in life, Alfredo Campoli acquired a John Lott which he said reminded him of a Del Gesu. His last recording was made with this instrument.
  10. Woodcock was a strange character. Many years ago when I was a student I bought what was supposed to be a R. & A. Gagliano from him with his certificate. A decade or so later, I gave the instrument to a student and I thought he might like to see the certificate which I had lost. I wrote to Woodcock to ask for a copy and to my surprise he replied that he didn't keep records but sent me a blank certificate with his signature and told me to fill in whatever I liked.
  11. The neck was lengthened and remounted by Vuillaume but he did not replace it. It is original!
  12. As you say, 12 could be Joachim but 9 is certainly not Elman. Ron
  13. I know it sounds implausible but the bridge was carefully maintained even as it warped. I always am careful with m;y bridges. I am still surprised at its behaviour since the water treatment--I had originally planned it as a stop gap measure until I had a chance to have a new bridge fitted. Now I guess I'll keep it indefinitely.
  14. A year ago, the bridge on one of my violins warped so badly that it looked as if the top were peering at the feet. It had been fitted at a distinguished shop only a year earlier and I had always maintained it carefully. I planned to have a new bridge done, but as a lark, I soaked the old one overnight in water, wrapped it in wax paper and put it under the foot of a heavy sofa for a couple of days. When I took it out it was straight again and I decided to try it on the fiddle. To my surprise, it has never warped again and it is still on the instrument, perfectly straight. Is there a lesson here?