martin swan

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  1. As I understand it, "everyone" has been saying it isn't deliberate antique-ing. Your friend Jay would seem to be saying the same ...
  2. I think you would have got a slightly higher estimate from Tarisio. But essentially every auction house tries to get consigners to put items into auction at the lowest estimate possible. They know from experience that this is the way to get the best price - a low estimate is attractive to a bargain=hunter, and that bargain-hunter will often carry on bidding well past their initial budget if they feel threatened by competing bidders. If the item has too high a reserve and doesn't sell, the auction house loses. If it sells for a lower price than it might, the auction house wins. Lots of sales at slightly disappointing prices are much better for the auction house than lots of no-sales.
  3. Distortion is a technical term in recording - so to avoid confusing the boffins, we could maybe use the word "enhancement". Some of this "enhancement" is more to do with creating a listening position - positioning the listener within the music, or in the performer's face, or giving them an idealized mix of a close-up dry signal and a glorious big ambience in a way that can't be experienced in a real space. It's worth remembering that everyone's hearing is different - partly age-related, partly to do with ear shape. So a certain amount of personalisation is surely acceptable.
  4. Thee cheaper instruments were often made of plane, or "platane" - very common in France : Platanus acerifolia. Slab cut looks like this.
  5. "Caussin School" haha! Lot of these around on MNet all of a sudden ...
  6. True, but 5 violins at once from a seller in San Antonio Texas without any previous feedback suggests a new account set up because the old one became too incriminating or was closed down
  7. The "French labelled Collin-Mézin" is the cheapest imaginable Schoenbach crap. 3 of the four "Italian labelled" violins appear to have come off the same production line, and all four are cheap trade instruments, at best something a couple of levels below a Jay Haide. One might reasonably assume that someone this disingenuous with zero feedback and no return policy is putting the labels in themselves. Anyone who has a genuine 20th century Italian violin knows what they have, and if they want to sell in a hurry they consign it to Tarisio.
  8. I would expect the label underneath to be an apocryphal Cappa, dalla Costa or Serafin label. I have an almost identical "Caussin School" violin in a cupboard somewhere with a similarly oversized label.
  9. Uuuuum .... Bruel & Kjaer. Flat as a pancake. Calrec soundfield also very uncoloured. I think most classical recording is done with mikes that are as uncoloured as possible. If the mikes are placed where the listener would be sitting, the information will arrive at the mikes at the same time as it would arrive at the ears. And speed of sound is not frequency dependent - low frequency waveforms are less attenuated by distance, but they don't travel at a different speed. Most people don't sit off to one side of the middle of the concert hall by choice. If they had the chance to listen from the conductor's POV I think they would say yes. And of course we should factor in that everyone's hearing has a slightly different response curve - we are never hearing quite the same thing as our neighbour because of the shape of our ears, and then we all process and comprehend the information differently too. So there is no real or objective sound to be reproduced in the first place, just a range of different preferences.
  10. To me it looks more like an older instrument in unusually well preserved condition. Post 1989 German student instruments such as those made by Musima seem to be made on an outside mold and are very symmetrical. This looks much more like a BOB affair with some considerable uneven-ness in the C bouts. Ergo pre-WWII
  11. I just want to say a couple of things. Firstly, sorry for sidetracking this thread ... Secondly, I am not a good violinist. I am a passable fiddle player on a good night. Before getting involved in selling violins I was primarily a composer of commercial music and a producer - back in the day I had quite a successful recording project. Thirdly, I have really not expressed much of an opinion here on the matter of "playing in". All I have done is to challenge some preconceptions. I believe that the phenomenon of "playing in" is as yet inseparable from other phenomena, and that unless you can eliminate those other variables then it's good to keep an open mind. Does the sun rise in the morning or does the earth rotate towards the sun? Demonstrably the latter, but we all still understand it "metaphorically" as the former. Both are relevant and accurate descriptions of the event. Fourthly, there are people on this forum who have much more, and much more pertinent, experience of violins and the way they evolve over time than I have. I am a bit lippy and I tend to jump in, but I am aware that others are further on in this journey than I am. So, in the immortal words of a not-to-be-named Irish folk-rock legend after droning on about himself for half an hour : "Anyway, enough about me, what do you think of my music?"
  12. Hi Michael, I'm sorry for the "Utilitarian" comment and I have removed it - I was all in a froth and the barb was really directed at an individual, not all classical players. However I do find classical players to be the most utilitarian in their approach to violin sound. Most common concerns are a violin or bow that you can't play very softly in orchestral pianissimos, a bow that doesn't immediately deliver staccato in the expected place, wolfs on the high B flat in the Sibelius, or perceived ease of intonation in double stops. Sometimes classical players in tryout scenarios don't actually make music at all whereas folkies and jazzers never do anything else. You might say that this is because they are more demanding of the instrument, and of course in a sense this is true. But they also often have a way of thinking which is not holistic, and their technique is so honed and refined that they can't adapt to something slightly different. In defense of my nails on a blackboard folk-reel sort of thing, I quickly found that people would follow me around surreptitiously at auction viewings to see what I liked. I have developed a very hurried routine which is enough for me to dismiss 99% of fiddles in about 10 seconds but it's ugly to listen to. I am indeed an execrable violinist and a bit of a dickhead, but I have never knowingly "played" a violin at an auction preview.
  13. Well if I mistook your intention I apologize ... maybe I am too keen to deconstruct meaning "What experience do you have to play major violin concerto in front of orchestras" contains within it the assumption that someone can only have a legitimate opinion on the phenomenon of "playing in" if they are a classical soloist. This is what the thread is about, and you ask whether I have what you regard as a legitimate qualification to comment here. If you believe that Conservatoire training is necessary in order to understand violin sound, then we will never see eye to eye! Playing ability is not the issue, listening ability is the issue. Studying at Conservatoire is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for an understanding of timbre or psycho-acoustics. Just to clarify, my 15 years of experience in living with many thousands of violins is not in my occasional activities as a pseudo-Balkan violinist, but in my real job as a violin dealer. I get to study a lot of violins and a lot of conservatoire-trained classical soloists, and some of these latter seem quite deaf actually ... I have worked in recording studios as a composer and producer with great musicians from all musical disciplines, jazz, folk, classical, and I don't differentiate between them in terms of musical ability or their ability to hear - I take everyone on their merits. In my view the greatest listeners are improvisational musicians, producers and mix engineers. Incidentally VdA I don't mind that first clip - I had had a couple of rakijas and could hear myself on stage, and even though I didn't know the song the day before, I think I coped. The other two are hellish. No-one is ever going to take me seriously if you post that kind of stuff ...