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About John_London

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  1. John_London

    Modern Italian Makers: Anyone tried these?

    When I was in Brazil maybe 10 years ago, chatting to a senior excutive in a restaurant, he was taking English lessons; his six-year old started bilingual school at 5, his youngest was going to bilingual kindergarten at 2. Refreshingly, the old people in most Latin countries don't speak English. And in France, especially Paris, they pretend not to speak English, presumably because they hate foreigners. I met a Canadian whose first language was French, and he told me that some Parisians pretended not to understand him either. Italians are indeed 'particolare'. I used to think electing Berlusconi was a sign of that, until I saw the president selected by the most normal nation on earth.... Fabulous place for a holiday, with unparalleled, irresistable glamour and style, yet I would find it hard to live in Italy.
  2. John_London

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    In her book Gone about the theft of her Strad, Min Kym stated that maintenance costs on such an instrument are at least £5,000 per year.
  3. John_London

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    The only one I am aware of is Florian Leonhard, a German working in London with a few highly skilled assistants. I have no information on how much of a hand the assistants have in producing bench copies. Perhaps David Burgess can name others. In this video Mr Leonhard made about why expensive violins are a great investment, he does not state that the originals are necessarily better than the copies or other modern instruments. I cannot see that you need a superbly accurate bench copy of the kind Mr Leonhard can supply for this purpose. I suspect most of the violinists in the orchestra would struggle to distinguish a soloist's Strad from any good-looking, professionally made and skillfully antiqued copy, even if it is one a violin dealer would spot quickly. The audience would have no idea.
  4. John_London

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    Although I have never made a violin, I think it is safe to say you will know far more about the construction of violins than most violinists after that experience. You would be astonished how little many violinsts, even some very good ones, have been taught or have come to know about the design and construction of their instruments. Good violinists have a different kind of knowledge about the instrument, which also cannot be properly understood by reading about it.
  5. John_London

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    Instruments by living makers rarely reach $100k: when you include instruments by famous makers from early to mid 20th century under 'modern' the figure is realistic. Just to add to Martin Swan's point, some outfits which loan instruments may offload the substantial insurance and mainenance costs onto the recipient of their loan. There are sometimes commercial benefits in loaning instruments whose market value is anyway growing, for the apparently self-less foundations. And what does the young soloist get? Probably a fine violin, certainly hassle and cost, and a stamp of approval and publicity which may help their career, and which is hard to refuse.
  6. John_London

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    Is Chateau Lafite Rothschild better wine than Pommard? And do those legendary houses with eye-watering prices, sometimes in five figures per bottle, make better wines than fine Napa Valley wine-makers who sometimes come out top in blind tastings?
  7. John_London

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    I'd like a Strad. A nice one, of course. I am also blown away by a lot of the work in the 'Makers' Gallery' on this site. The smart ones may know the answer does not exist.
  8. John_London

    Julian Cossmann Cooke's bench

    My impression too: she is smiling
  9. John_London

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    It is a bit like trying to get investment advice from a newspaper. No one has an interest in publishing their real views. If one of my close friends owned a Strad, or was loaned a Strad by a rich benefactor, you can bet your bottom dollar I would talk them up. I don't think modern instruments are under-valued, just under-priced. I was chatting to a professional violinist a few days ago who owns a valuable antique instrument, and who, after I raised the topic, told me 'the bow is at least as important, maybe more so'. This view did not surprise me. Why do you think you do not read ravings from concert soloists about the greatness of their bow?
  10. John_London

    Rupprecht violin Vienna 1860

    Perhaps there is a feeling that if someone is going to move their shop to Vienna in order to trade on the 'Blue Danube' and Viennese brand to offer misattributed violins to tourists and collectors, that person should be an echter Wiener, someone with a bit of Viennese style. Or at least, a German
  11. John_London

    Ergonomic Viola Idea

    Why not just make a bigger instrument to be played between the legs? You have to ask yourself, why the viola in its current forms got established for orchestras and chamber music, and a relatively small solo repetoire, because it seems that there must be something about the current format which musicians like more than they would like a more logical design. What is that? I don't have an answer. The idea of a bigger instrument with viola tuning, possibly to be played between the legs, was developped by the Catgut Society, and a search finds a website indicating that Carleen Hutchins' work still generates some interest. Why has it not commended itself to enough musicians to break through the forces of conservatism?
  12. John_London

    Rupprecht violin Vienna 1860

    This violin seems a different model than the violin offered as by Rupprecht, labelled Mathaias Thir, at Others here will be able to comment on the likely basis and reliability of that attribution.
  13. John_London

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    My guess, unless Quadibloc comes back with a source, is that this based on the fact that it is the instrument Menuhin kept until his death, though he sold the Soil Strad; that it is an instrument Mr. Fulton paid a record price for; and in the Youtube videos where he appears, if I remember correctly it is the instrument Mr. Fulton normally plays himself when he plays chamber music, and is apparently his favourite among his collection of celebrated instruments. @Quadibloc I think repeating the claim that this famous violin is 'better' still reflects an assumption you have that violins can be graded into better or less good, which to other contributors here will seem an over-simplification: even if there is something special and superior about the famous Cremonese makers, you cannot get away from the role of personal preference. I doubt that either Menuhin or Mr. Fulton would come out with a niaive statement that this violin is better than any Strad, though they might admit to one violin being their favourite.
  14. John_London

    Mittenwald Violin ID

    He was clearly in Tirol, if not from Tirol. "In October 2013, it was reported that 19 modern Tyrolean men were related to Ötzi." (Wikipedia). One of his namesakes makes shockingly kitsch records which the locals play in apres ski bars to the distress of their British customers, who remedy their suffering by buying more beer. So yes, there is a musical gene being passed down there in the DNA.
  15. John_London

    Does anyone NOT build Strad? And if not, why?

    Although grown up and largely lived in and around London, I have been semi-resident in 'Oenopontum' for years, and often walk among the spruce in the Gnadenwald above Absam. Hence the interest. I'd do a bit of translation. On the other hand, it is all too easy ot make plans, and all too difficult to carry them through.