Herman West

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About Herman West

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  1. My daughter is twelve years old, and based on my experience with her and her class mates, I can assure you you are dead wrong, and maybe wishfully thinking. Also, I hope you are safely kept away from preteens...
  2. just go to a brick and mortar shop rather than eBay.
  3. Martin just explained how "getting lucky" doesn't happen anymore, with hundreds of dealers looking in via internet.
  4. first thing is to remove those scratchy finetuners.
  5. Herman West

    Violin ID

    I'm a little puzzled by the "dusty" upper reaches. I would expect the dust to collect in the lower valleys, and not on the shining e-string mountain top.
  6. "Everybody says that this is the greatest viola in existence – and now I agree with them! It still surprises me every time. I always feel that there are two of us on stage. It’s a symbiotic relationship, like that of a great couple – and it reminds me of my wife!" From the interview in Strad magazine. Of course it's a great privilige to play on of the few existing Strad violas, but really...? It reminds him of his wife? What does this even mean? Tamestit's foremost mentor, Tabea Zimmermann, still plays on a modern instrument (Vatelot) she won at a competition at the start of her career. Sure, the Tamestit viola is among the rarest in existence (though Amihai Grosz' Caspar di Salo does come to mind, and there are several reconstructed Amati violas in circulation), but 'rare' does not necessarily equal 'greatest', and Tamestit should give himself some credit for the sounds he's making. Also I can't help but think we are currently living in a Golden Age of viola making, which means one doesn't have to keep pining for a 25 million instrument.
  7. Those labels don't mean anything. Millions of 19th violins, turned out by team workers in Southern Germany etc used that label, basically indicating it was a violin - not even on a Strad model, really. My daughter used to play on a fun 3/4 with a Strad label. Strad violins were always the top of the heap, expensive from day one. AS sold to royals and aristos, and pretty much every instrument has a well documented pedigree from 1700 unwards. No aspersion on your grandfather, I love the picture of him fiddling with his guitar friend, but the chances that an immigrant coming thru Ellis Island was the owner of one of those instruments is virtually nil.
  8. Technically this doesn't make sense. All bottles of the same vintage should be identical, given good storage. The thing however is, storing wines for fifty years isn't really necessary anymore. Winemaking has evolved to a point where there are hundreds of excellent wines that can be drunk within five years from harvest.
  9. the "made in Italy" adds something like 4 or 5K to the price of a violin. So if you buy a 5K violin that's alledgedly made in Italy there is a substantial risk you're not buying an exquisitie piece of workmanship (which I believe is what many people think is the free translation of "made in Italy") but rather a Chinese factory made instrument that may or may not have spent some time in Italy.
  10. Right. The other thing is, I seem to recall that after a couple of minutes of playing the replacement violin in a virtually inaudible manner, the instrument gets louder, probably because Menuhin had moved closer to the microphone. Frankly I can't lose any sleep over this.
  11. Very likely the story is not true, and indeed, as mentioned above, these auctions are about inventories seized, or deceased persons with no relatives who called, of which there are a lot in the US.
  12. It really isn't that hard to figure out why they were taken aback at your question. A "native" Canadian is from before Europeans came to Canada. This is serious stuff in Canada. The question you wanted to ask is whether they were born in Canada, but the "of course" is again kind of backwards.
  13. Calling somebody a Nazi online is just bound to be inflammatory and it will derail any discussion. It's perfectly clear where BF, Saunders and Swan were coming from, i.e. deep and serious luthier knowledge, and to call one of them a Nazi, "just to get his attention" is frivolous. And certianly not what Kirsten would want, even when you're trying to act like her BFF.
  14. I'm a little surprised by entire string quartets playing on bows by identical makers. I guess there's some kind of quid pro quo there, but I'd feel uncomfortable about that. The Alexander String Quartet playing CF bows, all four of them? (Maybe they're just saying they play these bows.) With soloists F.X. Tourte is the clear winner, it seems.
  15. On the other hand, BF, Fannin is clearly quite happy with this instrument, and the accompanying bow. So maybe there is no need to make him or her unhappy after the deal. The only thing that concerns me a little is the repair under the button. But even this is mostly an issue should Fannin want to resell.