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A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I was rang up by a principal cellist of one of the big English orchestras. He told me that his Cello was a Joseph Paul Christa of Munich, and that he had been trying to find out more about it, and had been asking people in England and Germany, and had been told several times that he should ask me about it. His orchestra would be playing a concert in Vienna at the Musikverein next week, and could he come around on the afternoon before the concert to show it to me. Christa was a Füssener who became a pupil of Alletsee in Munich, and had also worked a while by Posch in Vienna, so of course I said “yes certainly, you will be most welcome”. It actually became slightly spooky when he came, because we had both been members of the Nottinghamshire County Youth Orchestra together back in the 1970's. He had been 2 years older than me (still is) and he was, back then by far and away the best cellist there, sitting at the front, whereas I was, if anything, a discipline problem, sitting at the back desk with my ¾ cello (a Neuner & Hornsteiner). The cello was one of those large sized early 18th C: Füssen school celli that had been reduced in size, which he didn't seem to have noticed after all those years. The label was some dodgy photo-copy, so I unfortunately had to tell him carefully that he should forget Christa. To prove my point, I went into my store room, and fetched a cello by Martin Mathias Fichtl of Vienna from 1746. My Fichtl cello is very large, with a body length of 797mm, widths of 374, 251, and 469mm respectively. It has a belly stop length of 438mm (normal 405). As if to make up for the massive belly stop, the original neck, which has been lengthened at the heel is only 264mm. For many years, I have repaired a number of “reduced” celli, in particular a very fine Grancino, which I have even had to bits twice, every time Herr Professor trips over it. I had always thought that reducing old celli had something of vandalism about it, but David's visit started me thinking. His (reduced) cello has spent many years as principal cello of one of the best English orchestras to general satisfaction, whereas my Fichtl has been standing in the entrance to my store room for years, where I have to move it out the way whenever I have to look for some wood. The cello is stamped “MV St. Pölten” beneath the button. This is because it had belonged, for generations, to the “Musikverein of 1837” in St. Pölten, which is an amateur orchestra and choir to this day. I have always tried to avoid them, as best I could, for fear of being roped into playing the cello at some grotty concert. The cello is in many ways, the proof that communal ownership of instruments is not conducive to their long life. All this time (perhaps even back to 1837) no individual has owned and cherished it, and whenever it was falling to bits, they have had some railway engineer, or equivalent, botch it together to save money. The cello needs a major restoration, but there would be nobody who wanted a 5/4 cello with such a long stop, and short neck, and as such no way of financing the necessary repair work. I wondered of it would not be better to reduce it after all, and plotted an outline (in chinagraph) on the belly. The inside line would be the inside line of the purfling, and the outside one the external outline of the cello I wonder what other Maestronetters would do with a smashed in 5/4 cello and if they think that I should restore and reduce it?