Allan Speers

Any good Russian Luthiers?

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Recent threads on another forum,  regarding Russian and USSR

schools of bowing, made me think of an oddity:

With so many great players coming from there, and two separate

schools of playing from there, why do you never (?) hear about any

great Russian violins or bows?

I've seen quite a few ugly looking Russian violins on Ebay, (you

know the ones.  Scary. They make a cheap German

laugh out loud.) -but that's about it.  And never

any bows at all.

What's the deal?

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Well, I have one story about a Russian violin.

The bows of Nicholas Kittel are rare and valuable.

(Heifetz played one - does Vengerov have it now?)

The story is of a "tarisio.com" violin I helped a friend acquire

of which she was relived by theft from her Moscow apartment.

To replace it her teacher there intruduced her to a Russian maker.

I have played the instrument, but can't remember the maker's name.

It was a very reasonable price, with an acceptable sound, but a rather

dull varnish and finish.

I see there is a competition for violin-making in Russia.

http://www.tchaikovsky-competition.ru/mast.htm

But you're right, of course, relative to their playing tradition

the maker's gallery is bare, or at least not well known.

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The best violin making school from the ex iron curtain is Hungary, I think. A Hungarian friend told that the Nazis confiscated all good instruments there. What was left was confiscated by the Comunists..

Russia is too far away from Italy and France, the traditional centers of violin making. During the Tzar times they just imported the very best instruments. After the Comunist Revolution the State was not able to foster violin making.

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Good point, Manfio.  I forgot that the USSR was State-run for

most of the 20th century.

-But what about in the last 20 years or so?  Free enterprise

is flourishing, the exchange rate is still very favorable,

 there's large influx of outside money,  etc etc.

 Surely there must be something going on these days?

-Didn't know Kittel was Russian.  That's one, at least.

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The supposedly best maker ive heard of is Anatof Ivanovitch Leman,worked in St pertersburg.

A pupil of his was Timofei Filippovitch Podgorny.

Rigus Rubart is another ,but not really good maker.(if he really was a person at all, more likely a German factory).

Vladimir Vassilevitch Ivanoff another supposed good maker, had Didelot and EA Salzard working for him.Salzard succeded Ivanov and was incidently taken over by Frantisek Spidlen in Moscow.

A maker called Rabinovitch, no details apart from he was working in Melbourne ,Australia in 1912.

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Vidgovich (or something like that) in his book "THE ACOUSTIC SYSTEM..." (or something like that) gives some information about Leman and other Russian makers.

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O dont know who trained Leman in the 19th century but get the impression the later workers were bringing in French and particularly German makers,possibly to show them what to do.

Other makers who worked in St Petersburg were:Leonid Dobrianski, Ernst Geisser, Nicolas Geisser,Lustkandl,

Max Mockel,Ludwig Otto,Moritz Paulus, Alexander Augustovitch Schwalm, Franz Zavier Steininger,Jacob Steininger and Martin Steininger.

The Steininger seem to be around from 1800 onwards.So i expect they had an influence on most makers.

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And it's good remembering that many good violins, with features of the Italian schools, made in Hungary, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt and other places have been "promoted" to Italian violins... Many of them are bearing "good" labels now, I think.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Allan Speers

-But what about in the last 20 years or so?  Free enterprise

is flourishing, the exchange rate is still very favorable,

 there's large influx of outside money,  etc etc.

 Surely there must be something going on these days?

I may be about to display my ignorance, but from what I've heard and read, you really couldn't use the word "flourishing" to describe the state of free enterprise in Russia these days, especially under Putin. He seems to be an old-school hard-liner, intent on bringing Russia back into the 19th century. Add in the damage done by the Oligarchs, the rampant crime, corruption and alcoholism (and other diseases), and I think it's not a place given much to the arts...

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Yes, violin making depends on tradition, good makers, good pupils and, more recently, good schools. There is nothing like that there today, I think.

I remember that a book with photos of Stradivari instruments in Russia was published in Italy more than a decade ago. The condition of the instruments pictured in the book was quite, quite poor.

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 If I listed off Americas

negative quality's, it would seem like an inhospitable place for

violin making, I think you assume there is no serious violin making

in Russia because you haven't heard of it, I can't speak personally

of Russian violins but I recently bought a Swedish violin for

330USD on ebay, no one thought Swedish was worth bidding on, and it

turns out to be a known Swedish maker in the Scandinavian books

worth about $10,000USD, American's think the world centres on

america and the further away it is from America the less important.

I draw your attention to the "fine" tradition of American violin

making, which in todays market seem to be worth about $400 on ebay,

and youre telling me there is no noticeable violin making in

Russia, well I'm telling you in America there is no significant,

noticeable quality tradition of violin making unless of course we

consider the last twenty years in which of course there has been a

huge output of top quality violins from America, one could even

call America the new Cremona as new American violins have beat

Stradivaris in double blind listening test of albeit American

judges., sincerely Lyndon J Taylor

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Taylor's Fine Violins

I think you assume there is no serious violin making

in Russia because you haven't heard of it,

???

Lydon, I never assumed anything.  I said that surely there

MUST be some good Russian luthiers, and so why haven't we in the

West heard about most of them.  I think it's a fair

question.

I have seen quite a few Russian violins on Ebay, but they are

always cheaper than cheap, possibly made from discarded potato

skins from the vodka factory  (that's a joke, BTW)

you would think that in a country so large, with so

many fine musicians, there's be SOMETHING good going on somewhere.

In fact, as I found out on another forum, there are a few good

Russian makers, though most evidently emigrated to other countries.

 Perhaps it's hard to get good raw materials there.

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Its certainly not a material thing, some of the spruce from ex communist countries is fantastic,they have plenty of spruce in Russia, also maple from the Carpathians in Romania,etc..

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quote:


Originally posted by:
fiddlecollector
Its

certainly not a material thing, some of the spruce from ex

communist countries is fantastic,they have plenty of spruce in

Russia, also maple from the Carpathians in Romania,etc..

We've got a bunch of Russian tonewood in our warehouse that

probably won't ever get used.  No doubt there is plenty of

good Tonewood available in Russia and the former Soviet countries,

but even with good contacts in Russia, getting good wood out of

Russia can be problematic.

I work with several Russian luthiers some of them products of the

State system, some medal winners.  They are good luthiers and

great to work with.  Seems to me that the state system

training was good, but didn't exactly foster a  great deal of

individual initiative.

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I can now add one Russian luthier to the list myself:I have here

for trail a wonderful violin by Jury Ivanov, made in 1990. They

label reads "Jury Ivanov, Leningrad 1990" so I assume he lives and

works there.

This violin has great definition, solid bottom end, and It has the

most timbral range of any violin I have yet played. It is just

wonderful to play, though I'm not wowed by the e string. (a tad

thin & piercing for my taste) It hung in my luthier's

$5,000-$10,000 rack, priced at $10,000. I blows away the other five

or so he has for sale. I practically can't stop playing it, even

though the overall tone isn't quite to my taste.

The finish, however, is kind of underwhelming. It's that "Chinese /

German" orange which I despise. The finish is completely worn-off

in spots, literally down to white-ish wood, and much of the

remaining finish is slightly crazing. I think it must be spirit

varnish. Ughh.

Still, this maker deserves attention.  It's curious that

despite the excellent quality of this particular fiddle, (it's

really REALLY good) there's no mention of Ivanov on

either forum.  I'd love to know more about him.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
Allan Speers

Still, this maker deserves attention. It's curious that

despite the excellent quality of this particular fiddle, (it's

really REALLY good) there's no mention of Ivanov on

either forum. I'd love to know more about him.

There are probably lots of really decent makers who we don't hear about. If they don't get out much or aren't really prolific, it's hard to know about them.

Ever hear of Karl Dennis? Really nice work. I wouldn't know about it if I hadn't run into him a few times.

Interview with Karl

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Rare And important Luthier Ruso, 1900

Luka Marjanenko

(c. 1870 - 1870)

By: John Dilworth
MARJANENKO, Luka Born 1870 Kerch, Worked from 1906 Kiev Ukraine Prolific maker on Brescian, Stradivari, and personal models with thin red or yellow spirit varnish. Good workmanship.

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On ‎5‎/‎13‎/‎2007 at 1:12 PM, Lyndon Taylor said:

 

I draw your attention to the "fine" tradition of American violin

making, which in todays market seem to be worth about $400 on eBay

If Maestronet were democratic, I would vote to invite Lyndon to rejoin the Forum.

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27 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

If Maestronet were democratic,

Be careful of what you wish for.......

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

If Maestronet were democratic, I would vote to invite Lyndon to rejoin the Forum.

Things don't seem to have suffered much since he left, unless one is a conflict addict.

Two of his most recent posts on another forum:

" you dont stop with that geared crap, do you??"

" geared pegs are crap that devalue the violin, end of story"

Would we derive greater benefit from having more of that here?

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On 5/11/2007 at 8:56 AM, Tim McTigue said:

 

 

quote:

 


Originally posted by:
Allan Speers

 

-But what about in the last 20 years or so?  Free enterprise

 

is flourishing, the exchange rate is still very favorable,

 

 there's large influx of outside money,  etc etc.

 

 Surely there must be something going on these days?

 

I may be about to display my ignorance, but from what I've heard and read, you really couldn't use the word "flourishing" to describe the state of free enterprise in Russia these days, especially under Putin. He seems to be an old-school hard-liner, intent on bringing Russia back into the 19th century. Add in the damage done by the Oligarchs, the rampant crime, corruption and alcoholism (and other diseases), and I think it's not a place given much to the arts...

You are correct. Russia under Putin is not a happy place.

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

 

" you dont stop with that geared crap, do you??"

" geared pegs are crap that devalue the violin, end of story"

 

entirely agree with him

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