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joerobson

Inspiration

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Occasionally we each have the good fortune to be close or very close to an instrument that is just overwhelmingly beautiful and we carry the moment in the back of our minds as a source of inspiration.

For me this came at an AFVBM meeting that I spoke to several years ago. Yo-Yo Ma was there with his 1733 Montagnana cello. I had the good fortune to have the instrument in my hands and lap, under good lights, for about 45 minutes...I won't try to describe it but I can play back the experience, frame by frame, in my mind...it just blew me away.

How about you?

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My brother plays in a chamber orchestra and a quartet here in my area and because of him I have been fortunate to hold and listen to a Strad and an Amati.

The Strad was made from two different strads from what the player called his "long violins". It was very highly arched and weathered well.

The Amati was for lack of better words gorgeous!

Out of the two I preferred the sound out of the Amati, it was very strong and even. The Strad seemed almost muted but I think this may be because it was a hybrid if you will made from two different Strads.

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Some years ago I handled a Brothers Amati, 7/8 size violin with certification from Emil Herrmann in N.Y. complete with history of its previous owners. A spectacular instrument. It was an estate violin which I had the opportunity to purchase. Unfortunately I didn't have the resources. I will never forget that violin.

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For me the sound of the Peter Guarneri violin played by James Ehnes in the "Homage" video is entrancing....

I'll second that, but I'll be more general. I have that CD on my MP3 player, and I probably play those tracks way more often than any of the others. For me, the most hauntingly beautiful piece of music there is his rendition of Greensleeves, played on the Amati (I think) viola...

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as part of a youth orchestra, we toured with Maestro Ma and his Montagnana for a month back in the summer of 1997. a bunch of cello kids also got to play it... he also switched to a kid's Suzuki laminate cello when he broke a string rehearsing Don Quixote. interesting comparison... what a blast! the varnish on that Montagnana is from another world, in 3D.

we also played with Kim Young Uck (1992, 1997 Strad, talked a lot, like Ma Yo Yo) Gidon Kremer with his del Gesu (1993? didn't talk much), Lin Cho-Liang (1994- del Gesu? talked a lot ) Anne Akiko Meyers (1995-Strad. not a word...) and saw many other priceless marvels in Asia, Europe and the US, in the hands of artists, teachers and dealers.. i got to see them up close, on stage, in action! what a rush!

Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Bach, Mozart... they sure knew how to write terrific fiddle music! there were many performances when every note was electrifying. music, audience, a hundred musicians and instruments just blended and became a sort of affirmation of life. the magic was incredible!

i really can't tell if i admire the musicians more or the masters that made their instruments or wrote the music, but those summers, the living artists and the art of masters centuries passed were life changing. i'm still buzzing!

now i get to visit with my teacher's Gabrielli viola every lesson i am privileged to have.

can't get any better! :)

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That was also the strangest moment, because I knew (or I thought I knew) this bergonzi so well from studying the Strad poster of the same instrument. It's like getting to know a girl so well on the internet, before you actually meet her in real.

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Occasionally we each have the good fortune to be close or very close to an instrument that is just overwhelmingly beautiful and we carry the moment in the back of our minds as a source of inspiration.

Other than at concerts I don't get to see many mind blowing instruments up close and personal. This one, however, has had a great impact on me:

Photos

Tim

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and saw many other priceless marvels in Asia, Europe and the US, in the hands of artists, teachers and dealers.. i got to see them up close, on stage, in action! what a rush!

Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Bach, Mozart... they sure knew how to write terrific fiddle music! there were many performances when every note was electrifying. music, audience, a hundred musicians and instruments just blended and became a sort of affirmation of life. the magic was incredible!

i really can't tell if i admire the musicians more or the masters that made their instruments or wrote the music, but those summers, the living artists and the art of masters centuries passed were life changing. i'm still buzzing!

now i get to visit with my teacher's Gabrielli viola every lesson i am privileged to have.

can't get any better! :)

It is great to hear about people who have been captivated and inspired by not only the instruments but also the music that they make. I wish this could happen to a greater portion of our society today.

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I've got two stories to reiterate. You've all probably heard them both.

The first is when I got to sit in a small recital room at El Camino College in Southern California and hear Yehudi Menhuin play the violin, with his sister Hephzibah playing the piano.

I have never forgotten the hypnotic dream-like perfection of that particular violin tone. For me, the playing was beyond anything I had seen or heard prior to that time, it seemed to be beyond human, and by then I was a veteran rock concert attendee. It was a true awakening.

Another interesting experience I had was that back when I was first learning to make violins (probably around 1974), a work friend, an older man, brought me an Amati (we thought it was probably a copy - but I wonder) that needed some work.

The violin had been his mothers violin. It was beautifully made and had a voice that was extraordinary. I brought it to the man who was teaching me violin making and a friend of his saw the violin and immediately offered to buy it for what was, at that time, quite a handsome sum.

I told my friend, who, I thought would jump at the chance to cash in, but he said; "They're trying to rip me off!" and he refused to sell the violin.

I did the repairs, gave him back his violin- he was happy with the work, and I was happy that he was happy, but there was something singular about that violin, that was WAY beyond anything I had seen up to that time and probably since. I wonder if I am still trying to capture that particular impression in my making today.

Luckily, I never did find out about that pedigree - and as a result, my impression is that any violin could possibly exhibit such charm.

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It is great to hear about people who have been captivated and inspired by not only the instruments but also the music that they make. I wish this could happen to a greater portion of our society today.

So, so true.

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Occasionally we each have the good fortune to be close or very close to an instrument that is just overwhelmingly beautiful and we carry the moment in the back of our minds as a source of inspiration.

For me this came at an AFVBM meeting that I spoke to several years ago. Yo-Yo Ma was there with his 1733 Montagnana cello. I had the good fortune to have the instrument in my hands and lap, under good lights, for about 45 minutes...I won't try to describe it but I can play back the experience, frame by frame, in my mind...it just blew me away.

How about you?

I wrote concerning this subject in a Strad article a couple years ago... mentioned an Amati 'cello, the King Joseph, etc. To that list, I'd add the Sleeping Beauty Montagnana 'cello, the Soil (in good part because of the sound with it's present owner/operator), the Vieutemps & Lord Wilton Guarneri violins, and a magnificent Tononi violin that Beares had a few years ago... Probably could come up with a few more that took my breath away if I tried... Guess I'm a push-over. :)

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I still vividly remember the first time I heard a violin live at the age of about 8. It had a huge impact. I was just thunderstruck at what an amazing object it was and also fascinated by how it produced so much beautiful sound.

Best violin I've ever heard and played is the Jackson Strad. Played duets with the owner, me playing the Strad and him a Guarneri. Then traded.

Violin most captivated me visually was a Burgess I saw in NY at an exhibit. And of course mesmerized by Cremonese masterpieces on Amatis, Strads etc. My appreciation for the subtleties of Cremonese colors when M Darnton took me for a tour through the collection of B&F one afternoon.

Greatest musician I knew personally was Stephen Kates. (cellist taught at Peabody) His ability to instantaneously evaluate a cello floored me every time.

Most amazing ear. Aram Zarasyian, an apprentice I had some years ago. Absolute perfect pitch and total aural memory. I dropped a metal file one day and about 45 minutes later asked him what the dominant note that file made when it hit the floor. He nailed it.! :)

Oded

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For me, seeing all the great instruments in the National Music Museum in South Dakota was fascinating. I particularly liked the instruments by Nicolo Amati and the Gragnani. I could have spent a few days studying the instruments but my family probably wouldn't have appreciate it. :)

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I truly envy those who have (or have had) access to the great violins, even for a short time. Truth be told, before I made my #1, I hadn't even seen a real violin up close more than a few times. Of particular inspiration to me are the splendid photos posted here by other makers, particularly those in the just-starting-out phase - it shows what's possible!

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I truly envy those who have (or have had) access to the great violins, even for a short time. Truth be told, before I made my #1, I hadn't even seen a real violin up close more than a few times. Of particular inspiration to me are the splendid photos posted here by other makers, particularly those in the just-starting-out phase - it shows what's possible!

So then, Tim, exactly what got you hooked? Are you hooked - you act like someone who has been bitten? Was it just a random project? Someone in the family wanted one?

Is it hard to say, exactly?

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Occasionally we each have the good fortune to be close or very close to an instrument that is just overwhelmingly beautiful and we carry the moment in the back of our minds as a source of inspiration.

For me this came at an AFVBM meeting that I spoke to several years ago. Yo-Yo Ma was there with his 1733 Montagnana cello. I had the good fortune to have the instrument in my hands and lap, under good lights, for about 45 minutes...I won't try to describe it but I can play back the experience, frame by frame, in my mind...it just blew me away.

How about you?

+++++++++++++++++

Not exactly, if I may say so.

It is all in one's head. When you think it is "great" then it is great.

Among good violins (exclude obvious bad violins ) then it is hard to pick out a winner.

It is like in a beauty contest, the girls are all gorgeous, who is the best of all?

(among the finalists) Anyone could be a winner.

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I will never forget the feel of the weight and proportions of Eugene Fodor's del Gesu, I wasn't thinking about varnish at the time so that didn't stick with me. Eugene's brother John who I was back stage with grabbed the dG while Eugene was greeting fans after a concert. John handed me the dG and said" take a close look". While I examined it closely I could see Eugene's eyes, one looking at the admirer and the other firmly planted on me with his prized possession. :)

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