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Famous lesser Strats?


polkat
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Strat, like most luthers of his time I suspect, made some...ahh, less then desirable sounding instruments, or lower of quality. Have any of these also become well known, and has there been any research as to why they sound inferior compaired to his better known violins?

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Strat, like most luthers of his time I suspect, made some...ahh, less then desirable sounding instruments, or lower of quality. Have any of these also become well known, and has there been any research as to why they sound inferior compaired to his better known violins?

Stradivari's early insruments, although acoustically of high quality and often with a beautiful sound, are generally classified as less powerful and therefore less suitable for todays soloist playing (for example) the Sibelius concerto in front of a large orchestra. This doesn't mean they necessarily sound bad or are inferior.

They are generally built more along the lines of Niccolò Amati and often have higher arching and deeper concave fluting in the edgework and arching which, although producing good tone, lack some of the power of his later instruments.

Demand by musicians, collectors and soloists for his later instruments has caused the prices of these to rise in disproportion to the earlier instruments.

Bruce

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I have been told that the Clisbee of "1669" is one of those Strads.

It eventually ended up in cremona's palazzo communale.

Matthias

I've heard the instrument on various occasions and I think there are a number of musicians out there who wouldn't protest to having the instrument for their music making.

Unfortunately today everyone is interested only in NUMBER 1 . I suppose everything else, the Amatis, the Stainers included, should just be thrown into the dustbin? :)

Bruce

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I wasn't aware that Strad had different quality grades.

But - given the nature of reality, and the aesthetic condition of man-made objects that exist within the confines of the physical universe, doesn't it make a certain amount of sense that not all existing Strads would be EXACTLY EQUAL in all respects?

Specifically with respect to their tonal production, but also with regard to their physical attributes such as wood selection, execution, varnish, state of preservation, and all the rest?

It would be even more odd if such a varied condition wasn't the case, wouldn't it?

I have often wondered about these differences myself.

Of course, I’m playing the devils advocate by virtue of having no firsthand experience with them.

Are we worried about being sacrilegious, or breaking some sort of tacit commercial agreement?

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Some Strads are less popular for other reasons, e.g. the "long pattern" violins. Some of them are (or were) excellent concert instruments, for example the Harrison, Falmouth, and Countess Polignac. Gil Shaham and Leonidas Kavakos play long strads, and Kyung-Wha Chung also did. Some expert (Beare?) said the long pattern violins were Stradivari's best. But they are consistently sold for a lot less than the later ones.

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I don't recall this insinuation anywhere (but here).

CT

I was tossing that up as food for thought. Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù are popular now, Amati and Stainer were popular in another period. What will be the most popular next??????

Given the nature of the physical universe it is impossible for two Stradivari violins to be exactly equal. So? This means to me that a general classification of instruments dating from a certain period of Stradivari's activity also, in any given case, may not be true. Tastes change and with it the fortunes of popularity come and go.

Bruce

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Although both were made in 1716, The Booth is cited as one of Stradivari's most powerful [ever] while The Messiah is of course far more well known yet many say the Messiah's sound isn't up to par with his other Golden Period instruments.

Jim

The 1714 Jackson has an amazing sound.

Joe

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The most beautifull violin sound I have ever heard was produced by pre 1700 Strads played by Leonidas Kavacos and Vadim Gluzman. Beautifull tone and quite powerfull.

Luis, I believe you're referring to the 1690 ex-Auer Stradivari. Fantastic instrument - I played this instrument in 1991 when it was on loan to Eunice Lee. I can't tell you how I wish I had that moment back now!

(The picture is from the Stradivari Society's website.)

post-1095-1276006323_thumb.jpg

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The 1714 Jackson has an amazing sound.

Agreed. Best I have heard in person.

I have heard another (very early) Strad that was also one of the worst-sounding violins I have heard. On sound alone, I wouldn't trade it for any cheap clunker in my stash. Maybe something was wrong with it, or the wood rotted... couldn't tell you why.

And yet another Strad was only OK... had the clarity on the highs, but was a bit rough elsewhere.

I am reminded of a statement by Joseph Curtin, speaking about his own instruments: "They all sound different."

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Although both were made in 1716, The Booth is cited as one of Stradivari's most powerful [ever] while The Messiah is of course far more well known yet many say the Messiah's sound isn't up to par with his other Golden Period instruments.

Jim

"Of course, the sound of theStrad that uniqueMessie turns up again and again in my memory, with its combined sweetness and grandeur, that struck me so much on hearing it. It is indeed justly celebrated, and I hope that I may again put my bow to it someday."

--Joseph Joachim

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"Of course, the sound of theStrad that uniqueMessie turns up again and again in my memory, with its combined sweetness and grandeur, that struck me so much on hearing it. It is indeed justly celebrated, and I hope that I may again put my bow to it someday."

--Joseph Joachim

Thanks Ron,

You beat me to it.

Bruce

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"Of course, the sound of theStrad that uniqueMessie turns up again and again in my memory, with its combined sweetness and grandeur, that struck me so much on hearing it. It is indeed justly celebrated, and I hope that I may again put my bow to it someday."

--Joseph Joachim

At issue is whether lesser known Strads may sound even better. :)

Jim

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At issue is whether lesser known Strads may sound even better. :)

Jim

Hi Jim,

I agree with you on this.

There is no issue if we can accept that all violins sound different and should be judged on an individual basis instead of grouping them into often arbitrary block classifications that came about after the death of Stradivari.

An instrument can be lesser known for various reasons. For example, where was the Viotti Stradivari all these years before it went to the Royal Academy?

The forces that govern the antique violin market are not based only on sound.

Bruce

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There is no issue if we can accept that all violins sound different and should be judged on an individual basis instead of grouping them into often arbitrary block classifications that came about after the death of Stradivari.

Hi Bruce,

Judged on an individual basis - yes indeedy.

All it takes is one little 'tweak' in arching, corpus length, width, etc. and tone color is altered. And Stradivari was all-over-the-map. :) Mainly though, aren't these great instruments currently classified more-so in terms of both their under-ear and projection qualities - perhaps with emphasis on 'projection'?

Jim

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