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Anyone willing to review "Stradivari Varnish"?


Mike_Danielson

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350 euros for this book by Brandmair, Greiner and Rhormann. Big money for a book of unknown value. How about a review by someone that has actually read it. I get hints on Maestronet that some people have read it, but there are never any details. What have you learned by reading it?

I have my doubts that this book has anything new or even useful because of the limits of the technique--namely hand-held UV spectrum lighting combined with photography. But I am willing to keep an open mind.

It seems to me that you cannot do stratigraphy by looking through the varnish--it requires a cross-section, and if wear is the method to get this cross-section, that is not the way to do it. But there may be more to the book--I am only able to get into the book in a very limited way by reading the book description on their website. They withhold a lot of information on the website that makes me suspicious about the amount of content in the book.

Mike D

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I have the book.

It is worth the price for the instrument photography alone which is the best I have seen published. Details are photographed in normal and UV light at high magnification to stunning effect.

Whilst the instruments featured are subject to non invasive analysis, analysis by other methods and in cross section is done on samples. Brandmair presents her research in comprehensive detail. There is lots of information in this book to help readers develop their own conclusions. There is a lot of meat there...I'll personally need to re read it a few times to get the best from it. The book is a summary and presentation of ongoing research rather than a how to do manual or a recipe book

(The Messie is one of the featured instruments and interestingly the features of its varnish are entirely coherant with the other Strads featured)

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350 euros for this book by Brandmair, Greiner and Rhormann. Big money for a book of unknown value. How about a review by someone that has actually read it. I get hints on Maestronet that some people have read it, but there are never any details. What have you learned by reading it?

I have my doubts that this book has anything new or even useful because of the limits of the technique--namely hand-held UV spectrum lighting combined with photography. But I am willing to keep an open mind.

It seems to me that you cannot do stratigraphy by looking through the varnish--it requires a cross-section, and if wear is the method to get this cross-section, that is not the way to do it. But there may be more to the book--I am only able to get into the book in a very limited way by reading the book description on their website. They withhold a lot of information on the website that makes me suspicious about the amount of content in the book.

Mike D

Mike,

Clearly this is one of situations where group cooperation would help. People form a group, pool their money and share the book. I put my name forward to join this group. Anyone else? Who is willing to lead the group?

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I have the book.

It is worth the price for the instrument photography alone which is the best I have seen published. Details are photographed in normal and UV light at high magnification to stunning effect.

Whilst the instruments featured are subject to non invasive analysis, analysis by other methods and in cross section is done on samples. Brandmair presents her research in comprehensive detail. There is lots of information in this book to help readers develop their own conclusions. There is a lot of meat there...I'll personally need to re read it a few times to get the best from it. The book is a summary and presentation of ongoing research rather than a how to do manual or a recipe book

(The Messie is one of the featured instruments and interestingly the features of its varnish are entirely coherant with the other Strads featured)

Melving,

Exactly my reaction to the book. Looking forward to more reading time...the first time I had it the photos were so interesting that I forgot to read anything. I have a borrowed copy coming... I'll have my own soon. Then I'll get a chance to read it. Given the effort involved,I think the book is under-priced.

Joe

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Looking at the price, 350 + 30 Euro to ship to the US, surely is pricey.

I feel like I should get a 90% discount for having written a lot about the same subject and making it freely available :lol:

All jokes aside, your overwhelmingly positive comments have convinced me to bite the bullet.

And I found a video link about the book:

http://www.servingaudio.com/eshop/Books/Stradivari-Varnish.html

I am blown away by the wealth of information. That's it. I am getting it right now.

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Looking at the price, 350 + 30 Euro to ship to the US, surely is pricey.

I feel like I should get a 90% discount for having written a lot about the same subject and making it freely available :lol:

All jokes aside, your overwhelmingly positive comments have convinced me to bite the bullet.

And I found a video link about the book:

http://www.servingaudio.com/eshop/Books/Stradivari-Varnish.html

I am blown away by the wealth of information. That's it. I am getting it right now.

30€ shipping to the US? For me, it's coming up as over 100€ shipping to the UK (cheapest option)!

Seems rather a lot....

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Clearly this is one of situations where group cooperation would help. People form a group, pool their money and share the book. I put my name forward to join this group. Anyone else? Who is willing to lead the group?

John,

Since you live near a university, you might suggest to their music library that this is a volume that they MUST have in their collection.

Oded

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Looking at the price, 350 + 30 Euro to ship to the US, surely is pricey.

I feel like I should get a 90% discount for having written a lot about the same subject and making it freely available :lol:

All jokes aside, your overwhelmingly positive comments have convinced me to bite the bullet.

And I found a video link about the book:

http://www.servingaudio.com/eshop/Books/Stradivari-Varnish.html

I am blown away by the wealth of information. That's it. I am getting it right now.

Even though the person in the video does not quite know when to say less the video is a great look into the book.

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I would recommend this book as an important text for anyone interested in serious research into Cremonese varnish. The book is very well written, and contains very carefully performed research. The authors are also very careful about not introducing preconceived ideas into their research, and jumping to conclusions. Where there is questionable findings, they explain various possibilities of the subject in question.

The photo section was photographed by a professional photographer, going to extreme lengths to provide proper color rendition, 1:1 size for the violins, and as undistorted an image as possible. These pictures are probably as close to viewing them in real life as you can come.

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I watched the YouTube examination of the book--the pictures are wonderful, but this reviewer does not give us any detail.

Does each section of the book end with a summary or is that saved for the last chapter?

Can't anyone give us a summary of what the book says about varnish, especially as it relates to the work of Echard, Barlow and Woodhouse, Meyer, von Bohlen etc.

I am amazed that the people that purchased it have not read it.

Mike D

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Very little mention is made of other research, probably to restrict bias and preconceived notions. They do however indicate that other than very small trace amounts, no silicates or minerals were found in the ground or varnish layers contrary to what other researchers have reported.

Why would you conclude that someone who spent that much money on a book would shelve it without reading it?

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During the last fife years, I have seen and worked on many classical Cremonese violins. I am often amazed by their beautyfull varnish and stugg for considerable time looking at them. Nevertheless Brandmair and Greiners book opened my eyes to things I had not seen and not immagined before. The considerations on the poors of the maple for instance, have changed my way of varnishing and I think it will do so for many among us. The makers of the book are to be congratulated for the choice of instruments, it is a collection of the most pristine exemples.

The study of the varnish is very much into depth: as the last step of the analysis, they dissolve one splinter of original varnish and filter the solid parts and take pictures of them in natural and UV light! On the other hand, they do take work that has been done previousely on this matter into account and refer to White, Woodhouse and Barlow and Echard and others in the Notes at the end of Brandmmairs part.

The amount of samples they analyzed is limited, understandably so, and unfortunately we don't have pictures of the instruments that provided the samples. This again for obvious reasons. This is in my opinion, the biggest backdrop about the book.

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  • 9 months later...

350 euros for this book by Brandmair, Greiner and Rhormann. Big money for a book of unknown value. How about a review by someone that has actually read it. I get hints on Maestronet that some people have read it, but there are never any details. What have you learned by reading it?

Link to previous discusion

I have the book and agree with Melvin and Roger (see previous discussion link).

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Photos of fiddles....they sort of wear off after a while. It's a collector's book.

Hearing them played live by good musicians, and handling them, is my preference.

In fact, with £350 you could buy enough old camera to make very decent photos of them yourselves.

Ben... with all do respect... If one looks back at the posts you've made concerning books on this forum, one would have to conclude you've NEVER met a book you thought worth the cost. :)

You know, that's perfectly OK... but some people actually use their books (I have one or another out almost every day) and understand the costs of producing these volumes in low numbers... and are willing to pay for them. For others, they may take up shelf space... but I think even that's OK if the money they spent helps support further publications.

Enjoy your camera collection and wait 'till the paperback version hits the used book stores...

BTW: Traveling around in order to handle them all nd hear them played may end up being a significantly higher investment, but have fun. Sounds like a great adventure.

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