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Sam Zyg Vengerov Kreutzer Strad copy

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That violin was on display at the last VSA meeting.

 

Hmm, I'm interested in knowing if it was played by the membership, and, if it was, what was the general consensus?

 

Thanks, Rodrick.

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Yes, it was available for playing; I played it.  Very nice, one of the ones I liked the best.  

 

I'm not sure what the deal was on it, but I understood it was available for purchase.  Whether it was a trade-in, return, or what, I don't know.  Maybe Vengerov has another Zyg?  Or two?

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I played 'with' it, drew the bow, and listened to a bunch of others play it.. my impressions  ...forward , responsive , alive , I was struck by how the sound changed as I casualty walked around the various players , defiantly a forward projection , I hesitate to ascribe tonal qualities as the room was generally a buzz of activity. His workmanship is  not what I would call head and shoulders above other makers there ...plenty of great works .,   but it defiantly, had a sense of refined completeness, and authenticity that  I found inspiring .

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Agree, it sounded and played fine, and it was beautifully made.  However in a room full of other hors concours makers' instruments, it didn't necessarily sound any better or worse than other fiddles.  There were other instruments there I preferred, but that is completely subjective.

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Donate a new violin to a top soloist....let it 'mature' for a couple years....bingo !

It's now worth more and sounds superb......... (or not). 

Proof of the pudding's in the eating. 

 

Nothing beats endorsement from a top soloist. :D

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Imagine yourself as a buyer, it's an easy hole to fall into....
Seen that video of Zukerman having a lesson with Milstein playing a Hiroshi Iizuka fiddle ? 
The fiddle sounded great, with zero antiquing. 





 

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Imagine yourself as a buyer, it's an easy hole to fall into....

Seen that video of Zukerman having a lesson with Milstein playing a Hiroshi Iizuka fiddle ? 

The fiddle sounded great, with zero antiquing. 

 

 

So very true, and I believe what you're saying is top notch and should be taken more seriously.

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Antiquing is a process intended to deceive, isn't it?

Others might say that it softens the look and makes the instrument look less sterile.  Antiquing doesn't fool many people. I think it's just an aesthetic choice.

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Antiquing is a form of art which can be judged in itself.  The initiated can sit around and admire or find fault with the job someone does.  It's strange that, with violins,  looking appropriately old to the age the violin is supposed to be isn't usually the criterion.

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Antiquing is a process intended to deceive, isn't it?

 

It can be and was used in the past to deceive on some accounts but as stated above it is now commonly employed as a means of introducing shading to soften the look of new instruments, it also gives instruments a complexity normally not seen on straight varnished instruments and some people like that.

 

Antiquing is a form of art which can be judged in itself.  The initiated can sit around and admire or find fault with the job someone does.  It's strange that, with violins,  looking appropriately old to the age the violin is supposed to be isn't usually the criterion.

 

I agree :) Only thing I can add on to this is that in orchestral settings and generally in groups, straight varnished instruments often times stick out like sore thumbs and may make (unfortunately) the player feel out of place. As ridiculous as this may seem, it is a reality.

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I agree :) Only thing I can add on to this is that in orchestral settings and generally in groups, straight varnished instruments often times stick out like sore thumbs and may make (unfortunately) the player feel out of place. As ridiculous as this may seem, it is a reality.

Yes.  There is a classic story—I no longer remember if I got it first hand, so I don't know if it's true—that a violinist in an orchestra bought a new violin that was not shaded or antiqued.  When he brought it to rehearsal the conductor saw it and got very agitated.  He  told the violinist, "I will not have new instruments in my orchestra.  (Humorous that this ban probably didn't apply to trumpets or flutes!   :) )

 

So the player took the violin back to the maker, and the maker suggested he could try "aging it a little."  Sure enough, after that the conductor never said another word.    

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A clarinet player in a university music program once told me that his teachers told him that they would buy a new clarinet and play it for just 3-4 years, sell it and buy another new clarinet. Sure is a different world from the one string players are in. Of course a top of the line clarinet is only about $6-7,000? Somebody correct me if I'm wrong about that.

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I think a top line Bb clarinet is around $10,000+.

And they generally have another one too - A I think.

There are many clarinets.

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Are you talking USD, or CAD? I checked, and the highest street price for a Bb Buffett (The "Divine" model) was just over $7,000 USD. And there are several other pro grade Buffet's for considerably less than that. Also, every instrument this particular retailer offered was also offered with a "cosmetic defect" for more than $1000 off.

Did you hear about the conductor who, seeing a musician's new clarinet with a cosmetic defect, exclaimed "I will have no cosmetic defects in my orchestra."

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Antiquing exists because old instruments are better ... :)

 

There can be no other rationale - without that belief (true or false) the practice would be seen as absurd.

So we give a violin one of the qualities of age, but not necessarily any of the ones that might actually make old violins better.

 

I think that on some level it's always intended to deceive.

It might deceive a conductor into believing that there are no new violins in their orchestra.

It might deceive an audience into thinking that the soloist is playing his/her Strad.

It might deceive a buyer into feeling that their new violin is more established, or already "mature".

But it's not intrinsically dishonest - it's like make-up or flatteringly cut clothes. If it didn't present something other than unembellished reality, no-one would bother with it.

 

Just like fashion or body adornment, it can have periods of excess, where people start to tolerate or welcome greater and greater amounts of artifice.

Probably the neatest parallel is plastic surgery - though the intention there is to reverse the passage of time, not accelerate it. No big deal in moderation, monstrous when carried to extremes!

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Martin, i think you've summed it up well. I'd just add that I'm not sure where the frontier between "to deceive" and "to suggest" really falls. I remember showing 'round one of the early Alf & Curtin bench copies over 25 years ago, and every player who saw it thought they were playing a real Strad. To a one, they thought the violin was remarkable, and predictably, when told it was a brand new fiddle, most changed their mind and said dismissively, "not bad for a new fiddle;" Only a couple, already "new violin converts," said, "I want one of those."

For over 20 years, I played a non-antiqued modern fiddle in concerts and in orchestras, and I noticed something interesting, especially when i got to see a film or video of myself playing. The varnish was well done and never looked like a "shiny new fiddle," and in fact, it started wearing gently almost immediately. The contact areas and the edges and corners almost immediately got a graceful used look, and as I played without a shoulder rest back then, I wore the back varnish done to the ground quite quickly at the collar bone and the rest was gradually changing from proximity to my shoulder. I think the conductors I was playing under never looked down and thought they had a new violin on the first stand. When colleagues came in with a "screaming yellow zonker," some of those same conductors would react negatively!

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Yes.  There is a classic story—I no longer remember if I got it first hand, so I don't know if it's true—that a violinist in an orchestra bought a new violin that was not shaded or antiqued.  When he brought it to rehearsal the conductor saw it and got very agitated.  He  told the violinist, "I will not have new instruments in my orchestra.  (Humorous that this ban probably didn't apply to trumpets or flutes!   :) )

 

I've always fantasized about someone using the Messiah Strad with a conductor (or anyone) like that.

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