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Powerful Violin from Russia with Vuillaume tag


Fannin
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I am a violin teacher and symphony player in Atlanta and recently purchased an inexpensive violin from another symphony player from Russia. She played on this violin for ten years and sold it cheaply because no one seems to know who  made the violin. The tag reads Vuillaume and It has a very powerful tone. Any ideas who really made it? Local luthier is stumped.  I can supply additional photos. Appreciate any help!

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Edited by Fannin
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2 minutes ago, Herman West said:

the case didn't necessarily come with the violin. same for the bow.

Yes, very important never to make assumptions like that.

Speculations about why someone is selling, similarly distracting.

Worst of all making judgments based on the supposed knowledge of a seller ...

I would love to see better photos but for now we can say that Vuillaume instruments have some very specific features that are missing here. 

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Hello and thank you so much for responding. The back story is the symphony player from Russia bought an upgrade and sold this violin to a student. The student sold it to me because she doesn’t play anymore. I heard about this violin from a fellow teacher who knows the Russian lady, the student, and has played on the violin. I am in a semi pro symphony, was looking for a more powerful violin for auditions for a pro symphony, and do not have a lot of money. The BAM case did not come with it. The violin was originally $10,000 and I was able to get it for 7 including the bow. The bow is a Hermann Luger bow with a black horn frog. I actually love both. The violin has a broad ringing tone, lots of power and and the bow is great for off the string work. I guess it doesn’t matter who made the violin but I’ve been dying to find out. The local luthier said it was definitely not a Vuillaume but he didn’t know who made it ( he also tried to sell me one of his violins). He also said the bottom (The semi circle at the base of the neck and back had been broken at some point, incorrectly repaired, and would need to be re-done).I can definitely post more photos and so appreciate your feedback. I stumbled on this site trying to research info on Vuillaume violins and joined to post this. Many thanks. 

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50 minutes ago, Fannin said:

I guess it doesn’t matter who made the violin but I’ve been dying to find out.

As an old skeptical and cantankerous violin guy I think it matters a lot to know "who made it" before buying an instrument for a 7 K sum. Especially if some features like the form of the corners and C bouts are implying that it could be a not well cared Saxon trade violin. But maybe I'm too pessimistic, so let's wait for some more significant pictures.

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Hello and thank you so much for responding. The back story is the symphony player from Russia bought an upgrade and sold this violin to a student. The student sold it to me because she doesn’t play anymore. I heard about this violin from a fellow teacher who knows the Russian lady, the student, and has played on the violin. I am in a semi pro symphony, was looking for a more powerful violin for auditions for a pro symphony, and do not have a lot of money. The BAM case did not come with it. The violin was originally $10,000 and I was able to get it for 7 including the bow. The bow is a Hermann Luger bow with a black horn frog. I actually love both. The violin has a broad ringing tone, lots of power and and the bow is great for off the string work. I guess it doesn’t matter who made the violin but I’ve been dying to find out. The local luthier said it was definitely not a Vuillaume but he didn’t know who made it ( he also tried to sell me one of his violins). He also said the bottom (The semi circle at the base of the neck and back had been broken at some point, incorrectly repaired, and would need to be re-done).I can definitely post more photos and so appreciate your feedback. I stumbled on this site trying to research info on Vuillaume violins and joined to post this. Many thanks. 

 

*Update—thank you for your responses. “Blank Face”, I don’t consider you to be cantankerous and skeptical at all, just pragmatic. I guess I fell in love with the tone so it doesn’t matter the origin. I did not mean to sound uncaring nor cocky about the sum of money. 7,000 is more than I could afford and will pay on it for a while.I fully expect this violin not to be expensive, nor a great violin (my one nod to trying to be pragmatic). It is however a huge upgrade to what I have played on all my life since I was 13. At age 53, too late in life really, I decided to break away from my gift of teaching young kids and see if there was more in me, like pro symphony playing. A pipe dream, yes, as this violin probably is. However, I will never play on a 50-100,000 dollar violin like my peers and as I said, the powerful tone drew me. The local luthier said 7,000 was a fair price.  So, enclosed are the requested pictures. Again, so appreciate everyone’s input. 

 

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*Note, there are two intriguing marks. One on back that I have enclosed, towards bottom, 1/2 circle at base of neck. Almost looks like a stamp or signature. This is the best shot I could get. The other is a dark sideways M in center of back (probably just mark in wood but I thought i’d Tell you about both.)

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On the other hand, BF, Fannin is clearly quite happy with this instrument, and the accompanying bow. So maybe there is no need to make him or her unhappy after the deal.

The only thing that concerns me a little is the repair under the button. But even this is mostly an issue should Fannin want to resell.

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Chuckles...FYI, Fannin is a she and I won’t be unhappy with finding out more about the violin. It won’t change my mind about the tone—i’ve bonded with the  instrument. However, I am curious about the origin. And thank you for he suggestion about Ronald Sach. Will keep it in mind.

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I think it’s a very attractive instrument, I have no idea what it is, but the violin bow and case for 7K , Especially if you are the end-user, is money well spent. Auction houses frequently come through town offering to evaluate instruments for free, and if you are close to Atlanta, they will almost certainly be in your neck of the woods once or twice a year. Sotheby’s, Tarisio, Brompton’s At least, maybe more. They can give you an expert opinion on your instrument. Their goal is for you to sell it in their auction, but even if you tell them you’re not interested, they’ll still give you an expert opinion. They will tell you all about the bow as well. You can even contact them and ask them when they will next be in the Atlanta area.

 The new photographs intrigue me quite a bit. Your violin shop owner guy should have an endoscope and should be able to look inside and see if there’s anything interesting in there. 

Do you mind sharing some detailed photographs of the bow?

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Is it a principal violinists' decision or the conductors decision to allow this type of instrument for professional work? 

Any time games can be played, they will be.

Ormandy was determined that no string player in the Philadelphia Orchestra would use anything but a fine, vintage instrument.

I forget the name of the maker there who made many of the violas in the orchestra, suitably antiqued and without labels. Ormandy never knew.

 

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15 minutes ago, A432 said:

 

 

Any time games can be played, they will be.

Ormandy was determined that no string player in the Philadelphia Orchestra would use anything but a fine, vintage instrument.

I forget the name of the maker there who made many of the violas in the orchestra, suitably antiqued and without labels. Ormandy never knew.

 

The idea that the conductor determines which instruments are allowed is ridiculous. It might have been true in the case of Ormandy, but it certainly isn’t today. Players are expected to have good instruments and that’s that. HOW good is up to the player.

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BTW, “Hermann Luger” Is apparently a Chinese shop

 

 Unlike many Chinese bow shops that have only been in businesses for 5-10 years, the Luger shop has been making bows for more than 20 years.  Their focus is on top quality materials fashioned by hand to be both beautiful and effective.  They make exquisite copies of fine European bows.”

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Quote

The idea that the conductor determines which instruments are allowed is ridiculous. It might have been true in the case of Ormandy, but it certainly isn’t today.

Another time, Szell got a bug up his butt about his CM & ACM made good money but weren't playing Strads, so Gingold & Majeske were obliged to go shopping.

Not sure about "today," but it's difficult  to believe that any opportunity for one person or committee to browbeat & bully a new member on probation would be surrendered without a fight. And if there's any substance to some of the harassment suits that seem to plague orchestras "today," very difficult.

Quote

Players are expected to have good instruments and that’s that. HOW good is up to the player.

When I worked in a shop, one customer, in the National Symphony, didn't even own a violin. The orchestra had loaned him one long ago & forgotten about it. He had a nice Vigneuron bow, but that was all he had.

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Thanks for the new photos, much more revealing. In my eyes they confirm that this is a sort of better instrument from the Markneukirchen trade, ca. 1910-20ies. Certain features like the slight antiquing , shape of scroll and the rib corners pointing to the usual construction there (building on the back) give strong evidence for this origin, also the shading of the varnish. The varnish at the belly seems somehow overworked, and the crack at the upper bass bout would need some attention, too. I can't make out the marks you're referring to, but probably won't give any further clue.These instruments were made in many small workshops in this area, not by a single maker but in division of labour.

I'm not informed about "fair prices" in your area for this sort of instrument, but from where I'm sitting it appears somehow overpriced, especially considering the condition.

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53 minutes ago, A432 said:

Another time, Szell got a bug up his butt about his CM & ACM made good money but weren't playing Strads, so Gingold & Majeske were obliged to go shopping.

Not sure about "today," but it's difficult  to believe that any opportunity for one person or committee to browbeat & bully a new member on probation would be surrendered without a fight. And if there's any substance to some of the harassment suits that seem to plague orchestras "today," very difficult.

When I worked in a shop, one customer, in the National Symphony, didn't even own a violin. The orchestra had loaned him one long ago & forgotten about it. He had a nice Vigneuron bow, but that was all he had.

I remember that Szell story. When Anshel Brusilow was CM in Cleveland, he had a Del Jesu, so that wasn’t an issue.

The Dallas principal cellist was playing on a Techler from Bein & Fushi, either on loan, or bought by a patron and on loan to the cellist. He was so nonchalant about it that when I noticed a bow in the case he had not noticed it before.

”what is it?” I asked.

He took it out, looked at it and then at me and said,” it is a Eury. Hmmm.” We didn’t recognize the name. “Can I play it?” “Sure.” And he handed it over. MY GOD THATS THE GREATEST BOW I EVER HELD IN MY HAND. It was amazing merely holding it in the hand. I played the Dvorak ricochet so effortlessly I could have had a cup of coffee while the bow did all the work. I played a bit more and handed back the bow with regret. “Why is that in there?” “I guess Bein & Fushi is hoping to sell the bow with the cello.”

At home i checked the B&F website and that bow had an entire page devoted to it. Amazing. Just amazing.

Anyway, the point of the story is that Van Zweden got mad-quite unreasonably-at the principal and in a fit of pique took back the Techler(and Eury) and he went back to playing his Collin-Mezin/Lamy and no one batted an eyelash.

Edited by PhilipKT
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