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Herman West

Tamestit's Strad Viola

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"Everybody says that this is the greatest viola in existence – and now I agree with them! It still surprises me every time. I always feel that there are two of us on stage. It’s a symbiotic relationship, like that of a great couple – and it reminds me of my wife!" From the interview in Strad magazine.

Of course it's a great privilige to play on of the few existing Strad violas, but really...? It reminds him of his wife? What does this even mean?

Tamestit's foremost mentor, Tabea Zimmermann, still plays on a modern instrument (Vatelot) she won at a competition at the start of her career.

Sure, the Tamestit viola is among the rarest in existence (though Amihai Grosz' Caspar di Salo does come to mind, and there are several reconstructed Amati violas in circulation), but 'rare' does not necessarily equal 'greatest', and Tamestit should give himself some credit for the sounds he's making.

Also I can't help but think we are currently living in a Golden Age of viola making, which means one doesn't have to keep pining for a 25 million instrument.

 

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I had Tamestit's "Mahler" Strad viola in my hands sometimes when I met him for test driving my violas, the Mahler is a fantastic instrument, the state of preservation is really good. The first time I took it in my hands I instantly remembered of the Hill's remark about the head being too big when compared to the body of the viola.

Tamestit is French, a Latin country, so he is an emotional guy, comparing instruments with beloved ones is not all that rare. Even an article about that was published in a Lutherie Italian magazine many decades ago, mentioning that we like to remember the virtues  or our wives (and instruments) but hide their faults. 

The Mahler is on loan to Tamestit and, yes, he produces a beautifull sound on it and, yes again, a good part of the sound is up to the player.

Yes, Tabea Zimmermann plays the Vatelot, but a friend violist always remembers that that's the only Vatelot viola he knows in the hands of a top player.

And I agree with you that we are living in a Golden Age of viola making.

 

 

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Everybody says that this is the greatest viola in existence

Not everybody. Strad violas are nice, but when you try to go into them for more than about mezzo forte volume they choke.

The Andrea Guarneri shop violas, such as the one Primrose played, are generally accounted the best of all.

FWIW

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15 hours ago, A432 said:

 

 

Not everybody. Strad violas are nice, but when you try to go into them for more than about mezzo forte volume they choke.

The Andrea Guarneri shop violas, such as the one Primrose played, are generally accounted the best of all.

FWIW

The Andrea Guarneris are wonderful, but I think Linarol and Peregrino/Pellegrino take the top slot ...

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From what I see, most makers specialized in violas will offer Andrea Guarneri, Amati and (or) Brescian models, or personal ones inspired in these makers. The Strad model is still popular among contemporary Italian makers, because it is an elegant model. I do prefer sacrifice some of the visual aspect to favor tone, power and dynamic range. I see a strong influence of the Tertis model in many North American makers too.

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4 minutes ago, Rue said:

My favourite  (so far): Guadagnini 1785.

Very nice for a small model indeed!

 

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