Sign in to follow this  
Julian Cossmann Cooke

Oops! Sound inquiry about two more Stradivaris

Recommended Posts

Just looking for any insight from folks who have heard the instruments.  Of course, I get to form my own opinions.  But that will be based on the recordings, the quality of which of course is not guaranteed.  All very subjective, but I find the impressions of folks with a more refined ear helpful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Much of the sound of any instrument comes from the mind and hands of the player.

Jack Benny played a Stradivarius! I never heard him live, but from what I heard on radio and later TV he could have saved the $25,000 (in those 1940-'60 year dollars, probably 100x more now) and done as well with $100 (today's dollars) - if he found a decent one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a CD called "The Glory of Cremona" with many violins played. And also the CDs on the book "The Miracle Makers" by Bein & Fushi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think anyone has ever adequately described the sound of a violin in words. We only possess crude terms such as "rich, deep, bright, metallic, vibrant, clear, glassy, shrill, brilliant, sparkling, thin, whistling, round, pure, muffled, solemn, austere, dark, muted, open, sweet, veiled" (yes, I googled) that are highly context-dependent and probably mean different things to different people. I think Michael Darnton once posted a list of 10 or 20 sound "dimensions" on which it could be meaningful to rate any given violin under closely defined conditions. That appeals to me in that you could in principle validate the findings by comparing different persons' assessments for consistency. But clearly it didn't catch on.

I wish there could be more celebration of the sonic differences between violins of different models, makers and nationalities. How often do you hear recordings of instruments that sound truly distinctive? My own ambition is to collect as many examples as I can of different-sounding violins, the constraints being that they should be British, cheap and sound at least interesting, preferably pleasant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, matesic said:

I don't think anyone has ever adequately described the sound of a violin in words. We only possess crude terms such as "rich, deep, bright, metallic, vibrant, clear, glassy, shrill, brilliant, sparkling, thin, whistling, round, pure, muffled, solemn, austere, dark, muted, open, sweet, veiled" (yes, I googled) that are highly context-dependent and probably mean different things to different people. I think Michael Darnton once posted a list of 10 or 20 sound "dimensions" on which it could be meaningful to rate any given violin under closely defined conditions. That appeals to me in that you could in principle validate the findings by comparing different persons' assessments for consistency. But clearly it didn't catch on.

I wish there could be more celebration of the sonic differences between violins of different models, makers and nationalities. How often do you hear recordings of instruments that sound truly distinctive? My own ambition is to collect as many examples as I can of different-sounding violins, the constraints being that they should be British, cheap and sound at least interesting, preferably pleasant

I agree that this is all very subjective.  Everyone's instruments made at the Salt Lake school would go through a "tone class" in which we were given a "rating" matrix in relation to which we gave our impressions.  That's the nature of the beast.  Nothing you can take to the bank (though you can compare certain Stradivari's and clearly hear that one is baying at the moon, but then is the baying inherent in the instrument or does it have something to do with set-up, etc.?).  But it is always interesting to hear people's opinions.  That's what I was aiming for with the post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe nobody has heard these instruments in the flesh, but even those who have may find themselves lost for words or even opinions. I recently went on a tour of J&A Beare's in London which culminated in a demonstration of 4 Strads and a GdG, same player, same bow, same snippet of Sibelius. One of the staff ventured a brief description of differences we might hear, and I could just about persuade myself I could detect a slightly richer timbre in the GdG and the long-pattern but that was it. If then they'd been mixed up and another piece played "blind" there's no way I'd have been able to identify them. I'm getting a bit bored with the sound of Strads! :o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, here is my opinion based upon the two recordings I heard:

1690: very pretty sounding, clean, full sounding range but more so in the top registers.

1716: more depth than the 1690, nice lows on the g-string, didn't sound as clean and precise as the 1690.

I personally enjoyed the 1716 over the 1690.  Now, here is the problem with my opinion...two different performers, under two different recording environments, playing two different pieces.  The video I watched on the 1690, the strad was played with a baroque bow.  The 1716 was presumably played with a non-baroque bow based only upon the fact that the performer played paganini's 24th caprice.  There was no viedo, just audio.  

Have you seen the twoset violin video where the guys feature 7 strads from the Nippon Foundation?  Again, its a video but the video mainly features one violinist playing the 7 strads (ranging from late 1600 to the golden era) and the performer plays the same piece, more or less.  The video I refer to gave me the same impressions as my current one above, which is that the older Strads were not as full and projecting as the ones from early 1700.  But hey, what do I know?  I am sure that I will get some nasty/snarky replies to this reply post. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, violinnewb said:

Well, here is my opinion based upon the two recordings I heard:

1690: very pretty sounding, clean, full sounding range but more so in the top registers.

1716: more depth than the 1690, nice lows on the g-string, didn't sound as clean and precise as the 1690.

I personally enjoyed the 1716 over the 1690.  Now, here is the problem with my opinion...two different performers, under two different recording environments, playing two different pieces.  The video I watched on the 1690, the strad was played with a baroque bow.  The 1716 was presumably played with a non-baroque bow based only upon the fact that the performer played paganini's 24th caprice.  There was no viedo, just audio.  

Have you seen the twoset violin video where the guys feature 7 strads from the Nippon Foundation?  Again, its a video but the video mainly features one violinist playing the 7 strads (ranging from late 1600 to the golden era) and the performer plays the same piece, more or less.  The video I refer to gave me the same impressions as my current one above, which is that the older Strads were not as full and projecting as the ones from early 1700.  But hey, what do I know?  I am sure that I will get some nasty/snarky replies to this reply post. :D

Plenty of caveats there are a more than adequate defense against snarkiness should it come your way.  There is also a wonderful two-CD set of James Ehnes playing a slew of instruments from the Fulton collection.  The da Salos are particularly interesting.  https://www.amazon.com/Homage-CD-DVD-James-Ehnes/dp/B001IYC51O/ref=sr_1_14?crid=3FAKRC6FEFLKV&keywords=james+ehnes+cd&qid=1569884038&s=gateway&sprefix=james+ehnes+%2Caps%2C248&sr=8-14

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Julian, would the root of the question be the effect a more scooped and higher arch (1690) compared to a lower flatter arch (1716) given the same outline and graduation pattern?  Well that's the question I'm exploring with the "P"  ms 44 form.  I should be able to come up with some general trends in the next 20 years. :huh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2019 at 3:55 PM, Julian Cossmann Cooke said:

Plenty of caveats there are a more than adequate defense against snarkiness should it come your way.  There is also a wonderful two-CD set of James Ehnes playing a slew of instruments from the Fulton collection.  The da Salos are particularly interesting.  https://www.amazon.com/Homage-CD-DVD-James-Ehnes/dp/B001IYC51O/ref=sr_1_14?crid=3FAKRC6FEFLKV&keywords=james+ehnes+cd&qid=1569884038&s=gateway&sprefix=james+ehnes+%2Caps%2C248&sr=8-14


Thank you! I will check out the recording!  One more disclaimer to add to my reply: generally, I have a bias towards listening to the performer rather than the instrument, so my reply took at least four or five attempts at listening solely for the sound qualities of the instruments posted.  Again, sorry if my opinion has flaws. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MANFIO, I purchased the "Glory of Cremona" LP (new) over 40 years ago while my ears were still young-ish and was able to listen to it on my ("big-box) JBL speaker system with Fischer (tube, push-pull) amplifier (before a house fire took out its tubes and I could never get a good tube match and switched to a solid-state amp that could never match it) and and concluded the Bergonzi was the best and most interesting sounding violin in that collection (as played by Ricci).

What is your opinion?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/30/2019 at 11:18 AM, violinnewb said:

Well, here is my opinion based upon the two recordings I heard:

1690: very pretty sounding, clean, full sounding range but more so in the top registers.

1716: more depth than the 1690, nice lows on the g-string, didn't sound as clean and precise as the 1690.

................But hey, what do I know?  I am sure that I will get some nasty/snarky replies to this reply post. :D

.....and here comes one now!  :P;)

All Strads sound as if the soul of an operatic soprano is trapped within the wood.  In 1690 she's still shrieking to be released.  By 1716, this has given way to melodic moans of despairing surrender.  The only humane thing to do with these necromantically infused violins (along with the "GDG's" which begin appearing after Joe [or possibly Katerina] apparently finagled some of the witched wood from Tony in 1731) is to gather them all, and commit them to the flames.  :ph34r:

[Finishes roasting some marshmallows over the campfire, and offers you one.]  Happy Halloween, everyone!!  :lol::)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Violadamore said:

.....and here comes one now!  :P;)

All Strads sound as if the soul of an operatic soprano is trapped within the wood.  In 1690 she's still shrieking to be released.  By 1716, this has given way to melodic moans of despairing surrender.  The only humane thing to do with these necromantically infused violins (along with the "GDG's" which begin appearing after Joe [or possibly Katerina] apparently finagled some of the witched wood from Tony in 1731) is to gather them all, and commit them to the flames.  :ph34r:

[Finishes roasting some marshmallows over the campfire, and offers you one.]  Happy Halloween, everyone!!  :lol::)

You are in fine form, VdA.

 

:35  

 

Edited by Julian Cossmann Cooke
here comes one now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.