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‘Kux, Castelbarco’ Stradivari viola will be auctioned on October 31 in London


GeorgeH
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4 hours ago, Urban Luthier said:

Think this is a viola d'amore converted to a viola by JVB with a nice Amati head with blackened chamfers to boot! Nice photos in the strad varnish book. you can hear it on this recording 

Thanks!

I have always been interested in the Stradivari violas. Viola stories have always been that they are not that good or rather other instruments are better but I’ve always figured that a lot of those stories were repeated by people who never played them.

DLB

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1 hour ago, Dwight Brown said:

Thanks!

I have always been interested in the Stradivari violas. Viola stories have always been that they are not that good or rather other instruments are better but I’ve always figured that a lot of those stories were repeated by people who never played them.

DOB

Dwight, I think you hit the nail on the head. From what I have heard (in person) they can sound pretty good. ;)

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3 hours ago, Dwight Brown said:

Thanks!

I have always been interested in the Stradivari violas. Viola stories have always been that they are not that good or rather other instruments are better but I’ve always figured that a lot of those stories were repeated by people who never played them.

DOB

Me too.

But the lack of availability makes it more difficult to assess. When it comes to form, I advocate many other types. But the flagship in my collection is a non- Strad form. Do I wish to own the Michael Tree Busan? Well yes, but can only afford something closer to home.

For student instruments, especially under 14" or smaller, is it fair to say the Strad form is desired? It is not about rib height. I would argue that it is not.

My experience is that the Strad form is obviously worthy. If I lean back and look up, there are two in a box, 15.5" and 16" which sound fine.

As a working musician, who would less likely purchase a Strad viola, the role is very complex. I have very little desire to play viola if the position is for vln 1, unless for Lyric. Or for an summer festival, still not for vla. In a quartet, the role becomes far more difficult/ complex. For viola with piano, another different texture. Amati. Various forms.

I love viola. More than most. But at festivals, is there a violistic presence? 

Generalizing the form is unkind. But the Ehnes example is also unfair. He is one of the most under- rated players of the generation. If I were to say that Oistrakh is amazing, then Repin follows and then in the next bunch, Ehnes, as violinists.

Tabea, Kim? They are favoured for reasons. I have a friend with a Cison, who is remarkable, but lazy. Wish that he plays as much as he talks, as he could make converts. The role we play is far more complex as a musician. Many violists can not make up their minds - or cynically, there are those who will not be decisive. Yuri ruined it for me.

So back to this particular viola. Spectacular? 

2 hours ago, Shelbow said:

Dwight, I think you hit the nail on the head. From what I have heard (in person) they can sound pretty good. ;)

"Pretty good." Not to pull Shelbow's comments out of context.

1 hour ago, Urban Luthier said:

The archinto viola is one of the most beautiful things I've seen 

And I might agree. But the complexity is that there are those of us who collect and those of us who play.

I look forward to Halloweeen. Let me stop here.

 

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4 hours ago, Dwight Brown said:

Thanks!

I have always been interested in the Stradivari violas. Viola stories have always been that they are not that good or rather other instruments are better but I’ve always figured that a lot of those stories were repeated by people who never played them.

DLB

I only know two Strad violas and neither of them well, but I would not rate them tonally. They are both rather hollow and fizzy. One of them is in the hands of a great soloist and I feel quite sorry for him ...

The Archinto is obviously quite a looker but I find the sound a bit synthetic.

 

 

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18 hours ago, martin swan said:

I only know two Strad violas and neither of them well, but I would not rate them tonally. They are both rather hollow and fizzy. One of them is in the hands of a great soloist and I feel quite sorry for him ...

The Archinto is obviously quite a looker but I find the sound a bit synthetic.

 

 

Once upon a time I shot the fingerboard on the Gibson Strad Viola, with the hyper nervous custodian breathing down my neck, to be sure that I didn’t scratch anything. He was horrified that I did that with my block plane, but I didn’t know how else one could shoot a fingerboard. For months after that there was a ridiculous rumour going around Vienna that the Viola sounds crap, because I had thinned the belly out (bollocks of course)

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On 9/8/2022 at 9:50 AM, jacobsaunders said:

Once upon a time I shot the fingerboard on the Gibson Strad Viola, with the hyper nervous custodian breathing down my neck, to be sure that I didn’t scratch anything. He was horrified that I did that with my block plane, but I didn’t know how else one could shoot a fingerboard. For months after that there was a ridiculous rumour going around Vienna that the Viola sounds crap, because I had thinned the belly out (bollocks of course)

No good deed goes unpunished.

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  • 1 month later...

Strad violas are so rare, I wonder how many people have played enough of them to be able to give a general opinion about them?

I did sit across from Paul Silverthorne for a while when he was using the Archinto, and of course in his hands, it sounded excellent, but if my memory serves me right, he was never entirely happy playing on it. I did prefer the sound he got from the giant A&H Amati he also got to use.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I got to play on the Kux/Castelbarco, and I thought it was a top class concert instrument, neither hollow nor synthetic, and just enough fizz, especially on the C string.

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