An amazing thing happened to me yesterday.
I went to Gael Francais and Salchow and Sons to have my violin and bow appraised for insurance. My folks bought me the outfit in 1993 by having my teacher go off to Ottawa, Canada to see Joseph Kun (yes, the Kun shoulder rest) with some budget. I think it was about $2500-3000 in total for bow, case and violin.
I ended up with a Polish violin by Tadeusz Slodyzka and a bow branded "Leclerc" We never found out the breakdown in cost, but I am sure the case was thrown in. it's pretty junky and needs to be replaced :)
Anyhow, Mr. Francais ended up appraising my violin at $4000, noting that if I could get ahold of the maker himself, he might be able to tell me what price his violins are commanding now.
The bow, Mr Francais said might actually be French and that I should go see someone to get it appraised. I brought it up to Salchow on the 12th floor and Isaac took a look at it. He brought it to the back to compare it to a few things while I waited. When he returned, he said that it was an R.F. Lotte bow valued at about $5000! (Anyone know anything about R.F. Lotte? All I can find is that he's the son of Francois Lotte)
In anycase, I left the bow with Isaac to have the frog liner re-glued.
Yesterday, I returned to pick up the bow (they lent me a bow case, very nice of them) and there was an older gentleman there with his violin in an open musafia case on the bench to the left. Isaac was looking at a few of his bows.
While I was getting my bow and borrowed case, the man says to Isaac - "Want to check out a neat violin I just got?"
Isaac says sure, and is handed the violin. He looks at it and says "I don't know that much about violins but it looks very well made"
The man replys "It's a 1712 Strad, was once played by Paganinni"
My jaw dropped, and I said "I didn't imagine being in the same room as a Strad when i came in here!"
The man says "want to check it out?" and hands it to me. Speechless.
He told me later that he played as a soloist and with the New Mexico Symphony.
The strad in question was "Le Brun" which was sold at auction in 2001 for 800k British Pounds.
Unbelievable. I imagine a lot of people on this site have held and played Stradivarius instruments, but I never in my life thought that I personally would ever have one in my hands.
A few regrets:
1) I didn't ask the man's name
2) I didn't ask him to play it for us
3) I didn't remember my cellphone has a built in camera
Last night I tried Monti's Czardas. Last time I competed with it, I was in the 7th grade.
What a disaster :)
In any case, my wife seems to think that the wohlfhart etudes are going more smoothly, so I'm definitely making progress... doing etudes 1-8 now. My scales are still rough.
I sight-read one of Seitz's student concertos (#5?), that went better than the czardas. I'll need to add some shifting etudes into my practice list soon.
I definitely need a teacher.
Thanks for all the encouragement. I'm looking for a teacher in Queens, NYC. Times are tight and good teachers aren't cheap... but I have a lead.
Wohlfhart seems to be proceeding well at this point. I added #3 and #4. While I feel like my intonation for the G-A strings seem to be okay, I'm not quite sure what's going on on the E string. I'm less interested on how fast my left hand is going at this point, or working on shifting - concentrating on correct intonation, bow control and tone. I've been playing late at night so I can't get as full as I'd like, the walls are thin. Anyone have any thoughts on practice mutes? I figure if one is working on tone, practice mutes kind of defeat the purpose.
Took out an old Hrimaly scale book. I used to hate scales. I've been reading up on the discussion board archives to see how people practice them. Last night,a simple 3 octave GMaj scale was, well, horrendous. Sigh.
Ten years is along time to not play the violin. 15 years of playing until the end of my junior year of college. Senior year - I was too busy for orchestra, looking for my first job.
But a week ago, I brought my violin to a luthier for an overhaul and bow rehair. He was done yesterday.
Last night, I opened up Wohlfhart #1. (The last etudes I played were in Dont Op 35 and Dounis Op 15)
Bow control: what control?
After about 20 minutes of playing and trying the different bowings, moving to #2, it was better, but still... I can see that it'll be a long road back to recovery!
More entries: May 2009
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