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A Bulgarian Secret Weapon

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Published: March 11, 2014 at 2:28 PM [UTC]

I do not often cry. At 74 years young and a retired lawyer, I have seen it all. Around 30 years ago, I spent 5 minutes with a G.B. Guadagnini. It brought tears to my eyes and I have never recovered from the experience and have searched Ebay for that elusive delGesu from someone's attic.

Last year, I thought enough is enough, I'm gonna get me something that sounds good, in fact just as good as the Mezzo bought from Joris Wouters but this time, with a 14 inch body.

Why not a good Chinese, good question. So I found a Chinese maker that has won every prize going and his workshop violins were variously priced by different outlets between 5500 and 2350 US dollars for exactly the same model. What's going on here. I even tried one of those models. Easy to play, nice appearance and a good sound.

Put off by the different prices for exactly the same thing, I googled Rumanian and Bulgarian luthiers.

So far as could tell, the Rumanian workshops produce violins that everyone has taken part in making. Not all, but most. Whereas in Bulgaria, the opposite is true. They produce bench instruments.

Of the Bulgarian makers, Master luthier Petko Stoinov's work stuck out like a sore thumb.

On Monday of this week the cardboard box arrived with a violin case inside and a del Gesu il Cannone.

Brand new with a certificate of authenticity and sporting Dominants, I though yeh yeh, let's give it a go.

For the second time in my life, a violin brought tears to my eyes.

A new unplayed violin remember. Sweet tone, easy to play, volume there waiting to be developed and in two days it has doubled its sweetness, sonority and power, making me look more and more like an ineffectual idiot attempting to control a nuclear weapon.

Within an hour of receiving the violin, I emailed Petko and told him he must have been touched by an angel. I take that back. He must have been touched by two angels.

The cost including carriage to the UK and the case was 3000 euros, and the violin is already playing like a 15000 any currency instrument.

All I can say is that the man is a genius. Between the Chinese 5500 USD violin and the Stoinov, there is no contest for quality of sound. The Stoinov has it.


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