Review: Perpetual Cadenza Violin Strings by Pirastro

January 10, 2022, 3:42 PM · Last summer, the German-based Pirastro string company came out with a new violin string set called "Perpetual Cadenza," which is a slight variation on their "Perpetual" strings, which came out in 2018.

Perpetual Cadenza strings

In September, I strung my violin with a set of "Perpetual Cadenza" strings, to see what they are like. These strings were given by Pirastro to me for review; they are about $100 for the set through Shar. The E is a steel string; the others are synthetic core, with the A wound in aluminum and the D and G wound in sterling silver.

At this point, I've gone through four months of playing on them, putting them through several orchestra concerts, quartet sessions and a lot of violin teaching. I feel like I've gotten to know them well enough to share my observations.

First of all, my opinion is going to be filtered through my preferences, so let me tell you what I like in a violin string. For a long time, I strung my violin with Evah Pirazzi strings, and then I tried the Jargar Superiors. In both cases, I loved the sound, but these were very powerful strings. As an orchestral musician who very often plays second violin, I do not necessarily need a super-powerful string.

I'm also interested in achieving a quality sound at the quieter dynamic levels when I'm playing in orchestra, which requires blending in and sometimes getting all the way down to a triple-piano ("pianississimo"?). These days, I tend to use Pirastro's Obligatos as my default strings, and I like them quite a lot. As I understand Pirastro history, the Obligatos were actually the pre-cursor to Evah Pirazzis - they have the same beauty of tone without quite as much volume.

So to put my views in perspective, "too much volume" for me might be just the right amount for a lot of other players.

When it came to the original Perpetuals, which I tried several years ago, they are known for their powerful and focused sound, I found them to be exactly that: powerful and focused. They were a little bright and high-volume for my taste.

The "Perpetual Cadenzas" are similar to the "Perpetuals," but with a little less edge, which I have liked better. That said, they are definitely powerful strings. My first thought was, again, too loud, give me back my Obligatos!

But let me put that in context: during the pandemic I let my strings get ridiculously old, and I didn't have the chance to play with anyone else. Once I started playing out in the "real world" again, everything seemed too loud - this was a real phenomenon for me. I had to get used to more volume of sound as I started playing in-person with other people again.

So as I got used to playing again with others, playing in orchestra, etc. I grew to really like the Perpetual Cadenzas. This level of volume was actually just fine, once I settled in with it. They are also just slightly darker-sounding than the original Perpetuals, but I would not call them a "dark" string.

The Perpetual Cadenzas did not take long to break in or to be pitch-stable. In fact, what I liked the most about the Perpetual Cadenzas was the focus, and for me that meant a real purity of pitch. Yes, there were plenty of overtones, but the notes just felt very true-to-pitch and reliable, not at all fuzzy. I felt like I could blend with an orchestra section when needed, or I could choose to poke out of the texture more when I was playing first violin in my quartet. The quality of sound when playing quieter sections also was clear, no faltering or fuzzing-out when going down to very soft dynamics.

The strings also sounded steady over all four strings, like a matched set, with no one string having a noticeably different voice.

As for the lifespan of the Perpetual Cadenzas, I'd say it's about the same as with other strings by Pirastro, which for me is 4-6 months before I start feeling it's time to change the strings. (The lifespan of most strings will depend both on their inherent nature and on how much they are played, so this will vary from person to person.)

So in the end, I liked the Perpetual Cadenzas a lot for their:

Let me know if you have tried these strings, and please share your impressions in the comments!

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Replies

January 11, 2022 at 04:33 AM · Tried a set last year-- very good, and seemed to hold up pretty well. I was a little concerned that the darker, mellower sound was a bit artificial, like an antiqued Persian carpet that looks less and less authentic the more you keep it around.

Also, when I was about to try a solo gig, I was told that the A and E were a little weaker than the D and G [on this violin], and that my other available violin was generally more powerful and colorful.

That all changed when I swapped the Cadenzas for Rondos. So I wouldn't write these off, but I am happy with Rondos for the moment.

January 11, 2022 at 04:51 AM · I am using Rondos now too, but I don't think they're an improvement over Vision Solo.

January 11, 2022 at 05:05 AM · I quite like these strings as well. My main violin is already strong and rich sounding, so a lot of strings that try to impose those qualities tend to end up sounding a bit strangled or artificial. The Perpetual Cadenza is a great balance, kind of like how Dominants are.

Interestingly, Pirastro states that the Cadenza is actually an all-new design, so it seems they share nothing with the normal Perpetuals except the name and winding.

https://www.thestrad.com/accessories/products-september-2021-pirastro-cadenza-violin-strings/13438.article

The E string of the Perpetual Cadenza is a variation of the classic Pirastro Gold Label E string, but with a tension in between the medium and light Gold Label tensions.

January 11, 2022 at 10:11 AM · I was interested to try these and bought a set during my local violin shop's black Friday sale. I put them on my better 7/8 violin - but incidentally, really struggled to get a couple of the strings on... no idea why.

I thought I liked the mellow sound initially, but after a few days I really didn 't like the way they "twanged". It could be that the Perpetual Cadenza are already lower tension, and on a smaller violin the extra low tension is a disadvantage.

So I took them off and put a set of Vision Solo's on (which are my string of choice for this violin), easy to fit, and sound great!

I'll try the Perpetual Cadenza's on my folk session violin next time it needs a string change.

January 13, 2022 at 01:47 PM · I started using Perpetual Cadenza strings as soon as Concord Music was able to get a set to me. I am using them on only one of my violins and on that violin I like them more than any other strings I have used on it in the past 70 years - and I have been an almost compulsive trier of new strings since 1970. "Nuff" said!

I wrote about them at the violinist.com discussion website.

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