Metzler's violins in Glendale hosted two amazing seminars last week, after NAMM, both on strings. One was from Thomastik-Infeld, and consisted of a great seminar about string construction, especially, tension and string height. The last part was about differentiating the TI line - what strings to use where and when.
As good as that seminar was, the next night's may have been even better. Aside from the freebies, Savarez, the parent company of Aubert, Corelli, and Bernadel & G (the rosin), gave lectures on a history of Mirecourt and Aubert. They also showed the line of Aubert violins, violas, and cellos. I thought the top of the line Aubert sounded quite good; the other violins and perhaps the viola, perhaps less so. The cello was drop dead gorgeous.
The highlight though, was the demo of the new prototype strings, with some sort of unnamed multi-fiber core, on the violin and viola. The demonstrator was the concert master of the Pasadena Symphony, who, btw, was superb. After several selections, she played soley on one string, which was immediately changed for the new prototype Corelli string. This was repeated for each additional string. She then played the same thing on the new string. Tom Metzler probably set a record for speedy string changes. Interestingly, the G and D strings were PI strings.
The transformation was incredible. Though the prior A was smooth - this was a dominant - the new Corelli was transformative - much more alive, better overtones. The biggest change was on the G; though the violinist basically refused comments on anything ahe played or the strings, prior to this, she stopped in the middle of playing sul G and said "wow." She said it was alive under her fingers. Right then and there, she asked, soto voce, on a set for her violin.
The E transformation was *much* less noticeable; the old E brand was unknown, and the new E was the aramid line from Corelli - (Alliance Vivace). It did sound smooth, but not much difference. When I tried to play the violin later, it felt very alive, great overtones both under the ear and in the audience.
Has anyone heard about these new prototypes? To me, they were remarkable. I am curious how they might do on other violins. Metzler speculated that they might be of lower tension, and on certain violins, sound unbelievable. Pricing is expected to be between the nylon Corellis and their aramid line. They won't be released for another 2-3 months, and the name isn't set. Also interesting: same material used for guitar and violin strings!
Amongst other items - he (Bernadel, the CEO) told us why many luthiers are closed on Mondays - blame the patron saint of luthiers - and included some interesting facts on the pressure exerted on a bridge by strings (uneven, which is why the bridge is shaped the way it is).
It was a fairly awesome evening. I wonder why more luthiers and violin shops don't do this. Tom and Barbara were incredible hosts. The evening was capped with a sample of a variety of French wine (ok, some of us had more than one, lulz) baguetttes, and cheese.
Since I can still use my right arm, I thought I would write my first thought one Corelli’s new strings.
First I mounted the G, since I was using a heavy Passionne, I first put on the Forte.
I tried it for a while and thought not bad in comparison. I then put on the Medium and thought it was also good, but my wife told me she thought the forte sounded better on my violin so I then put it back on. Played for a while and the string started to settle and I can say it does not need to hide from the Passionne. Very good response from open G on up, I could dig in without problem.
Then I put on the D Forte on and played it for a while at first it seemed a bit week compared to the G but still within limits, I played on and it settled a bit more and sounded better. Still not the explosiveness of the G but excellent, I think it might be the week link???
I then tried on a new formula of the Corelli Crystal…good but not exactly what I wanted in comparison to the G, I then put on the proto Forte and WOW it blew me out, silky smooth and powerful. It was for me the Passionne on steroids. An even tone from bottom up and no weakness all the way up the latter, all the way up to 13th position it sounded great.
I then put on the E, Alliance Vivace med, I was not sure about this since I had all Fortes on but it held its own with bravura. I sounded well, brilliant and even.
It took a couple of days to fully settle, I had the feeling though that the A took a bit longer, but my first impressions were confirmed. Those strings are really good and will take the place of my Passionne when they hit the Market..
A week later:
The G as mentioned above is quite explosive and a nice rich bass sound, very smooth and guttural.. an even sound all the way up the fingerboard. It looses no volume going up, it stays strong and easy to play.
The D settled in quite well, as we know it is the hardest string to fit in. I would personally like it a bit thicker in sound, for a smoother transition to the A but again, I only have to play 4 notes on the G. The transition though from D through to the E is very smooth without drop so it things might be better left as they are.
The A is still awesome, silky smooth and fits perfectly between the D and E. Great sound to the highest positions as with the G no break in sound.
The E is well adjusted to the set, nothing fantastic but is passes well.
Overall after one week, I can say the strings are really good, I had always been a Gut man and these will definitely bring me over ? They have a certain velvety brilliance to them that starts on the D, the G is a bit apart, it fits well but seems to have its own character, it is a Basso. At first I though I wanted the D different but I think it is good as it is.
My wife thought they were quite loud but still sounded very good with a deep dark voice specially on the bottom.. I will be trying soon in a concert and also some solo work. I will have a colleague play them in a concert hall to hear.
One last thing, what impresses me the most, not only the volume, is the ease of a great PIANO. Yes they can be loud, but the Pianos are sublime…easy to get and the crescendos ….the range of colors is really good and the ease of response is also very good.
More maybe a bit later, depends on if I have to have surgery or not. If there are any questions or things I should try that were not mentioned please fire away.
I will later test diferent combos of Forte and Medium to see what and if it makes a difference.
Thanks for the review Claude - and very sorry about the tendon. I suppose you will have to have surgery to reattach... either way, good luck healing!
Hi elise, you are welcome.
I will find out tomorrow about surgery, I hope I wont have to but I am afraid it will have to be. I did not realise up to now how important the bicep is for the bowing arm.
Well 2 weeks after the op and 4 more weeks with a cast. Trying to practice a bit with very short bow strokes and left Hand pizz. Took out an old favorite and am working through the 4th variation. Trying to take the bright side of tings, I am now forced to work on that left Hand pizz :)
About those strings, I took my violin to a friend and had her play so I could hear them. Well I was impressed; they had lots of volume and were very clear, with a velvety brilliance to them.
I have not had a chance to play them in an Orchestra but my feeling is that they carry very well and are easy to modulate. As I earlier said, very even from top to bottom. She also loved them specially the G.
I am converted and will be playing them from now on. They will replace my Passionne.They will be released next month from what I hear at the Frankfurt Musicum. They will be called "Cantiga".
I do have a very good violin, but having tried many other strings those Sound the best on my Instrument. Of course your mileage will vary.
Sorry for any typo, it is a bear with only the left Hand.
I contacted the manufacturer since they sound like just the ticket for my violin and I heard that they are going to send me a set to try. So hope to contribute to this topic soon.
The ante has gone up though as I just put Obligatos on and they have largely fixed my main issues. Still, I'll be very interested to try.
re the OP's initial post, the proprietor of a violin shop near where I live explained that the reason why they are always closed on Mondays is so that they can get on with repairs (and making violins) without constant interruptions from the shop throughout the day. But they are always available to handle real emergencies.
I am currious to your findings. Have fun, I tried the Obligatos a while back they wer goog for a few weeks then went false...maybe now they are better. I was a gut Player but will now give them up.. sigh!!!
Claude, very sorry to hear about your surgery. Physical therapy is very important, but from your post and eagerness to get back, I assume you will be leading the charge!
What you described seemed to be largely what I heard: the G became incredibly robust. Other strings were similar, but perhaps less so, less of a difference.
As far as being closed on Mondays- perhaps the patron saint of luthiers realized that one day to work without customers is good? Not that any of us ever give our favorite luthier a hard time! ;-o) But I had the impression that in Mirecourt, anyway, the shops are closed on Mondays for workers as well.
Any updates on the release of these strings?
Hi Dave, I am back at playing, actually since a few weeks, it is coming along quite well. About the Cantigua, they still sound very good, as you mentioned the G is fantastic, but the other ones developed also very well. The D seems to have come along well also. Bowing needs to be a bit more precise going on the the E but I am very happy with them and they are now my new strings.
Seraphim, the strings from what I understand should be coming out in the next few days...how many days well.....
Hi Eloise, did you ever get strings to try and if so what did you think about them?
Aww man! I just ordered up some Alliances in the meantime....
[its Elise, not Eloise ;) ]
I did get the strings but a bunch of events conspired to require me to wait to now to try them out. So here is the first account - the first day.
By way of background I play a modern hand made del Gesu style violin (2010 John Newton). It has what I think are medium qualities, tending to the warm side and lots of projection. My main difficulty has been a couple of wolf notes on the G an D. This has been largely solved with low-tension Obligato strings. However, I like a strong E and the Obligato A does not do well on my violin. Of late I have used a Dominant A (not ideal but OK) and a Lenzer goldbrokat heavy E which I've been very happy with for its clarity, lack of whistling and projection.
I have had the test pack of the Corellis for a while but could not afford the time to test them but now the Obligato G sounded like mud so this was the opportunity. I only put on the mid-tension G initially, expecting to revisit the wolf issue. It sounded clear at first but nothing particularly special - but obviously one must give new strings a chance to settle. After just a few minutes it started to do just that and mellowed. To my surprise there were no wolf notes right up to high D. So I changed the D string too - with the same result. What the heck A string was changed too - this is quite thick compared to the Dominant at least; I wonder what's packed in it! As said above, the immediate impression is of resonant, ringing strings, a real pleasure to play and there is no way I can go back to the Oblicatos if this keeps up.
I was not going to touch the E because why do so when I was content - but then reconsidered since I might as well see how the set performed. The E did not have the initial power of the Lenzer - but I was going from a heavy to mid tension string. What I noticed there initially, however, was silkiness that I had not realized was missing with the Lenzer. Indeed, the strings have a sense of butter throughout. The E is really interesting: its silkiness in the low registers is replaced by a strident, but not unpleasant sound with high notes. For me - and this is just an initial impression it has a soloistic potential. I'm hoping that the high-tension version retains the silky qualities while giving even more power.
These strings are obviously going to take some time to settle so I'm not going to make any more comments for a day or two. However, right now I rather excited and hopeful that I've found a set that complement my violin.
Elise, how exactly did you tell them to send you the strings?
UPdate day 2. They are still settling in - indeed they are a bit like Passiones that way, not the strings you want for a lightning change during a recital!
However, they do have a lovely ringing, carrying tone, and lots of colour. Mention was made above about the D string being weaker - I don't see the same thing on my violin so it may be a case by case thing. At this point I am very impressed but its still early days ...
Yesterday I switched the E and A to the high-tension. The former because of a bit of a whistle on my violin (or with my playing). The latter because I was crunching the note a bit once up at 7/8th position. The high tension strings solved both and have not noticeably affected the G and D.
By the way, I tried recording: the results are truly astonishing, in particular for the G and D strings. Congrats Corelli!
Just a bit surprised there has not been more buzz on these - anyone else trying them out? Also when are they going to be released? I'll need some spares...
I asked for a set but the didn't reply - you were smart to get in quick!
I suppose they will be on the shelf soon...
Sorry about the typo with your name. I was told the strings should be out any time now. They are already out for Basses.
Your experience is very similar to mine and yes they are really good. They got me away from the Passione.
I am not sure how long I have them on, I did have a break in between, they are still holding on true. Probably 6 months or so.
They do have a nice ringing to them and the overtones are great. Of course one can not make a bad violin sound like a strad, but if one starts with good material it sounds a bit better. The A also is very good and passes well into the set.
The name of the new string will be "Cantiga".
Thank you for the extra info Claude :) My pack had 'Cantiga' on them so I've been searching. I think my violin never sounded better - but will get my teacher's opinion this week.
The high tension A has finally settled in and plays well through out and the (high tension) E has only improved and is now very stable. The tone from normal tension G and D is fantastic - I have not tried the high tension ones yet; that will have to wait a bit.
I have received information from Savarez concerning the new Cantiga violin strings:
"We have started the presentation of these new violin strings in France and will be progressively introducing them and start delivering them to our foreign distributors around mid September."
I received my set (two sets actually-one forte, one medium) today.
I just loaded them up. Lets see how they do!
I received mine also. I have to leave town in a couple of days so my test will have to wait a week, but I am really looking forward to it.
================================ from an email
Regarding the evaluation, we recommend to proceed as follows since our research works have demonstrated that it is important to select the proper tension (Medium or Forte). The Forte tension is not very strong and the difference between Medium and Forte is not very big. With the proper tension matching the musician and his instrument the results are as excellent with the Forte as with the Medium.
- First start with a G Forte. lf any concern (response, sound...) replace with a G Medium
- Then make a test with a D Forte. lf any concern (response, sound...) replace with a D Medium
- Then make a test with an A Forte. lf any concern (response, sound...) replace with a A Medium
Using different tensions for the strings G, D, A makes no problem.
============================================= end quote
Forte didn't work out for me on any string except the E.
Pics are always nice, aren't they?
So far they are sounding nice. Not overly bright, nor overly warm. Fairly neutral on my violin.
I've received a trial package with two sets (Forte and Medium), T-Shirt, and Pen.
Last night I put the Forte set on - even though I have a fresh set on Tonicas on, I had to see if these lived up to everyones responses about them.
Normally, I like to use Evah Pirazzi Gold and I felt they were the best thing since boxed cereal. But the Cantiga...my first response was WOW! I've Only played a few notes this morning, but will report back later today after a big practice session.
Claude, when you got Elise's name wrong, you couldn't even spell Heloise correctly! (She just about belongs on here, as at least one composition by her husband has survived)
I did correct my mistake, but in different languages it will be spelled differently. Elise is not the same as Éloise or for that matter Héloise. Both would be right depending on which language or region of the world or country one is writing from. But Éloise is not Élise 2 different names.
So yes I could spell the name I spelled it right, just not the right name fore Élise.
ps I am not sure why you brought that up, but in any case a little history on the surname since you mentioned I could not spell it:
In the Old French name Héloïse, which is probably from the Germanic name Helewidis, composed of the elements heil "hale, healthy" and wid "wide". It is sometimes associated with the Greek word ‘????? (helios) "sun" or the name Louise, though there is not likely an etymological connection. This name was borne in the 12th century by Saint Eloise, the wife of the French theologian Peter Abelard. She became a nun after her husband was castrated by her uncle.
There was a medieval English form of this name, Helewis, though it died out after the 13th century. In the 19th century it was revived in the English-speaking world in the form Eloise.
As a beginner, I had some issues with the new Cantigas. They didn't seem to want to speak easily, if I didn't have the bow speed and pressure just right they tended to want to creak on me alot more than other strings I have used. I took them off and threw on a new set of Ametysts and the issue went away immediately.
The Cantigas sounded nice. Very even tone; not too bright(the Ametysts definitely are brighter) not too dark. But as a beginner I felt the Cantigas required a bit more finesse than I currently possess. Take it for what it's worth from a guy with about a years worth of playing. But I figure other beginners may want to know about them from a fellow beginner perspective.
I'll try them out again when the next string change comes around. Maybe they just needed to break in a bit more. They certainly did stretch over the course of the first 24 hours. I just couldn't handle the additional creaky feedback I was getting using them. My tender beginner ego needs smooth and easy, not touchey and fussy (for me, anyhow).
Corelli have kindly send me a trial set of the new Cantigas.
Their literature says that they have developed a new polymer material for the core, a new technique to achieve smooth windings, and a new package to reduce oxidation in storage. They claim that feedback from testers has been very positive, and that most have found the set works well as a whole.
So how is it working for me? I'm an intermediate player with a powerful, well-balanced modern instrument by Martin McClean that tends to do best with medium tension strings such as Dominant.
I've had the mediums on for a few days, and my initial reaction is extremely positive.
As others have said, the sound is fairly neutral but very rich - the word that comes to mind is "creamy".
The E is wonderful on my instrument - the best I've used. Power without harshness - a sumptuous, full sound. I was supplied with a ball end, but this came out easily so I could use my loop-adjuster.
I'm a great fan of the Warchal Russian A, but the Cantiga A is equally good in a different way - lots of lovely overtones and a nice balance with the E.
If my instrument has a weakness it's the D, which can sound a touch muddy with some strings. With the Cantiga it's nice and clear all the way up the neck - rich and full with just a touch of the darkness that I like.
The G is terrific - I'm able to get more bite and projection that I do with Dominants or Tonicas.
As they claim, the set seems very well balanced with no weaknesses or noticeable transitions between the strings - I would be happy to use it as a whole.
Like the sound, this is excellent.
The strings feel quite fat, even the E, and I wondered if they would be hard to handle.
But unlike Seraphim I find the set responsive and forgiving. I'm getting a big dynamic range without undue pressing, and finding that all strings are sounding easily in high positions. Tension is moderate and they feel pleasant under the fingers.
As claimed, the windings are exceptionally smooth, with no string noise while shifting.
The strings sounded great from the get-go - no nasty Dominant metallic sound to work through. They took a bit longer to settle than was claimed - they needed frequent re-tuning for the first day or two. But after that they've been stable.
As you can gather, these strings have won me over. Ten out of ten for sound, and perhaps nine out of ten for playability. So far, I've found much to like and nothing to dislike.
Unlike so many new strings, which cause a ripple of interest and then fall from view, I think the Cantigas have a real chance of becoming a classic.
If you like Dominant-style strings you really should give these a try. They also do a higher tension string which might be worth a go if you are an Evah lover, and they've sent me a low-medium set which they felt might suit my instrument which I'll try once the mediums wear out.
They claim that the price will be affordable, so the only unknown is lifespan. If they last well they will definitely become my string of choice.
I second many of Geoff's findings. I have the medium set on at the minute, and love the E string. The sound reminds me of a heavy-gauge gold E but the playability is more like a medium Goldbrokat or something similar. It never whistles and simply sings, and it can withstand serious bow pressure. I'm not quite as enthusiastic about the rest of the set but the other strings have their merits too. The balance between the strings is very good, and the tone is consistent from low to high positions. I find the G and D quite throaty sounding on my instrument, which I like, but they also seem a little less vibrant than other strings I've had on before. The A is a very nice synthetic - normally I prefer steel As but this plays clearly and has a sweeter tone compared to the lower strings. I feel on the whole that Infeld Red are a better match for my instrument (they're my favourites so far, having tried Oliv, Tonica, PI, Obligato and Cantiga). Maybe if I had the Forte set on, it would be a different story, but I think I will swap these onto another instrument when they die out and go back to Infeld Red. I would happily use the E again though.
I put the forte set on another violin I have, and they sound pretty great on there.
None of the creaking issues I had with the mediums on my other violin (my technique is the likely culprit in any case...) and the fortes sounded pretty rich on this violin, where they didn't sound quite as alive on the other one (my primary violin).
I may try the fortes again on my main squeeze to see how that works out. Perhaps since they had more of a chance to settle in on violin 2, whereas I did a quick out of the package evaluation the first time around (I was trying to follow their instructions...)or perhaps they simply are a better match for that other instrument. Anyhow, I haven't given up. I'll continue to evaluate these strings.
Does anybody know whether the Cantiga E strings (medium//forte//medium-light) are the same as in the Crystal or Alliance Vivace sets?
The Crystal and Alliance are Corelli's older lines of strings. Cantigas are very new, and imho, different - much more full bodied, richer sound. If you google for Savarez Corelli Cantiga, there appear to be some European establishments selling this line.
The Infeld Reds are formulated to be a dark string, as you will know, while I would class the Cantigas as a neutral string. How does your instrument do with standard neutral strings like the Dominants? If it doesn't sound its best with these, that would perhaps explain why you prefer the Reds to the Cantigas?
Hi Geoff. I know the Infeld Red has been formulated as a dark sounding string, but in my opinion, they have not sounded dark on any instrument I have tried them on, except for one which was inherently quite dark anyway. I find them to be rich and quite warm, but also bright and focused, with plenty of projection (which is not what some people find). I'd actually class them as fairly neutral sounding on my instrument, along with Tonica. Cantiga is also fairly neutral in terms of brightness, but it lacks the "special" quality of sound I find Infeld Red to have.
Just a quick addendum. They seem to be very sensitive to rosin buildup - perhaps because of the smooth winding. I find I have to clean them a bit more regularly than other strings.
Also an addendum – while the sound of my E string hasn't deteriorated I've found that it has tarnished very quickly and not evenly down the string... The silvery sheen looks patchy.
I am now in my extended evaluation of the new Corelli Cantiga Strings from Savarez.
Though I received the sets around August 3, 2013 I had obligations and then my lesson was coming up so I waited until August 28, 2013 to begin.
If you look at my prior post you will find the recommendation from Savarez on how to proceed with the evaluation. But, I found that just comparing the two tensions did not really feel right to me so I used the following approach.
I started with a Forte G, next a Medium G, then a Forte D and then a Forte G and then a Medium D a Forte A and so on so that on September 3 my violin was set up with the full Forte set.
Though individually and with some effort I could get the most amazing sounds out of the Forte set, for general playing I was not satisfied. I think I now know what people mean by choking the violin. Though not much softer than I was used to there was little resonance.
After a day I put on the complete Medium tension set. They are really nice. I am sure they are louder and have a wider range of sounds than my Tonicas, which is used to replace a set of Dominants with a Gold label E. The Cantigs can sound anywhere from sweet to growling.
At my lesson today (6-Sept-13) I had my teacher tryout the violin and she thought the violin sounded much richer and resonant. During the lesson she kept telling me I had very powerful strings now and I need to learn to control them, like a stallion.
As I work with my teacher over the next few months I will keep the Medium Cantiga strings on the violin; until I wear them out. Then I will try the Forte again, or maybe something I have in the case, first.
Before I found out I was going to get the Cantiga strings for evaluation I had ordered a medium tension set of Corelli Alliance Vivace strings. Depending on how my bowing develops I might try the Alliance strings before the Forte Cantiga set. We will see. (I've been playing two and a half years, my teacher says my left hand is my gift, so we are focusing on the right)
In any case I am very happy with the sound and response of the medium Cantiga strings on my violin, though I have a feeling the Forte can be wonderful, even on my violin. I'll update you if that opinion changes.
Has Savarez provided the string tension chart?
Today I changed the already worn out E string for a Hill E, heavy gauge (funnily it has the same colour as the cantiga E, at the peg and the tailpiece). It has opened up the G and and D a lot more, and the sweetness of the A still remains. I'd still like a little more power on the D string, but there appears to be an improvement.
Anyone who usually uses Evah Pirazzi / EP Golds on a good-quality instrument tried these out yet?
A follow up to my earlier review.
The normal gauge strings lasted pretty well for me, sounding good for 6 weeks or so (during a period when I couldn't practice very much) and then deteriorating gradually to the point when after 3 months they were still playable but a bit dull. My instrument seems particularly sensitive to strings that have gone off, so this is quite good life for me.
Corelli also sent me a gauge which they call Medium-Light, which I've been playing for a couple of weeks. I've never used lights before, so I can only compare them to normal gauge strings.
The E was gentle, silvery and sophisticated - it may be worth a try if this is what you are looking for, but as I play traditional music I swapped it out for something meatier.
On my instrument, the rest of the set sounds rather thin and lacking in bite - I won't be keeping them on for long.
Though on the positive side, they are notably responsive and easy to play. They sing nicely if you float the bow with a light hand. If you dig in, they tend to crack unless you get the combination of speed and pressure just right.
I'm not entirely sure what this gauge is for. If you have a loud and harsh instrument that needs taming they might be worth a try, but for normal use I would stick with the mediums.
I have used the canticas on my Vuillaune and they were very good. Then I changed them for a forte set and the sound improved immensely. The e-string I used for very little as I wanted to experiment and it sounded silvery with a lot of quality but I changed it to obligato which is not as good as the cantica. The problem being that I lost the cantica E to put back on.
The medium tension set I took from the Vuillaume, I put on my modern violin and sound improved. As far as durability is concerned, I have put them on a couple of weeks ago and they still sound great.
How does one contact Corelli? I've Googled them and everything but the string manufacturer comes up.
Ray, it looks like http://www.savarez.fr/corde-savarez.html might be the website you're looking for.
Claude, it was the Abelard-Eloise story I was referring to. I wasn't aware that she'd got canonized - Are you sure of that?
As regards the composition by her husband, I think I saw in one hymnbook a hymn tune attributed to him - I don't think it was O Quanta Qualia, and as far as I remember, it wasn't an outstanding tune.
Thank you. I'll give it a shot.
Canticas are no longer a prototype. They are available on-line from www.thestringzone.co.uk at £45.60 a set (medium). Other gauges are available.
This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine
March 1, 2013 at 01:23 AM · Testing them right now. I have to say my first impression was: WOW!
I was using Passione heavy on the G and E and med on D and A. I will write a more detailed evaluation a bit later, I unfortunately ruptured a tendon in my biceps yesterday.
Lets say I do not miss the Passione.