Violin fairy godmother (favorite old instrument)
Hi everyone, just a violin-geeky thread for fun. :-)
Which of the old Master violins is your favorite (not best, as there is no such thing - but favorite)? So if the magical violin fairy godmother (yes, of course she exists!) could make any instrument appear for you, which one would you choose?
I'll make a start: for me it would be the 1707 Stradivarius "Rivaz-Baron Gutmann". Played until recently by Janine Jansen, now played by Eldbjørg Hemsing. Fantastic tone! Almost like a cello in the lower registers (slight exaggeration!), with the typical Stradivarius sunny brightness on the upper strings.
You can listen to it here: VIDEO
Oh, and of course, we're not robbing anyone of their voice. The violin fairy godmother is magically creating an identical, second instrument for you, so the current owner still gets to keep using their instrument ;-)
Looking forward to your responses! :-)
I'm looking forward to a viola d'amore in the next few years. Rather than fantasize about the impossible, this is something just as wonderful but within my reach if I can just heal up and get back to work.
There is a video on YouTube of the 3rd movement of Brahms' piano quintet with Shlomo Mintz, Hagai Shaham and others. I want the viola Shlomo plays there. It is so loud and powerful. I don't know what it is though sadly
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade here but, I think there’s a pretty good reason why the population of viola d’amore’s (and hardanger fiddles) tends to be low. It’s because they’re such a PITA to get/keep in tune, and people who acquire them eventually find themselves wondering why they went down that rabbit hole. (And think about how hard they would be to resell, something that’s always worth bearing in mind.) I would try hard to get one of these on loan to try it out for a while before committing to buy one. Find out if that’s really where you want to go.
What is Hemsing playing?
Thanks for the tip Mark. I've heard the same thing about lutes, theorbos, lirones and other many-stringed instruments, especially of early music style. There must be something to it, though I only hear it from people who themselves don't play early instruments, perhaps because they fear exactly what you describe. But I take so much joy from hearing these instruments played by local early music ensembles, I can only be grateful to the players for persisting against the challenges of their instruments. As a late-starting adult aspiring-amateur who must work full time outside of music, I don't expect to ever approach their fineness. But I take inspiration from them and enjoy the journey every day.
Il Cannone, because the history is cool.
HH’s Vuilluame (to hand to the 12 year old, if I could do afford the insurance.)
Will, I admire your sense of adventure.
@Will: I have a beautiful d'amore that I don't play as often as it would deserve. Getting one on loan to test it for a while is a good idea, or if you want to buy one, I'd recommend a d'amore with just 5 strings (plus 5 sympathetic strings). The lowest two strings on a 7-string instrument are never used anyway, and they also make it so much harder to always bow the right string.
A humble Mittenwald viola around anno 1800 with a repaired soundpost crack (and a handful of additional top plate repairs, not all of them went too well) and replaced neck and scroll.
Adding that I couldn't be happier with what I already own. Lucky me. Now it's up to myself to regain my previously bad shape after a too long almost complete hiatus... Mazas and Kreutzer, I'm coming!
I'm afraid to say because my "Hildie" might become jealous, but the Stradivarius played by Yehudi Menuhin. But then in my less than competent hands it would sound like my Hildie. Poor Hildie, what she puts up with.
Hello Ann, I sense from a few of your comments that you might be a little like me, including either being a late-starter (adult learner) or maybe just recently returning to violin. It does indeed feel like an adventure to me, and requires a combination of humility (I don't expect to become a great player) and also ambition (but dammit I am going to make real music someday!). My adventures in early instruments so far include a bass viol that has been the best experience because either it is easier to play or else it is just more natural for me. Not to mention I've had over 20 lessons in under 3 years, and I play it almost every day. I absolutely LOVE my gamba! So as Nuuska says above, "I couldn't be happier with what I already own," that is a beautiful attitude of gratitude I share!
Sebastion, interesting that you mention Gasparo da Salo, as one of the very few existing original lira da braccios is attributed to him, from around 1560.
Will, Yes, I'm a retiree returnee, as you can gather from my profile. It sounds like you can become an authority on the lira de braccio which would be nice. Feel free to contact me.
Will, my d'amore was made in 2008 by Bastian Muthesius, a German luthier who specializes in Baroque instruments. It's a beautiful instrument and I like the sound a lot but I haven't had the chance to compare it with lots of other d'amores. They are really few and far between. It was more expensive than the price range you mentioned - but if you bought good instruments at a reasonable price from the Boulder Early Music Shop in the past, it's definitely a good idea to get your d'amore from them as well. As to tuning stability, the sympathetic strings on mine don't cause any problems, nor do the bowed strings as long as I play at home. If I wanted to perform in public, e.g. in a cold church, I would probably use Dominants for the two top strings (yes, Thomastik also produces Dominants for the d'amore). That wouldn't be 100% authentic but at least it would work.
To the Fairy Godmother -- I'm happy with what I've got, but wouldn't mind a couple of weeks trying out the Leduc Del Gesu, formerly played by Henryk Szeryng and now by Augustin Hadelich. If the Fairy Godmother would pay the insurance. . .
Thank you Sebastian for all your viola d'amore insights! I looked up your luthier and he is presently advertising a gorgeous bass viol he made (in 1969?). Maybe his father made it (credit is to Ingo Muthesius)? Anyway I have saved your list of repertoire in my viola d'amore folder for future reference. Christoph Graupner has actually become a preferred composer in my house lately, based on some harpsichord CDs I have and my son teaching himself some Graupner pieces on a piano. One he played on the pipe organ for his teacher who promptly recorded it and used it as prelude music for the following Sunday's online worship service. Also I have a Rachel Barton Pine CD of the Vivaldi
I'd want the chance to try out a whole pile of instruments. :-)
On his website, Nate Cole also tells the story of how he played Milstein's violin. The title is "Speed-dating a Strad: one week with Milstein's ex". Very interesting.
I was going to suggest Jake listen to Bashmet, but they seem to have removed his Telemann concerto from Youtube.