- Jul 6, 2019
- North Springfield VA
- Real Name
- Bill Walderman
As in photography, I'm an enthusiastic amateur of limited attainments. I had a long hiatus in my playing after my knee operations in 2011, but the pandemic brought me back, and I'm trying to recover some of my never more than modest abilities on the instrument.Such a great start to this week's CS! That music is a real treasure but, WOW!, how about that violin and bow! Are you the expert violinist that deserves such a fine instrument? Have you ever made serious photos of it (though for a quick and dirty setup, this one is fine)?
I bought the violin sometime in the early 1980s. It's on the smallish side. (Gragnani was known to produce some slightly smaller instruments, of a type that used to be described as "ladies' violins," in addition to more robust instruments on the Stradivari model). It's not in tip-top condition, having undergone some serious repairs over the course of its life; it doesn't have a big sound; and questions have been raised as to whether the scroll is original to Gragnani. Those factors made it affordable to me at the time. That said, it has a very sweet, silvery, rounded sound -- the 18th century ideal -- and it's wonderfully, incredibly responsive to the slightest pressure from the bow, which makes it a pleasure to play. The purfling (the inlay around the edges) is of whalebone -- a rare and unusual material, which Gragnani, working in the port city of Livorno, is known to have used, and that's a guarantee of authenticity. (Ebony is the usual material for purfling.) It has a hand-written label, though labels in violins, maybe more often than not, are deceptive.
I acquired the bow more recently, probably around 2005, at auction. Voirin was one of the most outstanding French bowmakers (though not the most expensive). I certainly can't do justice to the capabilities of this bow, any more than I can do full justice to my Z6.