4, Hobart Place, Eaton Square. Mendelssohn often staid there, and it was for long the resort of the German artists and literary men. He died in London, Sept. 25, 1862. For an affectionate notice of him see Hiller's 'Tonleben,' ii. 95.
[ G. ]
KLOTZ, the name of a numerous family of violin-makers, who lived at the little town of Mittenwald, in the Bavarian Alps, and founded a manufacture of stringed instruments which makes Mittenwald to this day only less famous than Markneukirchen in Saxony, and Mirecourt in the Vosges. A variety of the pine, locally known as the 'Hasel-fichte' (Bechstein calls it the 'harte oder späte Roth-tanne'), of delicate but strong and highly resonant fibre, flourishes in the Bavarian Alps. The abundance of this material, which the ingenious peasants of the neighbouring Ammer-thal use for wood-carving, led to the rise of the Mittenwald violin manufacture. For about two centuries there was held in the town a famous fair, greatly frequented by Venetian and other traders. In 1679 this fair was removed to Botzen, and the Mittenwalders attribute the rise of the violin industry to the distress which thereupon ensued. One Egidius Klotz had already made violins at Mittenwald. Tradition says that he learned the craft from Stainer at Absam. He is more likely to have learned it from seeing Stainer's violins, which he imitated with success. His son, Matthias or Matthew Klotz, followed in the same path. He travelled, however, into Italy, sojourning both at Florence and Cremona. Tradition reports him to have returned to Mittenwald about 1683, and to have at once begun to instruct many of the impoverished Mittenwalders in the mystery of fiddle-making. The instruments found a ready sale. They were hawked about by the makers at the churches, castles, and monasteries of South Germany; and Mittenwald began to recover its prosperity. Most of the instruments of Matthias Klotz date from 1670 to 1696. They are well built, on the model of Stainer, but poorly varnished. His son, Sebastian, surpassed him as a maker. His instruments, though Stainer-like in appearance, are larger in size, of flatter model, and better designed: and his varnish is often of a good Italian quality. Another son of Matthias, named Joseph, still has a good reputation among the connoisseurs of German violins.
Until about the middle of the last century, a distinctive German style prevailed in violins, of which the above-mentioned makers are the best exponents. In several towns of Italy there were Germans working in their own style side by side with Italian makers. Tecchler worked thus in Rome, Mann in Naples, and the three Gofrillers (Gottfriedl) in Venice. Odd as it seems, it is certain that there was a demand for German violins in Cremona itself. Two Germans, named Pfretschner and Fricker, who made violins of their own ugly pattern, gained a subsistence there in the golden days of Stradivarius: and the famous Veracini always used a German violin. But this competition could not long endure. The superiority of the Italian violin was established in the earlier half of the century: and wherever stringed instruments were made, a conscious imitation of the Italian models began. It penetrated to Mittenwald, as it did to London and Paris. This stage of the art is represented by Georg Klotz, whose fiddles date from 1750 to 1770. They have lost their distinctive Tyrolese cut, without gaining the true Italian style, and are covered with a thin brittle spirit varnish, laid upon a coat of size, which keeps the varnish from penetrating the wood, and renders it opaque and perishable. Besides George, we hear of Michael, Charles, and a second Egidius. Nine-tenths of the violins which pass in the world as 'Stainers' were made by the Klotz family and their followers. Dealers soon destroyed their tickets, and substituted spurious ones bearing the name of Stainer: a process which the makers at length adopted on their own account.The Klotz violins are not without merit as regards sonority. Spohr recommends them, and an extraordinary story is told in Parke's 'Musical Memoirs' of the value set upon one belonging to Mr. Hay, the leader of the King's band. M. Miremont, of the Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, one of the best living violin-makers, scandalised the Parisian connoisseurs a few years ago by exhibiting several instruments built by him on the Klotz model. Strange to relate, their tone was of undeniable excellence.
[ E. J. P. ]
[ G. ]
[ W. H. H. ]