Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/300

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284

��VIOLIN.

��Hill & Sons charge 15, Mr. Duncan of Glasgow 12, for their violins.

Those who wish to purchase a new violin of the best quality ready made, cannot do better than resort to the French makers. Vuillaume, now deceased, was a few years ago at the head of the list, and sold his violins tor 14: they are now worth considerably more.^ The sale prices of instruments by some living French makers are as follows :

��Violins. 8. d.

Gand&Bernardel, Paris 16 Miremont, Paris 13 6 8

Cherpitel, Paris 10 13 4

Thibouviile-Lamy,Paris

and London 800

G eronimo Grandini, sen. Mirecourt 468

��,__ Violon-

Tenora. Cello8>

9. d. s. d.

18 13 4 26 13 4

16 24

13 6 8 24

800 16

468 8 13 4

��M. Thibouville-Lamy has all these on sale; his own instruments are highly recommended.

Instruments of good quality are made in this country by W. E. Hill & Sons, 72 Wardour Street; Charles Boullangier, 16 Frith Street; G. Chanot, 157 Wardour Street; Szepessy Bela, 10 Gerrard Street; Furber, Euston Road, all in London: G. A. Chanot, of Manchester, and George Duncan, of Glasgow, are also excellent makers. Among foreign makers, the following may be mentioned in Vienna, Zach, i Karn- thner Strasse; Bittner, I Karnthner Strasse ; Lembok, Canova Strasse ; Voigt, Spiegel Gasse ; Gutermann, Maria-Hilf Strasse: Rampftler, Burggasse, Munich ; Sprenger, 34 Garten Strasse, Stuttgart ; Hammig, Leipzig ; Lenk, Pro- menade Platz, Frankfort-on-the- Maine ; Liebich, Breslau ; Mougenot, Brussels ; Hel, Lille ; Mar- chetti, Milan ; Guadagnini Brothers, Turin ; and Ceruti, Cremona.

Old instruments, however, are generally pre- ferred by purchasers, especially those by the old Italian makers. Among these, the best instru- ments of Stradivari and Guarnieri del Gesu form a distinct first class; their prices range from 200 to 500. Inferior instruments by these makers can be bought at from 100 to 200. The very best instruments of second-class makers often realise over 100: but ordinary instru- ments by second and third-rate makers can generally be bought at prices ranging from 20 to 50: while old Italian fiddles of the com- monest description are considered to be worth from 10 to 20. Fair instruments by old French, German, and English makers can be bought at still lower prices, ranging from 3 to i o. Red instruments, other things being equal, will generally fetch somewhat more than yellow or brown ones. The principal English dealers in old violins are Hill & Sons, G. Hart, G. Chanot, and Withers.

Old violins may be divided into two classes, those made on the ' high ' and the ' flat ' model respectively. The latter, which is characteristic of Stradivari and his school, including all the best modern makers, is undoubtedly the best. The high ' model, of which Stainer is the best-

��VIOLIN.

known type, was chiefly in use with the German and English makers before the Cremona pattern came to be generally followed in other countries. It is, in fact, a survival of the Viol, for which in- strument the high model is the best : even Stra- divari used the high model for the Double Bass and the Viola da Gamba. But a high-modelled violin, however handsome and perfect, is practi- cally of little use. The tone, though easily yielded and agreeable to the player's ear, is defi- cient in light and shade, and will not ' travel.* The flatness of the model, however, must not go beyond a certain point. Occasionally a violin is met with, in which the belly is so flat as to have almost no curvature at all. The tone of such violins is invariably harsh and metallic.

The question is often asked, are old Italian violins really worth the high prices which are paid for them, and are not the best modern in- struments equally good ? In the writer's opinion the prices now paid for old Italian violins, always excepting the very best, are high beyond all proportion to their intrinsic excellence. The superiority of the very best class indeed is proved by the fact that eminent professional players will generally possess themselves of a full-sized Stra- divari or Giuseppe Guarnieri, and will play on nothing else. There can be no doubt that these fine instruments are more responsive to the player, and more effective in the musical result, than any others ; and as their number, though considerable, is not unlimited, the purchaser must always expect to pay, over and above their intrinsic value, a variable sum in the nature of a bonus or bribe to the vendor for parting with a rare article, and this necessarily converts the total amount paid into a 'fancy price.' But when we come to inferior instruments by the great makers, and the productions of makers of the second and third class, the case is widely different. Such instruments are seldom in re- quest by the best professional players, who, in default of old instruments of the highest class, use the best class of comparatively modern violins ; and the prices they command are usu- ally paid by amateurs, under a mistaken idea of their intrinsic value. No one with any real idea of the use of a violin would pay 100 for instruments by Montagnana, Serafin, or Peter Guarnerius, when he could buy a good Vuil- laume, Pressenda, or Lupot for from 20 to 30 : yet the writer has constantly known the first- named price realised for Italian instruments of decidedly inferior merit.

Though Tenors and Violoncellos of the highest class are as valuable as Violins, Tenor and Vio- loncello players can usually procure moderately good instruments more cheaply than Violinists. Not only are the larger instruments less in de- mand, but while old English Violins are useless for modern purposes, the Tenors and Violoncellos which exist in large numbers, are generally of very good quality, and many players use Banks and Forster Tenors and Basses of these makers by preference. Double Basses by the great makers are rare and not effective in the or-

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