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Want To See A Strad?

Antonio Stradavarius Cremona 1698 “The Lark”

For those of you who have never seen a real Stradivarius Violin, we have the privilege of handling one on a regular basis. “The Lark” Stradivarius is owned by one of our valued customers.

“The Lark” also known as “L’Alouette”

The L’Alouette, ex Ferdinand David. A violin fancier of Vienna is said to have sold this violin to Count von Wittgenstein. David acquired possession about 1849; the instrument was at that time in its original condition, the original bass-bar and neck remaining undisturbed. David had Ludwig Bausch adjust it to modern playing requirements in 1851 and retained possession until 1872. Max Adler of Chicago, acquired the violin; it was later purchased by Wurlitzer. It has been the concert instrument of Leona Beryl Flood for some years and while the gifted young Californian was in London the violin was made the subject of a sketch and illustrations in the February 1936 edition of The Strad. It has a handsome two-piece back of broad figure and varnish of a rich golden-brown color.”(1)

Today the instrument is played professionally in the Twin Cities area.

Cremona, Brescia, and Venice were hubs of violin-making in sixteenth century Italy. Andrea Amati is often called the father of the violin, because he created instruments that started the violin family. Amati’s two sons carried his business in Cremona, Italy. Their practice was gradually handed down by a system of pupils and teachers. Two famous pupils that emerged from this Cremona line were Stradavari and Guarneri. Stradavari’s violins were exceptional, creating a world standard that exists to this day. Violin maker Antonio Stradavari (1644-1737) brought his craft to its highest pitch of perfection in 1684, which created a standard for all subsequent styles. Antonio’s special advantage was his varnish, shading from orange to red. His instruments are flatter and range greatly in length. Many original Stravarius violins have been modified so that the length of the neck meets today’s standards. The making of Italian violins died out during the late eighteenth century, due to the economic and political problems in Italy at the time. Since then, violins have been produced all over the world, yet none have the sonority and feel of these original stringed instruments.

The secret of the exquisite sound of Italian violins has often been attributed to their varnish and shape. It is highly possible that in earlier times, wood was soaked in water, brine and even feces before being hewn into an instrument. Sometimes, varnish was made from liquids contained bodily fluids, even animal blood! Certain violins have a reddish color due to this treatment. For this reason, the sound of a Stradavari has yet to be reproduced exactly, despite the efforts of scientists across the world.

1. How Many Strads? 1945, by Ernest N. Doring.