Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An old friend moving on

This dear old Klotz violin came in the other day for a valuation. I have serviced it for years and have grown quite fond of it, but the fine lady who had owned it since the 1940's recently died and the family need to find it a new home.
The scroll (above) is particularly sweet, as is some of the repair work- including some repairs to the belly carried out in Melbourne in 1878...the instrument was over one hundred years old even then.
There are little features and signatures in a Klotz instrument that ring little bells in my head, because I was taught to make in the same tradition by a maker who was taught by a maker who was one of this violin's maker's descendants! ( I had to read that twice too)
I wonder whose story will be embedded in this little fiddle next?


  1. I love the string instruments, I am not an expert, but in my opinion it's a pity that a violin it is not just a musical instrument anymore, it became long time ago an object (one more) to invest in, and many very good players don't have the oportunity to play a good instrument. I am not talking about Strads or Guarneri (this is impossible) .......meanwhile good instruments are mute in private collections

  2. What a beautiful violin! I hope it goes to someone who will play it and not let it collect dust on a shelf somewhere.

  3. I think this one will Mary, because it is old and valuable, but not out of reach to a good player in value. But Juame is absolutely right about so many becoming someone's investment. Their price no longer represents their real value in human terms.
    And it perpetuates so much nonsense about quality as well.

  4. I wonder how many people will end up disappointed when their "investment" loses its value (much like the US housing market) because of over inflation. From what I've read, a violin sounds better over time and with playing - seems like playing it would increase its value in the end.

  5. I agree Mary.
    When I was in Italy England and Germany, looking at collections and instruments, I expected to be amazed and overwhelmed by something magical and beyond normal human activity, but I came away feeling (as a maker) a bit let down by the ordinariness that I saw. What others see is the dollar value and the glamour- but this is very much a product of marketing and dealers 'talking up' certain labels over centuries to further their own investments and commissions. Musical instruments are at their core, just artefacts made by people to entertain other people. Period.
    The rest is greed and BS. Of course they are special to me- I happen to think that the violin family is one of the most wonderful of all arefacts (for lots of reasons I won't bore you with), but the famous makers were just craftspeople working well. We can all aspire to that. The problem is that people want to worship 'stars', and that suits business nicely.

  6. really old musical instruments...
    we recently parted with an old Austrian-made piano - somewhere around 1910-1911. It still had original chalk & pencil marks inside, made by the craftsmen who built it, and a assortment of tuners between 1919 & 1967. I sometimes wonder about those people - all now long dead - outlived by their creation. What manner of people were they? Their lives? Their loves? Their deaths? Their descendants?

    Same for this violin, which even pre-dates european settlement of the continent it now lives on. How did it come to be here? The lives it has touched & been touched by, in 240-odd years? Therein lies many a story I think.
    AJ (b.o.a.t.)

  7. Welcome aboard AJ lovely to hear from you in a new format!