Sartory

| January 23, 2012

Around 1980 Cyril Jacklin told me he used to take the boat-train to Paris, before the war, to visit Sartory and buy bows directly from him. Eugène Sartory died in 1946, aged seventy-five. He’d worked for Charles Peccatte and Lamy before making on his own account. Cyril was, of course, amazed at the ludicrous prices […]

How the violin trade works.

| September 12, 2011

Little is known about the Tyrolese maker, Mathias Alban of Bozen. That’s Tyrolese, not Italian. It is not known who taught him – there have been several guesses – but sometimes his varnish suggests that he might have been trained in Italy. Before World War I, the Italian town of Bolzano was part of the […]

Curiosities

| July 5, 2011

Here are a few quirky things. The first is a poster for one of Paganini’s concerts in London. It’s fascinating on various levels. Paganini was a superstar by 1832, and his concerts were invariably sold out. Such was his skill that it was said he was in league with the devil – and some of […]

Budapest

| February 8, 2011

I’ve just come back from Budapest. There’s an exhibition called Opera and Nation there at the Museum of Music History, which is part of the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. It has lots of stringed instruments in it, and it runs until the end of August 2011. Very often presentations of […]

Concerts

| April 15, 2010

Shortly after we moved into the old church we were approached with a request to host a Bach harpsichord recital here. The acoustics are excellent and we have plenty of space. The event was attended by sixty-one people, and on the whole was a success. Immediately afterwards a local choir asked to do a concert […]

J. & H. Banks viola

| February 2, 2010

I have a very original viola made by James & Henry Banks of Salisbury, made in 1808. It’s of the small-but-sounds-good model, having a back length of 15 3/8 in (384mm). An almost identical one (but dated 1803) is illustrated in Albert Cooper’s well-known book Benjamin Banks. It is a shock to realise that it […]