Ref :   0880

A very good and interesting fine violin
Unlabelled and of unknown origin
Circa 1890

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Of all the violins I ever owned or played on, this is my favorite instrument. It currently serves as my personal violin I use for my own playing. And the reason is simple - it has really beautiful tone throughout its full range and is extremely easy and rewarding to play. The high register is clear and bright and the low end sonorous and noble. It is perfectly balanced over the full register and speaks with ease and openness in the high posisions, notably on the g-string with a total absense of wolfishness. This violin facilitates performance of difficult passages and is truly suitable for any performance, from small intimate pieces requiring subtleties of tone and dynamic gradation to big bravura concerto playing. It has seduced all violinists who have tried it.

It is of unknown origin, in the true sense of the word. Being unlabelled, speculation about its authorship has been wide, ranging from Bulgarian to German and even to Italian. But this has always been a secondary factor with this instrument. It is generally agreed that it dates from the second half of the 19th century.

It is completely free from cracks. The only discernable repairs have been to the pegbox flanks by means of reinforcing grafts and to the neck button area - all solidly done. The violin has a repair label in the inside glued onto the the rib over the bass c-bout, barely discernable. It states repairs done by Dimitar Danchev in Sofia in 1994, and it can be assumed that all work carried out on this violin was by him. Further, it seems that someone decided to add a layer of varnish over the original. Fortunately the original varnish was left intact and it has been possible to remove much of the later varnish without compromosing the original varnish. Today, notably on the back and sides, some of the later varnish is still left and makes for an interesting appearance against the lighter original varnish.

However, the quality of this violin as a serious instrument is best illustrated in its provenance. It was for many years the main instrument of the Bulagrian violinist and soloist, Hristo Kardjiev, who used it for all performance during his career before he came to South Africa as Concert Master of the KZN Philhamonic. It came up for sale around 2000 and there followed a series of different ownerships. I owned it once before, sold it to a professional principal violinist and recently bought it back. It remains my favorite instrument.

This violin is today in excellent condition.


Dimensions :
  Length of back: 35.7 cm

Condition :
  Structurally in excellent condition, completely free from cracks. Reinforcing repairs have been carried out on the pegbox flanks. It appears also that work was done to the neck button - all professionally executed, probably by Dimitar Danchev in Sofia in 1994. A later coat of varnish has been removed successfully.

Provenance :
  Eariest known owner was Hristo Kardjiev, a principal musician from Bulgaria and Concert Master of the KZN Philharmonic. It was sold to Pieter Potgieter in Pretoria in about 2000, but soon after bought by Johan Grobbelaar who used it for 3 years. It was then sold to Kolio Kolev for use by his wife Petya Kovela as Principal second violinist of the KZNPO. In 2015 it was bought again by Johan Grobbelaar as his personal instrument.
In 2016 this violin was sold to the Cluley family in Canada for their son, Ben.
Importantly, in 2017 it was lent to Gilah Kellner (14) who won the National Youth Music Competition in Cape Town (Ages 14-19 Division) playing this instrument.

Price : Withheld


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