Ansaldo Poggi is the most highy valued violinmaker of the 20th century, and here we have a rare viola in mint condition. An outstanding collector’s piece and a beautiful sounding instrument.

In the world of violin-making, reputations come and go, particularly when it comes to modern and living makers. But for now, Poggi is in first place. The cost of his instruments has risen steadily and rapidly, and there have been some staggering results at auction in the last couple of years.

But this far from a silly phase we’re going through. Poggi’s work is spectacular, slightly unreal in the quality and precision of his workmanship, the beauty of the materials, and the perfection of his varnish. He is also a master of the tonal qualities of stringed instruments, and these two things in combination have put him at the top of the tree. He had a great teacher in Giuseppe Fiorini, and he is one of very few makers who succeed in overtaking their masters.

This example is one of the best preserved Poggis we’ve seen, absolutely free from damage and almost unmarked. Branded internally and above the tailpin, it also retains its original bridge cut by the maker himself.

We expect a lot from a Poggi, and this one doesn’t disappoint! It has a unique sound, very precise, clear and articulate yet also smooth and enveloping. Like many great instruments, it’s a bit underwhelming at first, but after a couple of minutes’ playing you begin to wonder why it’s so effortless. The answer is that there are no false notes, no uneven spots, no inconsistencies in the register – every note starts immediately and cleanly, intonation is a doddle, and the tone is at once neutral and full of potential. It’s a kind of masterclass in instrument-making, tonally and visually – very few makers can produce a completely pure varnish which still glows, and even fewer can produce a pure tone which still satisfies completely.

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