August Rau (1866-1951) is an important maker in the history of German bows. This is a very nice example of his higher quality of bow – the condition is very good, and the sound is big, warm and fruity.
There are a number of German makers who receive attention because of their connection to the French makers – for example Hermann Prell who worked for Sartory or Christoph Nürnberger who spent time in the Vuillaume shop – but there are also numerous excellent makers who never left the German system. August Rau is one of these – apprenticed to the Nürnberger shop and then Wilhelm Knopf, also an employee of Weichold before establishing his own business in Markneukirchen.
This bow features his second stamp “Aug. Rau” and dates from around 1920. The stick is of round section dark red penambuco, mounts are silver and ebony. There are no condition issues other than a small amount of wear to the handle.
German bows around the turn of the century tend to be slightly heavier than their French counterparts, but this is what gives them their unique tonal character. This bow has a full and intense core sound, rounded and satisfying. The tone is quite pure but with a hint of sizzle in the high register – at the bottom end of the violin it’s rich and creamy, Quite a lively stick for its weight, with a nice crisp staccato…
A great bow for warming up a violin that’s a bit lacking in body.