For some reason CA Miremont managed to produce instruments of superb tonal quality while those around him sometimes struggled. In particular his violas and cellos are consistently successful and greatly appreciated.
Claude-Augustin Miremont (1827-1887) is one of the most gifted makers from the Bernardel tradition. His achievements may have been entirely overshadowed by Vuillaume and the Vuillaume shop makers, although his instruments almost invariably sound better. The label in this beautiful viola from 1870 proudly announces the fact that Miremont won first prize in the Exposition Universelle no less than four times.
As the certificate from R&M Milllant states, this is a Stradivarius model instrument, and it remains in outstanding condition as it was in 1961, entirely free from cracks or repairs of any kind. The bridge was cut by R&M Millant – very nice to see their stamp on a fine bridge and a fine viola.
This is a wonderful sounding instrument – sonorous and deep but with great attack too. When you play on a viola like this, you wonder why others find it so difficult to achieve this quality of tone. I suppose the secret is some ideal combination of wood choice, arching and thicknessing, though a particular point of style here is the exaggerated taper on the ribs – 35mm deep at the neck, nearly 41mm at the tailpin.
It would be hard to find a more satisfying instrument, whatever the back length – such a dark sound, yet with great sustain and without sacrificing clarity. A great viola for a serious professional, it merits exposure in a demanding quartet setting. Ideal for an accomplished player looking for a smaller instrument.
Length of back 39.8cm, vibrating string 36.1cm
Certificate: R&M Millant, Paris 1961
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