FN Voirin is close to the top of anyone’s list of makers. Here we are offering 4/5ths of a Voirin, since the upper fifth of the bow is a splice. However, the work is beautiful and the bow still has the special Voirin feeling.

Isaac Salchow believes that the history of the violin bow could be summarised as “FX Tourte, Pajeot, Voirin”. I have to agree, and anyone who loves bows loves Voirin. His craftsmanshiip is unrivalled, and all his bows have the elegant perfection of fine jewelry. He tended to use exceptional wood, and while his sticks are seldom strong, they have magical tonal properties.

This particular bow is a bit of a compromise in that the head and the upper fifth of the stick are not original, but actually the head is a faithful replica, and the playing qualities of the stick aren’t greatly influenced by the modification.

The round section stick is of deep red pernambuco with a dramatic figure – mounts are silver and ebony.

Aside from the very significant issue of the splice, there is some wear to the frog, the middle ring of the adjuster has a small split, and the pearl eye is missing on the audience is missing on the audience side. Otherwise the stick is in excellent condition.

No-one would claim that a refined Voirin stick was the right thing for pummeling out the Bruch, but in classical repertoire a bow like this is unbeatable. Once you get the hang of it, the off the string capabilities are remarkable.

It’s very hard to price a bow like this, and I don’t suppose anyone would buy it as an investment. However, it does have all the qualities of a great Voirin, a uniquely clear and brilliant sound, great response for its light weight, and an indefinable feeling of belonging in the hand. The bow currently has a vey light lapping, but I think silver wire would be more appropriate, and then we would have 59 grams.

If you’re looking for an exceptional light bow but don’t fancy selling your house, look no further…

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