The Prague School is relatively unknown outside central Europe, and yet from Eberle onwards these makers have produced instruments which consistently out-perform their Italian and French rivals in tonal quality. The early 20th century was a particularly produtive time for Czech makers, and Križ is my favourite maker of this group. I have had several violins by him, and all have been outstanding players. Like many talented makers he succumbed to the temptations of his art, and actually spent some time in prison for faking Italian masterpieces!
This viola is very typical of his “regular” work, with elongated del Gesu f-holes, fine workmanship throughout, first class tonewood, and the lustrous soft orange varnish we so often see on Prague instruments of the period.
The condition is excellent – never been opened, minimal wear to the varnish, no cracks or damages of any kind.
The only reason I became a bit of a “Križ” groupie is because every instrument I have handled of his has sounded terrific. He was very involved in acoustic research, and he followed his own theories with great success.
This instrument is 40.7 but it has the dark richness of a larger instrument. The ribs are very deep and the top is quite light – the end result is a fantastic sounding viola, creamy and smooth but with a lot of bite at the front of the sound. It’s very even in tone and response throughout the register, it’s powerful, quick off the starting blocks, very intense and full of colours.
A great instrument for a player at any level – highly recommended.
Length of back 40.7cm, vibrating string 37.5mm
Click or tap an image to enlarge it. Click or tap again to supersize.