We are on something of a journey with Persoit, and this is the third bow of his we have offered this year. This one is a very interesting example of his early work. It’s unusually well preserved, and predictably enough it’s a fabulous player.
There aren’t many bow makers who merit their own reference text, but Jean Pierre Marie Persoit is one of them. We would rate his work alongside that of FX Tourte, and in a way he deserves greater recognition because of the consistency of his output. Every Persoit stick can be put to immediate use by a modern player – the same can’t be said of Tourte, although the best Tourtes are of course the summit of the mountain…
This bow is a relatively plain example, with an open frog and a bone button, rapidly made and without pretension. But the wood is the exceptional speckled orange-brown wood so typical of Persoit, and the graduation and finish of the stick are first rate.
There are a few minor condition issues although the general state of preservation is excellent, and the bow looks quite shockingly new. The button has a repaired split, the frog has some very light chipping on its upper edges, and there’s a bit of a dent to the underside of the stick at about the halfway point. But mostly the facets are very crisp and the original finish is surprisingly pristine.
There are very few makers where if offered a bow for sale I would say “it’s OK, I don’t need to play it”. Tourte, Peccatte, Voirin, Tubbs, even Sartory, all have made diabolical bows. But Persoits just work, and they work beautifully.
This bow is tremendous. As you could predict from the mounts and the lapping, it’s not really a Bartok bow … it’s on the light side of things at 55 grams, but that’s principally because it has an open frog and a bone button. The stick is not light, and it will stand up to a powerful player, but really this bow excels in the nuances, and it seems cut out for classical and baroque repertoire.
The sound is full and warm, but with that essential high frequency edge that makes these bows such a “must have” for soloist. The stick is elastic and very responsive, but it’s also quite resistant, and there’s no limit to the amount of sound it will produce. Throughout the register it has the same unique blend of growl and shimmer, and it really excels on the higher reaches of the G, where the tone is aggressive yet always clear.
All in all this bow is quite a wolf in sheep’s clothing – with a silver mounted copy frog and button it would be an excellent modern bow, but we prefer to offer it as the maker intended. It’s a great player, and a unique “all original” early Persoit.