Karel Pilař is the most respected member of this important Czech violin-making family – here we have a beautiful example of his early work in near-perfect condition.

We have been singing the praises of 20th century Czech violins for some time now, in particular the instruments make by the Pilař and Vávra families. In terms of sound, aesthetics and workmanship they outclass most Italian instruments made in the same time period, and yet they can be had for a fraction of the price.

This is a superb Strad model instrument by Karel Pilař, made in 1928 towards the start of his career as an independent maker. It has a deep red varnish with a hint of craquelure, the materials are excellent and the workmanship is very sharp.

The condition is excellent throughout – no cracks or repairs, in fact the violin has never been opened. There’s a tiny loss of wood to the lower table corners, otherwise all edges and corners are well preserved.

This is a very full and immediate sounding violin with excellent projection. The tone is quite neutral but in the right way, quite resistant, very even, beautifully balanced throughout the register. It’s a muscular violin in spite of its rather refined proportions, and it needs a good technique and a big bow to get the best out of it.

It would be an ideal instrument for a young soloist tackling the concerto repertoire – it has huge reserves of power, every note is crisp, and it won’t crack under pressure.

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