Prague has a long and fine tradition of violin-making, and the early 20th century Prague makers produced some of the best sounding modern violins around. Karel Vávra was a leading maker of this school, and here we have a very fine Guarneri-inspired violin of his from 1950.
It’s still something of a mystery why the Prague makers are so undervalued. Vávra, Dvorak, Spidlen – all these makers produced instruments of great refinement with superb tonal qualities. There are very few Italian makers of the early 20th century who produced such consistently playable violins.
Karel Vávra came from a large violin-making family and his work combines an effortless grasp of sound with a unique style. This is a very typical example – his own Guarneri-inspired model, great wood, and a rich, lustrous yet uncompromising varnish, completely free from antiqueing or showy effects.
The condition is near-mint – very few marks of use, the edges and corners unblemished. Unusually the violin retains its original bridge stamped by the maker.
This is just a great violin – very powerful yet beautifully balanced. It’s warm and smooth but it’s also very articulate. The G string is robust and enveloping, the E is solistic and brilliant, and there are no weak points in between.
This is the second Vávra we have had for sale, and I have had the opportunity to play a couple more. They have all been outstanding…
What’s the secret? I have no idea. But I would rather play a Vávra than a Pedrazzini, an Antoniazzi or even a Bisiach. Some people shop for violins with their eyes, but if you are willing to be led by your ears, this violin is a complete steal.
For further information on the Vávra family, have a look here.
Dimensions: length of back 35.6cm
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