This is a fine Italian viola of ideal proportions made by Marino Capicchioni in 1954 – it’s an unusually attractive example in excellent condition, with a big and bold sound.

Capicchioni is a maker who commands a lot of respect amongst professional musicians, and his violas are particularly successful. Although largely self-taught, Capicchioni was a tremendous woodworker and obviously someone with artistic flair – his instruments are always dramatic and harmonious. This viola is very typical, with deep edges framing the plates, a sublimely round scroll, and great tonewood – the one-piece back is a real stand-out.

The condition is exemplary – the only issue to report is a small edge crack around the bottom pin of the back. The rich varnish is very well preserved

Capicchioni made a lot of violas on a number of different models, latterly experimenting even with the Tertis model. Fortunately our instrument is a relatively classical affair, and the sound is a very “straight ahead” viola sound, big, broad and noble. It has plenty of punch in the lower register but without sacrificing articulacy – it’s quite a stiff instrument, and with the right bow and a powerful technique it has some serious carrying power.

Overall the sound is crisp, muscular and solistic – this would be a great instrument for a strong player who’s looking for a confident and assertive companion.

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