Piero Parravicini was one of a number of makers who flourished in Milan in the early 20th century, hanging onto the coat-tails of the Antoniazzis and the Bisiachs. Parravicini also worked for Mozino, and there’s a certainty and confidence about his work which is only seen in very experienced makers.
This late example is a viola with a back length of 41.8cm, something of an ideal size. It’s beautifully made with first class wood throughout and a lustrous golden varnish. The model is Parravicini’s own, with lovely elongated corners, soft edges and a buttery scroll.
Condition is very good – one small wing crack to the treble f-hole and a well repaired crack running just under the bridge just to the right of the centre line, otherwise no cracks or repairs. The original varnish is unusually well preserved.
Although modern Italian instruments do well in the marketplace, few are worth the money. Not even Antoniazzi managed to achieve any kind of tonal consistency in his work, and many of his instruments are hellish. The truth is that you have to plough your way through dozens of instruments before you find one like this – a tremendous sounding viola suitable for a serious professional, beautiful in appearance and with a beautiful voice. It has a big, full and resonant tone without sacrificing bite or agility – it has great response throughout and a warm and willing character.The lower register is broad and sonorous with enough “cushion” to satisfy the most committed of violists, yet the upper register remains clear, articulate and solistic.
A standout viola – I wish we had more like it …!
Dimensions: length of back 41.8cm, vibrating string 376mm
Certificate: Dmitry Gindin (pro forma)
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