Riccardo Antoniazzi is one of the principal members of the modern Milanese school. This lovely violin from his last period is in outstanding condition and the sound is powerful and complex.

Riccardo Antoniazzi is regarded as one of the best modern Italian makers, and the most talented member of his family – indeed he trained Leandro Bisiach before ending up working for him! Riccardo’s father Gaetano is believed to have been a pupil of Enrico Ceruti, and one way or another the Antoniazzis were largely responsible for moving the great Italian tradition of violin making from Cremona to Milan.

This violin is about as classical as an early 20th century Italian violin gets – the work is precise, restrained and confident with no attempt at antiqueing. The varnish is a lustrous orange-brown, both tactile and refractive. The wood is first class, particularly the spruce – even grained and beautifully flecked.

The condition is excellent – the varnish has had a few knocks here and there, we can see signs of use on the table and the treble c-bout, but there are no cracks or damages.

There’s so much hype around modern Italian violins and the Bisiach School in particular that it’s a relief to find an example that genuinely sounds great. I haven’t always got along with Antoniazzis, but I can’t fault this violin. It’s big, muscular, zingy and responsive, well balanced throughout the register, malleable and compliant.

Although not oversized, this is a large instrument best suited to a tall player. The tone is brilliant, clear and projecting without the harshness that afflicts many instruments of this school. It’s a strong, open and healthy instrument that can be played hard – great for a big stage, and ideal for recitals if you’re competing with an overpowered grand piano!

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