Rodolfo Fredi was a prolific and successful maker. He produced violins of variying qualities – the better instruments are beautifully made and tonally outstanding. This example is his best quality of work, currently in excellent condition.
Rodolfo Fredi is one of the leading makers of the Roman school, along with Sgarbi, Rossi, Sannino, and Politi. His violins are highly regarded for their tonal qualities – Marlin Brinser’s “Dictionary of 20th Century Italian Violin Makers” awards him 3 stars, the highest accolade.
This instrument is typical of his better quality of work – superb materials, an unctuous amber-brown oil varnish tending towards red, softly rounded edges, and an artistic upright scroll with broad chamfers.
The condition is excellent – just one very small repaired edge crack reaching 2cm up from the table lower edge on the treble side, and a few minor dunts and abrasions in the varnish.
20th century Italian violins are all the rage and the demand is insatiable, yet so few really sound good. Rodolfo Fredi is unusual for the consistently excellent tone he achieves, and perhaps we can attribute this to the fact that he started out as a player, studying at conservatoire level before taking up violin-making.
This is a really fine violin for an accomplished professional – robust in the lower register, clean and full of attack in the midrange, and with a singing treble. It’s very responsive and light in the hand, and it exudes an easy assurance at any level of dynamics. Ideal for solo recital work – it has nobility and beauty of tone coupled with volume and some grit when you need it.
Overall an unusually well balanced violin with a combination of grace and muscle that’s hard to achieve. This is the second violin we have had from this maker – both have been outstanding, and I hope we will see many more in future.
Dimensions: length of back 35.5cm, stop 130/195mm
Certificate: Dmitry Gindin, London 2019 (pro forma)
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